Protecting the Night Sky at Your Home and Community

Protect the Night Sky Where You Live

Light pollution is caused by the misuse or overuse of outdoor lighting. Light pollution has consequences, not just in national parks, but also in your own community. It diminishes our ability to view the stars and celestial bodies, impacts human health, disrupts ecological functions, and can create safety issues for humans. Light pollution also wastes energy and can be expensive. Luckily light pollution and its impacts on people, wildlife, and night skies can be quickly reversed, and you can start right at your own home. Collectively we can make small changes to make a big impact on the protection of our shared night skies.

Protecting the Night Sky has Many Benefits!

  • Replacing old lights with highly efficient warm white LEDs saves energy and money
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  • Adequate night lighting provides for human safety, health, and home security
    • Some outdoor lighting can cause direct glare from light fixtures that affect vision. This lighting can unnaturally illuminate the ground and diminish ones’ ability to adapt their vision to the dark, which can cause blind spots, and create potential safety issues.
    • Dark nights (and bright days) are key in keeping our circadian rhythm in sync. It is well documented that without the restorative power of consistent restful sleep, serious health consequences can arise.
  • Long lived LED light reduces light replacement costs
  • Enhances neighborhood aesthetics
  • Minimizes light impacts to wildlife
    • Light pollution can affect wildlife interactions and other vital ecological processes including predator/prey relationships, reproduction, habitat selection, navigation and migration. Nearly half the species on Earth are nocturnal, including migratory birds.
  • Minimizes light impact to your neighbors (use of warm color -amber lighting is best)
  • Preserving starry night skies can provide opportunities for local economic growth through astro-tourism.

What can I do at home?

Light pollution can travel up to 200km away from its source. Changes we make at home can help protect the night skies in our local community and national park units across the country. This interactive map shows light pollution across the world.

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The National Park Service recommends this six-step process for evaluating outdoor lighting:
1. Light only if needed
2. Light only when needed; use motion sensors or timers
3. Light only wehere needed (shield and direct down)
4. Use warm-white or amber light (avoid blue-white light)
5. Use the minimum amount of light needed
6. Use energy-efficient lights

Last updated: April 27, 2022