Light, a natural and harmless part of our world normally, is out of place at night. Light pollution is defined as the illumination of the night sky caused by artificial light, a problem born with the invention of the light bulb only 125 years ago. Most light pollution, or sky glow, is completely unnecessary and is caused by bad lighting fixtures. Many lights installed in homes, businesses, street lights and billboards are too bright and aimed upwards or sideways. The light scatters through the atmosphere above and brightens the night sky, diminishing the view of it.
Air pollution also decreases night sky visibility, just like it does in the daytime. Air pollution particles increase the scattering of light in the atmosphere, increasing sky glow.
Great Basin National Park offers astronomy programs throughout the summer.
More Than Just Aesthetics
More than simply aesthetics, light pollution is a serious problem for nocturnal animals. Many animals depend on darkness in order to hunt, conceal their location, navigate, or reproduce. Stray light disrupts their habitat, and even their life cycles. Plants, too can be affected. A tree beneath a bright street light may lose its leaves in the fall later than neighboring trees.