Losing the Dark

Losing the Dark: We are losing the dark of night at the speed of light


Losing the Dark (LtD)                

We are losing the dark of night at the speed of light (light pollution).


Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The yellow glows over cities and towns — seen so clearly from space — are testament to the billions spent in wasted energy from lighting up the sky. The 6.5 minute "Losing the Dark is a "public service announcement" planetarium show, a collaboration of Loch Ness Productions and the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). It introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution, and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it. The show gives planetarium professionals a tool to help educate the public about the problems of light pollution. Planetarians are uniquely positioned to teach audiences ways we can all work together to implement responsible use of lighting."

Light Pollution and Energy. So we would save energy and enjoy the night-time sky. According to Carolyn Collins Petersen, the executive producer of the show, the idea of the show due to the IDA thought that teaching people about light pollution using a fulldome show would be a good thing because light pollution is a very costly problem. Being dark sky friendly does not mean no light. It means using the light that you need for a particular task in the most efficient manner possible (responsibly). It costs all countries money to "light up the sky".  So, we hope that people will learn to use light wisely -- that is, shielding lights so that all the light goes down to the ground, rather than up to the sky.  IDA also points out that using energy-efficient shielded lighting also helps save money.  

Light Pollution and Wildlife. Wildlife (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects) and fish experience this same disorientation of time (biological clock and circadian rhythm) when there is too much artificial light at night. Behaviours governing mating, migration, sleep, and finding food are determined by length of night-time. Light pollution negatively disrupts these age-old patterns.

Light Pollution and Human Health. Another issue is health:  there are now studies showing that exposure to too much (excessive) light at night can affect one's health such as breast and prostate cancer.  So, if people live in a light-polluted city, their health could be at risk. Light pollution at nights could be negatively impact of the glares on eyes, the circadian rhythms and also sleep disorder (cause a good night’s sleep helps reduce weight gain, stress, depression, and onset of diabetes). And, just as important, being able to see the stars is part of all humanity's heritage. Every man, woman, girl, boy has a right to see the stars, and when light pollution takes that away, and then we are all poorer for it.

Light Pollution and Safety - to preserve and protect the night-time environment and our heritage of the dark skies through quality outdoor lighting. Another message is that people can work together to find ways to get rid of light pollution and at the same time keep safety and security by properly lighting our towns and cities whereby having the real security, not just bad lighting. This means that we need effective and efficient lighting – “brighter” does not mean “safer” because of the glares from the light creates deep shadows and hid a possible attacker.

“Dark Sky” does not mean dark ground – lighting using fully shielded fixtures reduces glares and expenses and also the shielding keeps light on the ground where it is needed instead of lighting using drop down glass or plastics lenses can cause unsafe glares. The International Dark-Sky Association has a great deal of information on its web pages about ways to do this.  In some towns, the governments find out that there are ways to curtail light pollution, save money on electric bills, and still keep things safe.  

Credit to:

  1. Carolyn Collins Petersen, CEO Loch Ness Productions

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    1. www.star-map.fr  and International Planetariumwww.ips-planetarium.org