New Earth at night images reveal global light pollution problem

New Earth at night images reveal global light pollution problem

NASA's new 'Black Marble' images of the nighttime Earth aren't so black. They reveal that our globe is heavily littered with excessive and wasteful lighting that produces light pollution – a bright glow over our cities that not only masks the stars but wastes vast amounts of energy. Fixing the problem would cut greenhouse gas emissions, save money, lessen our impact on the natural world, and improve visibility on the ground.

Revealed in the images, collected by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, is the upward-directed light emitted from our cities, highways, natural gas burn offs and more. The images show cities that are brighter than they need to be because much of our light is poorly aimed. In the United States alone, billions of dollars are wasted annually illuminating the night sky instead of sidewalks and roadways on the ground.

"The new 'Black Marble' images of our Earth show that there is still much work that needs to be done in tackling the problems of ," says Bob Parks the Executive Director of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). "The impact of our lighting at night extends well beyond astronomy," he continued.

Excessive and poorly directed lights can create deep shadows that are unsafe for pedestrians, cause hatchling to lose sight of the ocean, and confuse causing them to fly into buildings. Light pollution has other far-reaching effects unknown to many who continue to use ineffective lighting and inadvertently add to light pollution in their communities. Although the problem is serious, the solution for many is as simple as changing bulb wattage, using , or installing hoods over bare bulbs.

IDA recommends that all outdoor lighting be directed downward. It should only be used when it is actually needed and in the amount that is necessary. With proper lighting we can dim the 'Black Marble' and return the stars to the skies overhead.


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Provided by International Dark-Sky Association
Citation: New Earth at night images reveal global light pollution problem (2012, December 7) retrieved 18 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-12-earth-night-images-reveal-global.html
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Dec 07, 2012
We're not Trantor, yet

Dec 07, 2012
The International Dark Sky Ass. already got to my city's gullible council. Pointless, considering the ground is covered in reflective snow and ice for much of the year, and the 2500-person city was already pitch black at night (except on the main roads which happen to be exempt from the new law for obvious reasons). It's a good way to force people to buy new fixtures if you own stock in the manufacturer, though. Fascism at its finest.

Dec 07, 2012
Oh, noes! Anthropogenic Global Lighting (TM)!

Call the UN! Notify Algore!

If we give them all our money and freedom, they'll fix it for us!


Dec 07, 2012
Any idiot can come up with a study showing things are not perfect.

Excessive and poorly directed lights can create deep shadows that are unsafe for pedestrians, cause hatchling sea turtles to lose sight of the ocean, and confuse migrating birds causing them to fly into buildings. Light pollution has other far-reaching effects unknown to many who continue to use ineffective lighting........


Things can cause other things and stuff, so "we" should limit that and then the other,....

THIS is "liberal progressivism". It is the greatest threat to freedom man will face in the modern age.

The progressive liberal's big government mentality of mining for statistical justifications for social engineering and redistribution of wealth,... whether its 'social justice', 'health care', 'climate change', 'income inequality', etc, and now 'light pollution',... will not end until you have no liberty left.

This is Obama's world view, and is what and why conservatives fight against it.

Dec 08, 2012
"IDA recommends that all outdoor lighting be directed downward. It should only be used when it is actually needed and in the amount that is necessary."

And who, pray tell, gets to decide when lighting is "needed" and how much is "necessary"?

"With proper lighting we can dim the 'Black Marble' and return the stars to the skies overhead."

Again, who gets to decide what's "proper"?

Dec 08, 2012
THIS is "liberal progressivism". It is the greatest threat to freedom man will face in the modern age.

So...not overpopulation, food and resource shortage, economic collapse brought on by an artificially inflated economic system that can only function if it grows, environmental degradation, increased frequency of natural disasters that directly effect us and a total lack of motivation or desire to address any of these issues by the only countries capable of doing so....ya liberal progressivism is way scarier.


Obviously I was speaking of threats to freedom by gov.

Dec 09, 2012
Light Pollution is the easiest form of pollution to control - and here is the kicker - no one loses anything when lighting is utilized in a proper manner and all Earth's inhabitants benefit!

xeb
Dec 09, 2012
In smaller cities, lights should move (even fly - helium?) and/or should be turned on/of by wifi/infrared/whatever .. and should be payd by phone-wallet immediatelly /per sec. of lighting and could be intensity/color adjustable.
:)
(when many people on given street (again some voluntary wi-fi communication), lights could be paid with public money).

Dec 11, 2012
hmm i get the feeling were talking bout outdoor city lighting not the lamp on your table, don't get me wrong i'm all about freedom but if my tax money is being wasted lighting the sky well... no reason to make this about social beliefs shesh'

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