How Londons light pollution problem has worsened overtime and what we can do about it


I initially captured this video footage using a three second time lapse to test if the new meteor lens is working properly. As you can see this is giving crystal-clear views Ursa Major is visible in the left-hand side Cassiopeia near the horizon and the top right Vega with the same constellation of Lyra.

However, what is also visible is the shocking light pollution the sheet of white light that starts at the horizon and slowly fades out as it moves further towards the celestial pole.

Is it a problem with the camera? Well, no, it is not a problem with the camera it is in fact London's light pollution. This of course makes it is difficult to see faint objects in this area of the sky be it faint stars, outer planets or comets in fact the light pollution is so bad it is often difficult to recognize constellations.

This is because some of the stars that make up the constellation are in fact obscured by the light pollution another thing this video shows that we still do not have a clear patch of sky with no light pollution for about 50 degrees above the horizon. There has in fact been a big increase in light pollution even from 2016 and 2019 meaning the part of the sky obscured by light pollution is likely to increase of course this issue is not just a problem for the Southeast of England there is a worldwide issue that gets worse each year.

It is also a problem that affects not only stargazers, but also human health and animal behaviour, research suggests that artificial lighting can negatively affect human health and increase the risk of obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more.

France has recently introduced legislation to reduce light pollution, but many non-legislative measures are possible with LED street lighting. Such as turning down street lights to reduce glare, as they are often so brighter than required to light roads and sidewalks. Additionally hoods over streetlights can ensure the light goes to the ground.

It's because of issues like this that I created a new series of articles Chasing Dark Skies, the first of which is Chasing Dark Skies on Dartmoor.

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