The night sky has inspired us for millennia. National parks and night sky associations safeguard nighttime landscapes and vistas as one of the most vital park characteristics.
Protection of the night sky increases the values of seclusion and unspoiled wildness that animals require for existence, park visitors crave, and many cultural-historical parks require for their preservation—a naturally black night sky as part of a complex ecosystem that sustains both natural and cultural values.
Protect the Night Sky in Your Community
Light pollution is the result of improper or excessive usage of outdoor lights. Light pollution has repercussions not only in national parks but also in your town. It limits our capacity to see the stars and other celestial bodies, damages human health, disturbs ecological systems, and threatens human safety. Light pollution may also waste electricity and be costly. However, you can swiftly reverse light pollution and its effects on people, wildlife, and the night sky, beginning in your own house. Collectively, tiny adjustments can have a significant influence on the protection of our standard night skies and night sky art can be more in demand.
Protecting the Night Sky Offers Numerous Advantages!
- Energy and money are saved when outdated lights are replaced with highly efficient warm white LEDs, as seen in a diagram of landscape lighting.
- Adequate nighttime illumination promotes human safety, health, and residence safety.
- Some outdoor lighting installations can create direct glare that impairs eyesight. In addition, this illumination can artificially highlight the ground and reduce one’s ability to adjust their eyesight to the darkness, resulting in blind spots and significant safety concerns.
- Nights (and bright days) are essential for maintaining our circadian rhythm. Without the restorative power of frequent undisturbed sleep, it is well-documented that significant health repercussions can occur.
- Long-lasting LED lighting decreases lighting replacement expenses.
- Enhances neighborhood visual appeal
- Reduces the effects of light on animals
- Light pollution can alter predator-prey relationships, reproduction, habitat selection, navigation, and migration, among other crucial ecological processes. Nearly half of all species, including migratory birds, are nocturnal.
- Reduces the effect of light on your neighbors (use of warm color -amber lighting is best)
- Through astrotourism, preserving starry night skies can create prospects for local economic prosperity.
What Am I Able to Do at Home?
Light pollution may reach up to 200 kilometers from its point of origin. Therefore, changes we make at home can contribute to preserving the night sky in our local community and national park units across the country. You see the space art done by popular artists are so detailed that we even get engrossed by them.
Light Emission Sources
Outdoor lights that emit upwards or laterally are the primary source of light pollution. Any light that escapes upward, unless a tree or building blocks it, will disperse throughout the atmosphere and brighten the night sky, obscuring the view. Particles of air pollution will also enhance light scattering at night, just as they do during the day.
Light fixtures that direct all light downward lessen light pollution significantly. These are known as shielded lights or, in technical jargon, full cutoff. Some light does bounce off the ground and spread through the sky, but this has a lower impact than straight upward illumination. In addition, light pollution can be decreased further by using a lamp or bulb with less wattage. These technological advancements in lighting vastly increase the quality of the night sky and provide other advantages. These include enhanced visibility, enhanced safety, decreased energy use, and enhanced attractiveness.
A recent study indicates that light emitted above the horizontal (slightly upwards) is most likely to contribute to light pollution. This light grazes the Earth’s surface and is several times more destructive than light sent directly above. Again, this emphasizes the need to utilize well-designed light fixtures with a complete cutoff design.
In wealthy nations, outdoor illumination accounts for three to five percent of total electricity consumption. However, depending on how light pollution is defined and local lighting patterns, 20 to more than 50 percent of outdoor lighting can contribute to light pollution. Consequently, eliminating light pollution results in significant energy savings on a national scale and gives an economic incentive to improve or replace outdoor lighting with more sustainable options.
In certain situations, even a single light can disrupt the natural lightscape. The bright point light source can upset neighbors (an issue known as light trespass), diminish the sense of isolation and naturalness, confound nocturnal animals, migratory birds, and insects, and degrade cultural landscapes. Even a candle viewed from a mile distant is brighter than the Big Dipper’s stars; hence, even minute quantities of stray light can affect natural lightscapes.
Sustainable Outdoor Lighting Specifications
- Deciding on no lighting – The first consideration when determining what outdoor lighting is acceptable for an area or structure/facility in a national park is whether light is necessary. In many situations, reflective tape or other reflective surfaces may be substituted (this is a good option for roadways, parking lots, parking garages, and trails where people will have headlamps, flashlights, and cell phone lights).
- LEDs with warm color temperatures of 2700 Kelvin. Use energy-efficient LEDs with a warm color hue, such as yellow or amber, NOT blue or white. (Note: the most energy-efficient LEDs are not recommended since they include a lot of blue, which generates additional glare and blind spots, has possible health impacts, and is not considered wildlife-friendly.)
- Recessed and Fully Shielded – Hockey puck-shaped lights that may be put beneath a soffit or other architectural element are highly beneficial; avoid globes or diffusers that hang below the light fixture; use “full cutoff” shielding – permits surplus light to be directed downward rather than upward.
- No Upward-Facing Lights – Outdoor lighting should be planned and installed to face downward (e.g., park signs and flags often have upward-facing lighting that can be easily made to point downward.). Avoid lighting that is also aimed laterally
- Lighting Fixtures that Include or May Accommodate Timers, Motion Detectors, Hue Adapters, and Dimmers — these adaptive technologies can significantly improve energy efficiency and lessen impacts on park natural and cultural resources. Additionally, they can improve the health and safety of visitors.
Lumens are the unit of measurement used to describe the intensity or brightness of LED lights. Outdoors, the number of lumens required to illuminate an area safely is far fewer than most people believe. LEDs are also significantly brighter and more energy-efficient than other forms of lighting, allowing you to use a lot lower wattage LED while maintaining the same degree of brightness. For example, a 250-watt incandescent bulb produces the same lumens as a 30-watt LED light. Field-adjustable wattage selectors are also excellent for minimizing environmental consequences, maximizing cost savings, and extending product life.
6 . Appropriate Installation – Lights should be put at the prescribed angle and height. A further advantage of LEDs for outdoor illumination is that LED luminaires permit precise control over the beam distribution. However, depending on the height of the fixture or pole, the size of the illuminated area will vary. Thus, the beam spread must be considered during installation to prevent illuminating a larger area than necessary. For example, a type I beam spread is commonly utilized for roadways, but a type V beam spread may be better suitable for a parking lot. Additionally, proper placement and dispersion angle might lower the total number of required lights.