Light pollution is on the rise: Our descendants probably won’t see the stars

Light pollution is on the rise: Our descendants probably won’t see the stars

L’light pollution It is increasingand it happens faster than How much did we think. A new study just revealed that Published in the journal Sciences It was conducted by a team of researchers from German Research Center for Earth Sciences Potsdam coordinating Christopher Kyba. The scientists gathered the data from night sky observations made primarily by astronomy enthusiasts and astronomers Citizen scientistwho have been counting visible stars for over ten years and have sent the numbers to the portal globe at night. By analyzing tens of thousands of notes – reads in impression Accompanying the article – The work’s authors discovered that the faint stars are now hidden by a 10% increase in light pollution due to artificial lighting.. The fact that it was necessary to rely on a seemingly primitive method such as counting stars to detect this phenomenon is part of the problem: “With the satellites we have today, it is difficult to quantify the increase in light pollution – The experts continue – Because their detectors are not sensitive to blue light for lamps which now replace all other sources of light: it would therefore be appropriate to have more advanced satellites sensitive to visible light at different frequencies. Only in this way will it be possible to better understand the problem and try to mitigate it, especially with regard to its negative effects from a cultural point of view. [non riuscire a vedere le stelle, per l’appunto, nda] This is environmental and healthy..


The issue of light pollution is nothing new. Already half a century ago, in 1973, a study (always Posted in Sciences) He pointed his finger at Significant qualitative and quantitative changes in lighting technology in recent yearsthat they were causing “Nighttime brightness increases by about 20% each year, with consequences for some astronomical programs”. More recently, in June 2016, a group of scientists (including Kepa himself and the Italian Fabio FalchifromInstitute of Light Pollution Science and Technologywho co-authored impression mentioned above) was published on pages Science advances A highly detailed (and unforgiving) global atlas of light pollution, showing how in recent years this phenomenon has grown to such a degree that it affects up to 80% of the world’s population. Another work, published the following year and based on satellite observations—and thus influenced by the “blindness” problem of LED light—revealed that artificial light increased by 2% in intensity and range each year. Indeed, as shown by A Report publishedEuropean Space Agency Last year, it was precisely the LED lights that were problematic, but the discrepancy: “LEDs were certainly a revolutionary innovation, as they made it possible to reduce energy consumption [dovuto all’illuminazione] and to improve night vision; However, light pollution has generally increased. Paradoxically, the cheaper and more efficient the lighting, the more we become ’employees’ of light.

Consequences and treatments

It is clear that the problem of light pollution does not “only” deprive us of the pleasure of seeing the stars, and is not limited to annoying astronomical programs to monitor the sky. The consequences, as might be expected, are more serious and profound: we know, for example, that light pollution has it influences on behaviour For some nocturnal animals, for example It seems to be related to the (at least local) decline in the number of insects; Moreover, he is responsible for Sleep disorders and other dysfunctions in both humans and other animals, which progressively reduce use night vision.

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The problem of light pollution can be mitigated in several ways Kiba explained. for example Improved design of lighting direction, intensity and type and stipulate the possibility of dimming the lights when and where they are not needed. It is true that we will not reach a scenario in which the city sky is not lit at night. But it is reasonable to think that with the appropriate improvements in lighting, even those who live in cities with hundreds of thousands of residents could be able to see the Milky Way by simply moving their eyes.”.

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