Casting Light on Darkness

The Exmoor Society’s Nocturnal Exmoor seminars and our 2022 Exmoor Review showed what an enormous impact artificial light has on wildlife and how important it is to protect our dark skies, but new research has revealed how endangered darkness is.

A study in this month’s issue of Science, has found that the level of artificial light in the night sky is increasing by 10% every year, and that we are losing our ability to see the stars.  The study analysed more than 50,000 ‘naked eye’ observations, taken by citizen scientists across the world between 2011 and 2022, and used these to measure the impact of the “sky glow” caused by artificial light pollution. Lead author, Christopher Kyba, said “the rate at which stars are becoming invisible to people in urban environments is dramatic”. If the sky continues to brighten at this rate, a child born today will be able to see less than half of the stars now visible by their 18th birthday.

The upcoming CPRE Star Count will add to the evidence. This annual campaign encourages people across the UK to count the stars visible from their location which allows the CPRE to identify both the location of truly dark skies in the UK, and also the locations where light pollution is worst – so that they can work with local councils and others to tackle the problem. It can be as simple as changing an outside light to one that is more focussed, the type of bulb, or just drawing curtains when lights are on inside. Running from 17th – 24th February, this is fabulous campaign to become involved in. More details are available via the CPRE website.