Light pollution from the sky: A future without stars

Light pollution from the sky: A future without stars

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By Remigio Cabrera Trujillo

Of the pollutions produced by humans, such as air, water, soil and garbage production, light pollution is the easiest to combat and eliminate.

Electric lighting has been with us since 1880, when Edison invented the incandescent bulb. However, it has been difficult for people to understand the benefits of directing lighting only to the required locations and thus avoiding excessive electrical current charges. With the frequent use of mercury and sodium vapor lamps, coupled with the fallacy that manufacturers have added the "label" that more lighting produces greater safety, this phenomenon has taken root in the mind of the city dweller. A well-lit street or house is believed to give more security. However, it is when nobody pays attention to the thief, because they are not in constant vigilance. A system where the lighting is turned on by movement is safer, since the thief is detected in due course. Thus, it is not the lighting, but how it is used.

Another consequence of light pollution is its effect on the ecosystem. Flocks of birds that migrate suffer deviations from their routes and / or block them when encountering night patterns that confuse them, such as the brightness of a city. In turn, animals change their nocturnal habits when their environment is affected by light pollution.

Reducing the lighting produced by the lamps in your home is a common sense courtesy to your neighbors, who, like you, have the right to a dark starry sky. By the way, this will help you reduce your “light” (electricity) bill. You may wonder how ?: making sure that your lamps produce only the "power" required to illuminate your patio or street and direct it only downwards, so that you do not waste light energy towards places that do not require it. You will also save by replacing your filament bulbs with energy-saving “ecological” bulbs.

To better understand the savings, let's consider the following example: let's compare a 200-watt security lamp that is turned on continuously throughout the night, with another that is only turned on by a motion sensor. When it is on all night (12 hours), 365 days a year, it will run 4,280 hours for a year and use 820 kilowatt-hours of electricity. With a cost of $ 1.00 pesos per kilowatt-hour, for example, we will spend $ 820 pesos in that year for its use. However, if the same lamp is well placed and activated by a motion sensor a few times a night, let's say a total time of half an hour a night (we assume it was turned on six times for five minutes activated by a cat or dog) It will spend about 36 kilowatt-hours per year and we will only pay about $ 36 pesos per year for that lamp. These savings will recover the cost of the motion sensor (about $ 300 pesos) and we will still save about $ 500 pesos annually! If we multiply this by all the lamps we use at home, the savings will be greater!

Good lighting improves visibility and safety while minimizing energy use, operating costs, and glaring, unpleasant glare.

All the above reasons are enough to make us worry about this problem. Cities like Tucson, Arizona or Ensenada, Baja California, are cities that have taken ordinances to save on energy consumption and maintain a starry sky.

How do I switch to good lighting?

1. Use only enough light.

2. Direct the light “down” to the required area.

3. Use “ecological” lamps and placed in well-located strategic places.

4. Activate your lamps using motion sensors or time controllers.

5. Replace old and bad lamps with new and good ones.

You'll save energy and money, be a good neighbor, and help preserve the starry sky for your children, grandchildren, and future generations.

Morelos newspaper

Video: Escape Light Pollution to See the Milky Way Galaxy on Earth (May 2022).