Did you know only one fifth of the human population enjoys a dark night sky? And more than 20% of the Earth’s landmass at night is afflicted by a dull yellow glow?
But even in the heart of a major urban centre like Sydney, we can still observe the celestial bodies with the help of a simple telescope.
Speaking to a group of stargazers at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, astrophysicist Dr Ángel López Sánchez says that it isn’t just astronomers who should worry about light pollution, but anyone who is concerned about human and planetary health.
“It is not just a problem of the poor astronomers who can’t do their astronomy, no no no, it is pollution that we are putting into our environment," he says.
"And if you don’t want to look at it that way, put it in terms of money, and energy, and CO2 emissions that we are releasing into our cities illuminating the night sky. That is a lot of money that everyone is losing because of light pollution.”
We now know that an excess of light can cause stress, insomnia, fatigue, and anxiety in humans, while other animals suffer even more: sea turtles, birds, frogs, bats, spiders, plankton, moths, and fireflies are all left dazed and confused, their ability to navigate, mate, or pollinate impaired by the bright night sky.
Luckily for amateur astronomers, however, even in the heart of a major urban centre like Sydney, we can still observe the celestial bodies with the help of a simple telescope.
At the astronomy nights of The Calyx, members of the Northern Sydney Astronomical Society are there to provide you with their mirrors, lenses and expertise to help you navigate the heavens.