When I first moved to Denver, Colorado from the middle of nowhere Oklahoma where I grew up, one of the first things I realized was that I no longer had a very good view of the stars on a clear night. While this may not seem like a big deal to to some, but for someone who loved to lay out in the back yard and stare up at the stars at night, not having that available without a minimum 30 minute drive was more than disappointing.
Why does this happen you might be asking? Well to put it simply, it’s light pollution. Yes, I said light pollution. Every light, especially streetlamps in towns do not do a very good job of directing light where they actually want to go, so there’s a lot of light pollution. Because everything we see is light hitting the back of our eyes, the more pollution we have the less we can see from the sky. The graphic below shows a great example of what I’m talking about. I grew up with the night sky generally being halfway between number 3 and number 5 on the picture where as now I’m between 7 and 9.
Big deal you might be saying. There has been multiple news articles stating that in numerous inner cities, when they’ve had blackouts people were actually able to see hints of the Milkyway Galaxy (most likely around number 3 on the picture) and called 911 because they had no idea what it was and thought it was smoke and thought something exploded or some other emergency.
Fear not though! BBC.co.uk reports that researches from Mexico and Japan believe they’ve developed a new LED streetlamp design that will greatly lessen the light pollution of street lamps.
Read their article here.