Air Date: Week of September 6, 1996
Facts about.. light pollution.
CURWOOD: If you missed this summer's meteor showers or are disappointed that last spring's comet Hyakutake barely looked like a smudge in the sky, you're not alone. Stargazing has become harder and harder in much of the US. Of the 2,500 or so stars once visible to the naked eye, many Americans nowadays can only see a few hundred. The problem isn't their eyes, it's light pollution. Roadways, parking lots and sports stadiums fill the night sky with light and much of it is wasted. By one estimate, 30% of night lighting illuminates nothing but the sky at a cost of a billion dollars a year in electricity. Professional stargazers have been hit hard by light pollution. The effectiveness of the Mt. Wilson Observatory, for instance, has been cut by 10% by the sprawling luminescence of nearby Los Angeles. It can now study only bright stars. But some cities are tightening up on light pollution. In booming Tucson, Arizona, innovative controls and careful positioning of lamps mean that residents can stroll downtown at night and still gaze up at a star-filled sky. And for this week that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.
Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an autographed copy of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.