Put that light out

My annual rant about light pollution (and a couple of photographs of Venus & Saturn in the early morning sky).

Have you ever stood outside on a crisp clear night and looked up at the night sky and found yourself lost in wonder? A few years ago in a rural location as the Sun dropped beneath the horizon the sky became a source of inspiration not only for astronomers but for writers and artists everywhere. Now as the Sun vanishes for the day you hardly notice as factories and houses become illuminated by a myriad of lights. Some factories need hundreds of lights even when they’re closed, and householders have taken to lighting every nook and cranny of the houses exterior either through vanity or a misguided attempt at increasing security (I say misguided as lighting the outside of your house normally gives burglars more of an opportunity to gain entry than a normal house. Standing in my garden this morning I took the following photograph…

That white glow above the tree line on the right is Burdens depot, the yard is illuminated by more lights than a football pitch even when they’re closed.

Looking further East we see the glow from Langwathby…

All those pools of light in the valley illuminating the sky above, for a relatively small village the light pollution from Langwathby is perhaps the worst in the area. It’s made worse by horrendous security lights on a property located on the edge of the village (opposite Frank Birds factory another source of light pollution). The house is so badly illuminated at night that the security lights blind drivers approaching the village.

It’s worth remembering that all the light that pollutes the night sky is energy that has been wasted, in a time when we are trying to reduce energy consumption many people appear intent on wasting energy every night. Perhaps people are content to throw money down the drain?

Without the pollution interfering too much the night sky really is a source of wonder and inspiration, it’s just a pity that the next generation will never see it as it should be seen but through a haze of light from every other house and factory in the Country.

Oh yes, this morning was a partial success with the camera as I managed to capture three planets in one frame…

Labeled version link.

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3 Thoughts to “Put that light out”

  1. Very well said Graeme. It is so wasteful, unnecessary and spoiling of the night sky. I spent an evening at Kelling Heath, Norfolk a few years ago – the darkest place in Eastern England (so I am told). It is not until one experiences true darkness is it appreciated.

    So what to do?

    1. A visit to Kelling Heath may have to be planned into the diary 😉 As to ‘what to do’ it really is about raising awareness so that everyone thinks about whether they really need all the lights on at night, and how they position the lights of course.

  2. Some loosers just don’t get it, like my coworker who couldn’t visualise the real intention of this line on your article … only for astronomers but for writers and artists everywhere. Now as the Sun vanishes for the day you hardly it also bring back to mind about the day I met my wife.

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