Light Pollution

Like most astronomy clubs, The Kiski Astronomers are concerned about Light Pollution.
Can you see through the street light’s bright glare? With light pollution still on the rise,viewing the stars and the constellations is becoming more difficult. Many city dwellers have never seen a starry, night sky. As the population spreads into the rural areas, so does the light pollution. Light pollution is all over the world.

This composite night time photo taken by the DMSP satellites shows how prevalent light pollution has become.

Cities and companies are using harsh and wasteful lighting for decorating and advertising purposes, not taking into consideration the effects on the environment. Light pollution can be reduced if we work to educate the public to make informed choices about outdoor lighting. On the local front, guidelines for local lighting ordinances are being submitted throughout Pennsylvania.

Here's a map of PA's light pollution which allows us to locate some of the better observing areas.
(Black is the darkest skies, followed by blue, green, and yellow. White is the worst!)

Credit: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society.
Reproduced from the Monthly Notices of the RAS by permission of Blackwell Science World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

For more information check out The International Dark Sky Association at their IDA Website

Read the November, 2008 National Geographic Magazine cover story

"Our Vanishing Night" by Verlyn Klinkenborg