Light Pollution

Objective

Investigate the lesser known form of pollution: Light Pollution

Difficulty

Procedure: Easy

Concept: Medium

Concept

Even at night, we are still in presence of light. Street lights, lights from buildings and even moonlight sneaks into our eyes. In modern days, with the aide of cheap light bulbs, it is easy to access light at anytime, anywhere. While this is a great convenience of modern technology, it also creates a lesser known from of pollution called light pollution.

Light pollution may appear to cause no direct harm to the environment like other forms of pollution. However, it does have consequences we may not be aware of.

One of the most obvious troubles belongs to the astronomers. While air pollution does contribute to the diminishing star visibility, light pollution also does its job preventing us from being able to see stars. Why?

Let’s imagine you are in a large, completely dark room with a candle. How far do you think the candle needs to be before you can’t see it? Now how about in a well lit room? This is called absolute visual threshold. Looking at stars from the sky is like looking at the candle. With increasingly unnecessary lights at night, dim objects like nebula or galaxies are hard to observe. As a result, telescopes had to move away to remote areas.

Another direct impact of light pollution is the over production of algae in water. While algae are an important part of the food chain, over production can kill fish by lowering the water quality. Zooplankton, such as Daphnia, can be kept from eating algae due to the light. Also this disrupts navigation of moths and others.

So, what can we do to stop this?

Personalizing your Project

  1. What are some ways to measure light pollution?
  2. What can we do to reduce light pollution?
  3. What study can you do to measure effect of light pollution?

Things to Consider

Google Key Words

To do more research on light pollution, try typing these words into a Google search.

References