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How To Reduce Light Pollution From Your Home

Map of United States showing light pollution from space at night Nasa Map of U.S. At Night Showing Light Pollution


What Is Light Pollution?

Learn what light pollution is so that you can help eliminate it. Light pollution refers to light that is cast up into the night sky needlessly by unshielded fixtures and lights that are left on unnecessarily. As you can see in the image above, taken from space at night, vast areas of the United States no longer have dark skies. Residents in much of the nation can no longer see the stars and other celestial objects clearly.

Note how bright the U.S. is compared to Northern Canada, where the night sky is still dark and unpolluted from wasted light.
Here are some easy ways you can use to help prevent light pollution.

What Fixtures Reduce Light Pollution?

Change your outdoor lighting fixtures to ones that reduce light pollution. The International Dark Sky Association offers a list of recommended fixtures that help reduce light pollution. The list can be found on their website in the resources section. If you home or street features lighting that does not have a cover over the top of the fixture to prevent light from beaming into the sky above, it is causing light pollution.

In New Mexico, home to many observatories and amateur astronomers, Governor Bill Richardson signed a state law requiring all outdoor fixtures to feature such shields. If you notice that your street lamps do not feature such guards, contact you public works department and request that they be installed.
You may have unshielded outdoor lighting around your home.

To help prevent light pollution, replace it with approved fixtures and don't leave lights on at night. Instead use a motion sensor for security lighting and set it on the minimum run time setting needed. Close your drapes at night as well.

Reduce Light Pollution From Street Lights

Have your street light removed. If you are paying your electric utility for a high pressure sodium light, have it disconnected and use lighting that is lower in power, and located closer to the ground.

Even shielded high pressure sodium lights create some light pollution as it is reflected off the ground and from objects.
Use low profile lighting such as solar yard lights and reduce the wattage of outdoor bulbs to the minimum needed. You can find more ways to prevent light pollution on the website in the resources section.

To learn more about light pollution you might want to get a copy of the book "Let There Be Light, A Testimony on Behalf Of The Dark."  





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