Unwanted photons that obscure and diminish the night sky. Usually consists of the diffuse ambient light from street lights, etc. in a city. Inhibits back yard stargazing.

Can be avoided in remote or rural areas, where you might also be able to see light pollution as the bright glow above a metropolitan area.

The thing that really fucks me off about light pollution is that most of it can be avoided by simply designing street lights so that they don't shine up into the sky.

People don't need street lights to shine up into the sky. People tend to stick firmly to the ground and that's where the light should be directed. If you are in an airplane a few small flashy lights should suffice to prevent other planes from crashing into you, you certainly don't need any help at all from street lights.

If you look at a photo of the USA taken at night from space then you see that most of the major continental observatories are being crowded out by light pollution, and it's not even fucking required,

i fucking fucking fucking hate light pollution, if i could i would cut it up and jump up and down on it a million times until it was unrecognisable.

please, please, turn off the lights *sigh*

If you live in a very rural area, or in a place civilized enough to outlaw wholesale light pollution, you may not have ever seen it. It'd probably disturb you if you did.

Picture a diffuse brownish glow in the sky, a gradient from brightest near the ground to darkest directly above your head. In the directions of large cities the horizon glows the most strongly, and in directions where there is no population, it may be as dark as the sky above. There are a handful of stars above you in the darkest places -- if it's winter you may even be able to make out the constellation Orion. Very few stars though, maybe one-hundred, nowhere near the crystalline infinity that you are used to. Certainly no galaxies or comets either; the closest thing you can find are a few airplanes and satellites.

Because of the extra light even the planets look the same color as the scant few stars, a dull white-on-brown. In deepest night, when all of the white lights have been turned off and only the orange sodium arcs remain, the glow takes on a horrid red tinge -- like the fires of hell burning somewhere not far away.

I don't look forward to telling my children what the stars were like.

Light pollution is an interesting occurence caused by the sheer idiocy of humans. Granted, there is one natural source of light pollution, but the vast majority is man-made. Poor ambient lighting is the main cause of this; it can come from lights for security on buildings, halogen lights, search lights, whatever. Indeed, it can pose a serious threat to drivers on the road as overlighting can lead to glare and decreased visibility - which, ironically, lights are supposed to improve.

It is the worst in populated areas; lack of any sort of light pollution ordinances has led to the reddish haze that enth describes. Most people just ignore it - after all, who looks at the sky anymore?

The most agonizing thing about this whole issue is that it's relatively simple to fix. A gas station, for example, can use recessed lighting in its canopy where the refilling stations are. Most gas stations use protruding lights, which serve absolutely no purpose but to throw glare everywhere and waste electricity.. Businesses which need security lights can use properly shaded sodium lamps. Bright lights are horrible for security reasons because they create a sharp contrast between light and dark, allowing a potential intruder to slip by unnoticed in the shadows.

Another very irritating source of light pollution are old-style or light orb street lamps. Light orb street lamps throw light everywhere except under the street lamp. A striking example of this blatant waste of electricity is present right in my hometown. The city's light rail provider has several park-and-ride parking lots which are illuminated by no less than 50 light orb lamps - at all nine parking lots along the light rail route, making them very highly visible from far off. Next to the parking lot is a U-Haul store, which is about the same size as the parking lot, and for some strange reason the parking lot outside the U-Haul store has better lighting, with fewer lights - they use SHIELDED lights!.

Crimes are very rarely committed in the sky. Why are we shining all that light up there?

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