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Light pollution is the excessive, misdirected, or intrusive artificial light. It's most visible as the brightening of the night sky, which hampers visibility of stars and planets. Four primary types of light pollution include skyglow, light trespass, glare, and over-illumination.
Light pollution disrupts the natural day-night pattern, affecting the behavior of nocturnal wildlife. Migratory birds, for instance, are disoriented by excessive night lighting, leading to fatal collisions with buildings. Additionally, artificial light interferes with the breeding and feeding patterns of various species, disrupting ecosystems.
Excessive exposure to artificial light, especially blue light, disrupts human circadian rhythms, leading to poor sleep quality. This disturbance is linked to various health issues, including sleep disorders, depression, and an increased risk of chronic illnesses like obesity and diabetes.
For astronomers, both amateur and professional, light pollution impedes celestial observations. The obscuration of the night sky limits our ability to study and appreciate celestial bodies, hindering educational and scientific progress.
Addressing light pollution involves both technological and policy-driven approaches. This includes: