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Light Pollution Control: World-Wide Effects of and Efforts to Reduce Light Pollution

  • H. E. Schwarz
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 296)

Abstract

Light pollution, defined as wasted or inappropriately used light from outdoor sources, is a global and fast growing threat to the environment, affecting public health, science and culture, flora and fauna. The extra energy losses with their associated direct and — often more important — indirect financial and environmental costs, add to the global greenhouse effect.

Astronomy is particularly sensitive to light pollution and, near large cities, the sky background has in many cases increased to a level of several tens of times the natural sky background, making even rudimentary astronomical observations impossible. This has a strong negative effect, not only on professional ground-based astronomy, but also on thousands of amateurs, and the general public. Children who grow up never having seen a dark, starry sky are missing a “primordial” experience that is and should be an essential part of every human being.

In this paper some aspects of present-day light pollution issues are described, as are some of the world-wide efforts to reduce or reverse light pollution, with emphasis on astronomy-related work and using the experience in Chile - rapidly becoming the world’s largest astronomical observatory - as an example.

Keywords

Kluwer Acad Space Debris Light Pollution Radio Interference International Astronomical Union 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. E. Schwarz
    • 1
  1. 1.NOAO-AURACerro Tololo Inter-American ObservatoryLa SerenaChile

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