What is light pollution?

Light pollution is the introduction, directly or indirectly, of artificial light into the earth’s atmosphere. Light pollution is another form of air pollution, which is produced by the dispersion of artificial night light (LAN) in the sky, altering the natural darkness of the night.

Light pollution, understood as an environmental change resulting from human activity, must also be included within the processes of Global Planetary Change.

Light pollution changes the natural darkness of the night. There are scientific evidences that light pollution can generate impacts on biodiversity, life standards and health of people affecting, globally, sustainable development.

How can we prevent light pollution?

To ensure that outdoor lighting does not have harmful consequences for the environment and people, it must meet these requirements.

  • All light must have a clear purpose.
  • It must be directed only where it is needed.
  • The light must not be brighter than necessary.
  • Lighting should only be used when it is needed and useful.
  • The use of warmer colored lights is recommended, whenever possible.

Learn more about light pollution in this video from the #IACUniverseHome initiative.

EELabs: Sustainable Use of Artificial Light

The EELabs project aims to maximize the energy efficiency of new lighting technology -mainly LED- while minimizing its effect in the form of light pollution -sky glow- in natural ecosystems of the Macaronesia. To this end, it will deepen the study of light pollution through various networks of photometers that will be installed on the islands of Tenerife, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Madeira and Corvo (Azores). In addition, it will also install photometers on the sea routes to Cape Verde.

EELabs will propose activities for both the scientific community and society to acquire in-depth knowledge of artificial light at night (LAN) and natural Macaronesian ecosystems. In this way it will be possible to achieve sustainable growth, where the increase in the LAN, a consequence of economic development, does not compromise natural areas due to an excessive increase in light pollution.

Repository of scientific articles on light pollution and its impacts.