Lockdown 'behind less light pollution' as stars shine brighter - The Solihull Observer

Lockdown 'behind less light pollution' as stars shine brighter

Solihull Editorial 11th Apr, 2021   0

THERE’s been a dramatic fall in light pollution during lockdown, says the local branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.

Each year the Warwick-based organisation carries out its star count to gauge the impact of light pollution on the night sky.

Nearly 8,000 counts were submitted between February 6-14 with 51 per cent of people noting ten or fewer stars in the constellation of Orion, indicating severe light pollution.

This compares to 61 per cent during the same period last year.

Thirty or more stars indicates truly dark skies which were seen by five per cent of the participants – the highest figure since 2013.

The CPRE believes lockdown is the most likely reason for this change, with reduced human activity resulting in quieter than usual urban areas.

The results have been launched to mark International Dark Skies Week, run by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA), which raises awareness on the impacts of light pollution.

Light pollution can negatively affect human health and wildlife by disturbing animals’ natural cycles and behaviours.

Badly designed, wasteful light also contributes to climate change and obscures our connection to the Universe.

So CPRE and IDSA want to combat light pollution through strong local and national policies.

This involves putting the right light in the right places, such as LED lights that only illuminate where we walk, and turning off lights in places such as office buildings when they’re unoccupied.

CPRE chief executive Crispin Truman said: “Looking up at a starry night sky is a magical sight and one that everyone should be able to experience, wherever they live.

“And the great thing is, light pollution is one of the easiest kinds of pollution to reverse – by ensuring well designed lighting is used only where and when needed, and that there is strong national and local government policy.”


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