Light Pollution: The Problem and the Possible Solutions

Patricia Daukantas

Over the past quarter-century, scientists have become increasingly aware of the problems that light pollution causes for astronomers, migrating birds and human health and safety. Finding effective means to reduce the effects will take the combined efforts of research scientists, lighting engineers, architects, city planners, businesspeople and homeowners.


figureEarth’s city lights imaged with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Operational Linescan System. Permanent lights and reflected light reveal the most urbanized areas on the planet.

When was the last time you saw a really dark sky—one where no line separates the silhouettes of trees from the inky blackness of night? When did you last see thousands of dim stars spilling out of the Milky Way and filling in the gaps between familiar constellations?

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