What is light pollution ?

The definition of light pollution according to Wikipedia:

Light pollution is excess or obtrusive light created by humans. Among other effects, it causes adverse health effects, obscures most stars to city dwellers, interferes with astronomical observatories, wastes energy and disrupts ecosystems.

Lighting is responsible for 25% of the total energy consumption worldwide.

Light pollution is a broad term that refers to multiple problems, all of which are caused by inefficient, annoying or arguably unnecessary use of artificial light.”

Sources of light pollution include interior and exterior lighting, advertising billboards, commercial/industrial properties and street lighting, to name only a few.

The top right image shows the local light pollution situation in Rijswijk – The Netherlands.
[©Willem Pont]

Enjoy the dark night sky !

“Of all the pollutions we face, light pollution is perhaps the most easily remedied.”

-Verlyn Klinkenborg, “Our Vanishing Night,” National Geographic magazine, November 2008

Astronomy & light pollution

Astronomy is a great hobby, but it is becoming more and more of a challenge to enjoy the night sky due to the ever increasing problem of light pollution, which makes finding and observing the celestial objects an increasingly difficult and sometimes an even impossible task.

We are rapidly loosing our view of the night sky as artificial lighting makes it more and more difficult to view the stars.
In general light pollution increases by 6% each year.

Click on below links to see more images of the light pollution situation in Northern Europe:

Light pollution chart of Europe (more detailed)

The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness

From my location in the Netherlands, it is almost impossible to do long exposure photography without the aid of specialized filters. These filters are specially designed to reduce (but not eliminate) sources of artificial lighting without blocking the light from celestial objects.

More on light pollution

More information on light pollution can be found here:
International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)
Wikipedia – Light pollution
Platform Lichthinder (Dutch)
Werkgroep Lichthinder (Belgian)

Dark skies are a precious asset and should be preserved for all, now and in the future.

Clear (and dark) skies to you all !