Dark Skies Awareness

In most large cities of the world, it is no longer possible to appreciate the beauty of the night sky. Inefficient public lighting both wastes energy and causes “light pollution” that hides our universe from us. This page will provide links and resources to explain the adverse impacts of lighting on local environments and provide information on how you can help, and where you can go to see a dark sky near you.

What is Light Pollution?

"Light Pollution" is a form of environmental degradation in which excessive artificial outdoor lightings, such as street lamps, neon signs, and illuminated sign boards, affect the natural environment and the ecosystem. The wasteful light emitted directly upwards or reflected upwards from poorly-designed artificial light sources can be scattered by clouds, fog, and pollutants like suspended particulates in the atmosphere. The night sky is thus brightened, leading to a reduced number of stars visible in the sky due to a decrease of the light contrast.

For more information on light pollution and dark skies, visit the following resources:

The International Dark-Sky Association is the recognized authority on light pollution and promotes the idea that light should be used only when needed. They provide information on a variety of light pollution topics as well as guides to wasteless lighting.
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Dark Skies Awareness was created as a cornerstone project for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and provides a simple background on light pollution in its entirety, and how it affects our world.
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More information about Cosmic Light coming soon at iau.org/IYL