Fight the Light

Light pollution is a common term referring to artificial light that shines where it is neither wanted nor needed. Nocturnal animals like moths and bats are active at night. Artificial light can be a fatal attraction to insects. Some predators exploit this attraction to their advantage, resulting in declining insect populations in some places and impacting on other species that rely on these insects for food or pollination.

Artificial light can cause birds that migrate or hunt at night to wander off course, or to migrate too early or too late and miss ideal conditions for nesting and foraging.

As humans, we too adhere to a circadian rhythm (our biological clock that is governed by the day-night cycle). Too much artificial light at night can disrupt that cycle making it difficult for us to sleep well.

Top tips for conserving our dark skies

  • Make sure your outside lights are fully shielded or angled downwards, so that no light shines up into the night sky
  • Cool-white LED lighting can be disruptive to nocturnal wildlife. Choose LED lights that emit a warm-white light i.e. below 3000 kelvin
  • Avoid over-lighting and glare by choosing a low wattage LED light. A modern 5w LED bulb is equivalent to a 60w incandescent light bulb and is ideal for most domestic uses.

For more advice visit our Darks Skies Planning page. If you are interested in the work of the International Dark Sky Association to reduce light pollution, go to: https://www.darksky.org/

Monitoring the darkness

At a number of key locations around the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, we are installing a number of photometers to monitor the darkness of our night skies. These compact devices that monitor sky brightness every night were developed under the Stars4All project.

If you would like to see how dark our skies compare to other places around the world, you can visit https://tess.stars4all.eu/plots/

A light meter on the roof of a National Park building in the Breamish Valley