Remember how amazing the night sky was when we were kids? Don’t you miss it? Astronomers recognized light pollution in the 1970’s when they could no longer view stars and other celestial objects with the same clarity. (source: ncsi.org) Light pollution is the human-made alteration of outdoor light levels from those occurring naturally. (source: DarkSky.org). It is a global problem especially in highly populated areas. It is the result of our ever-expanding reliance on outdoor electrical lights and the advances in technology to produce brighter and whiter lights. The sources of light pollution are cities, outdoor lights, streetlights, electronic advertising, parking lots, sports lighting, green houses, factories, houses and apartments, and landscaping/mood lighting. It is especially bad at the Jersey Shore and Normandy Beach where houses are closer together and the lights are left on for security purposes when the owners are away.
Components of light pollution include:
Glare — excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort
Sky glow — brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas
Light trespass — light falling where it is not intended or needed
Clutter — bright, confusing, and excessive groupings of light sources
www.Lightpollutionmap.info provides a searchable map where you can type in a location and see what the light levels are. Light pollution harms your health, wildlife and ecosystems, wastes energy, damages the climate, and changes our perception of the night (source: DarkSky.org).
The good news that we can do something about light pollution, at least locally, by coming together as a community. Make sure your outdoor lighting follows these five principles offered by DarkSky.org:
Light pollution does not only emanate from external lights but also from internal lights. Internal lights left on all night can illuminate a neighbor’s bedroom causing a disruption of sleep. Please make sure that only necessary lights are left on all night and appropriate window coverings are used to prevent outdoor emanation.
We can go a long way to fight light pollution and make Normandy Beach a better place to live by following these simple steps:
1. Eliminate all unnecessary light, both external and internal.
2. Direct exterior lights downward.
3. Use lights that are no brighter than necessary.
4. Put exterior lights on timers or motion detectors.
5. Use warm color external lights.