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Light is the source of life

Its energy allows plants to carry out photosynthesis and conditions the biological cycles of most living beings, among which is our species. Until the early nineteenth century, when Humphry David placed a thin strip of carbon between the two poles of a battery, giving rise to the first light bulb, and later Edison patented it in 1880, our only source of light came from the Sun and, in the night, of lamps and bonfires.

Technological advances in barely a century have made light even a problem, not only for the environment but for our own health. Light pollution affects urban and industrial areas and it is estimated that more than 80% of the world’s population lives under skies with light pollution. In some cities the possibility to see a few more than a dozen stars is minimal and this scenario is presented in countless cities throughout the planet.

The dark side of the light

The light bulb was invented by Humphry Davy but it was not stable, Thomas Edison improved it

When we talk about light pollution we are talking about the brightness that is seen in the sky at night derived from an inefficient use of light. Instead of sending the light towards the ground, it is emitted towards the sky. Its incorrect use is also a waste of energy, alters and unbalances flora and fauna in general, disturbs our sleep cycles, increases glare on the road, hinders air and maritime traffic, and increases CO2 emissions.

About half of the insects live at night and their reproductive cycle and that of other nocturnal animals is altered by light pollution. Take for example moths, which use the light of the Moon to orient themselves, since they balance their flight path according to the rotation of the earth. Or in the fireflies, whose female emits light to attract the male and who sees how his effort cannot compete with the light of a street lamp. By reducing the number of insects, the birds whose diet depends on them are not able to raise their young due to lack of food, thus also reducing the livelihood of carnivorous animals.

How does excess lighting affect our health?

Light affects our sleep cycles and therefore our circadian rhythm. The alteration of this can have serious consequences increasing the risk of suffering: diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, mental and gastrointestinal diseases, etc.

How does this light pollution produce and what measures can we take to reduce it?

The main factors are a bad design of the streetlights, an excess of power of the luminaires and the existence of inefficient schedules in the use of artificial light.

But light pollution is not derived only from the misuse of light in cities and urban areas. In recent decades, the increase in the number of artificial satellites placed in low orbit around the Earth has triggered the alarms by astronomers around the world whose observations, each time, are more difficult to execute with precision.

How does excess lighting affect our health?

Light affects our sleep cycles and therefore our circadian rhythm. The alteration of this can have serious consequences increasing the risk of suffering: diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, mental and gastrointestinal diseases, etc.

new york city
How does this light pollution produce and what measures can we take to reduce it?

The main factors are a bad design of the streetlights, an excess of power of the luminaires and the existence of inefficient schedules in the use of artificial light.

But light pollution is not derived only from the misuse of light in cities and urban areas. In recent decades, the increase in the number of artificial satellites placed in low orbit around the Earth has triggered the alarms by astronomers around the world whose observations, each time, are more difficult to execute with precision.

new york city

Satellite Mega-constellations

The other side of the coin is that, despite the repercussions on astrophysical research that these satellite mega-constellations, There is more and more social awareness in this regard and actions to preserve the darkness of the night are multiplying. Small actions such as always lighting from top to bottom and not letting the light scatter, using sodium vapor bulbs and amber LEDs that reduce glare, using motion sensors and programmers so as not to illuminate areas that are not being used, making a responsible use of facade and billboards lighting are some of the simple measures with which we can all help to minimize the problem and enjoy the Right to see a starry sky.

Light pollution is a global problem and many groups around the world work tirelessly to reduce the problems that derive from a clear waste of energy. An example of this is the Cel Fosc Association in Spain or the worldwide International Dark-Sky Association. The appearance of new laws even to protect the quality of the Sky, such as the one drawn up in 1988 by the Spanish General Courts, commonly called the “Sky Law”, applied to the Canary Islands of Tenerife and La Palma, has made it possible to carry out different renovation actions. and modification of the lighting thanks to the involvement of the town councils and the collaboration of the Technical Office for Sky Protection and of the Starlight Foundation.

Blog de AsterArk
Neowise Starlink satellites

Satellite Mega-constellations

The other side of the coin is that, despite the repercussions on astrophysical research that these satellite mega-cosntellations, There is more and more social awareness in this regard and actions to preserve the darkness of the night are multiplying. Small actions such as always lighting from top to bottom and not letting the light scatter, using sodium vapor bulbs and amber LEDs that reduce glare, using motion sensors and programmers so as not to illuminate areas that are not being used, making a responsible use of facade and billboards lighting are some of the simple measures with which we can all help to minimize the problem and enjoy the Right to see a starry sky.

Blog de AsterArk
Neowise Starlink satellites

Light pollution is a global problem and many groups around the world work tirelessly to reduce the problems that derive from a clear waste of energy. An example of this is the Cel Fosc Association in Spain or the worldwide International Dark-Sky Association. The appearance of new laws even to protect the quality of the Sky, such as the one drawn up in 1988 by the Spanish General Courts, commonly called the “Sky Law”, applied to the Canary Islands of Tenerife and La Palma, has made it possible to carry out different renovation actions. and modification of the lighting thanks to the involvement of the town councils and the collaboration of the Technical Office for Sky Protection and of the Starlight Foundation.