At times, it seems like astronomers are facing hopeless odds in their struggle against light pollution. With continuing urban sprawl and economic development, it seems that artificial lights will increasingly drown out the night sky, eventually to the point where we’ll only be able to see the Moon and the brightest planets.
But as Bob Parks explains in this 12-minute audio interview, astronomers can take solace in some encouraging trends. Lighting engineers have developed new types of fixtures that reduce skyglow, and local and state governments are becoming increasingly proactive at mitigating the effects of light pollution. And in a particularly encouraging recent development, the IDA and the Illuminating Engineering Society jointly approved a Model Lighting Ordinance, or MLO, to guide municipal governments on how to reduce unnecessary lighting.
Bob is the Executive Director of the International Dark-Sky Association. He authored the feature article “The Battle to Control Light Pollution” in the September 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope.
To learn more about light pollution, you can also watch this video interview with amateur astronomer and cardiologist Mario Motta.