Have you ever thought about what it was like at night before electric lights were invented? People relied on candlelight, and later light from gas lamps to illuminate the night. Today, in our cities and towns, it is very difficult to find a place that is truly dark at night. While this is certainly convenient, it has created unexpected problems, particularly for astronomers. Use the resources on the Too Bright at Night student esheet to help you answer the questions on this sheet.
Part 1: The Problems with Light
As you read the articles, think about the following questions and prepare to discuss these with your class.
What are some of the reasons that the night sky is “brightening?”
Is all of this brightening necessary?
What problems are caused by excessive lighting of the night sky?
Who or what is being affected? What are some of the problems for animals?
Can anything be done about it?
How would reducing light pollution save money?
Is there a solution that would still enable us to provide nighttime illumination for those who need it?
Part 2: Bright Rewards and Risks
Now that you’ve had a chance to learn a little more about light pollution, fill out the chart below. In the first column, list some of the benefits of brighter nights for people and societies. In the second column, list some of the drawbacks or negative effects.
Rewards of Brighter Nights
Risks of Brighter Nights
What Do You Think?
In the space below, write a brief statement outlining what, if anything, you think should be done about light pollution. Include specific references to actual problems and descriptions of any remedies that you think might be effective. Also, consider the needs of those who you think benefit most from a bright night sky and how your proposed remedy might affect them.