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Where is light pollution? February 19, 2009

Posted by linta in My words.


earth at night 

    I have met many people who do not agree that light pollution exists in their places. For example, I have friends in Chittagong who believe that there is no extra light in the sky above this economic capital of Bangladesh. However, the city appears to be filled with artificial lights- street lamps, decorating lamps, light from shops, shopping malls and hotels….light is everywhere. ‘But, still there is not enough light to cause pollution. Look at the night sky, how many stars are there? Even the moon is shining with full bright.’ But I have a question- have those who are satisfied with the night sky in Chittagong or any similar cities, ever compared the sky above their head with the sky visible in a rural region? The answer must be no, because otherwise they will not believe that light pollution is only a conceptual phenomenon which does not exist for real.

    My district Pathanamthitta is the youngest district in Kerala. However, the city is approaching the so called ‘modernization’ and thereby light pollution. The most obvious proof is that there are not many stars in the sky above Pathanamthitta city. With Jewellery shops, shopping malls and other business shops,companies and offices, Pathanamthitta is growing. Along with this development, light pollution is also growing. There is a large stadium in the heart of my city which serves as the venue for  many important programs. Whenever a circus or shopping festival comes to our city the stadium will be the venue. During such festive days, at night, a flash light can be seen above the city which is visible even in far away places. Still now, I don’t any idea about the use of that light. Even my village which lies 3 km far away from the city has also started to show some signs of light pollution like the orange or yellow haze in the sky, absence of stars… but again we are confused-where is light pollution? The answer is that light pollution is (almost)everywhere. This makes it difficult to recognize. See the image of earth at night taken by NASA. How many countries are there which are free from light pollution?


“Our Vanishing Night” February 14, 2009

Posted by linta in My words.

Lonely star

This is the title of an article published in the National Geographic magazine a few months ago. Until reading this article in our homeroom as a part of our weekly article analysis, I had no idea about the issue discussed in the it-light pollution. It is funny that most of us do not know much about this phenomenon. Pollution is such an inevitable part of our education curriculum even in primary classes. However, our knowledge about different types of pollution is very limited as there are more kinds that we do not notice or know about. Light pollution is such an occurrence.

If you are in a city, haven’t you ever wondered why there are not many stars in the sky? Whenever I asked the same question, my mother had a convincing answer that just like sunlight hiding the stars during daytime, clouds hide them at night.  However, there were times when I was not satisfied with this answer because if it was so, why those clouds were invisible? Sky was like an empty blanket above my head. As it is night, we cannot see those clouds. It is really convincing, isn’t it? For me, it was enough. However, there was still one doubt remaining – why don’t those clouds cover the moon? Are they above the moon(which is utterly impossible) to hide the stars only?

Now, I have the answer to those questions and I got the answer from that article which I mentioned before. Though there are not clouds in the sky, (artificial)light hides the stars just as natural light does during day time. As it says in the article “Our vanishing night”, we are the ones who allow artificial light to spill out into the sky, without focusing it into land where it is needed and thereby invite light pollution. As long as light continues to spill out into the atmosphere, there will be  hardly any stars visible in the night sky.