Friday, June 7, 2013 12:00am -0400

Light Pollution: The Thief of the Night.

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The Milky Way at China Lake The Milky Way at China Lake Mike Taylor

Light pollution harms more than just photos. It creates unseen problems on all life on Earth, including humans. Astrophotographer Mike Taylor has been battling the blaring light for years while taking photos of the night sky. Along with Stellar Eyes and many other photographers and sky gazers he joined the International Dark-Sky Association to advocate for dark skies. Here is his message on the importance of a dark sky.

I was out shooting the night sky from 12-4 AM at a couple different locales - this image is from the public boat landing at China Lake, Maine. When I saw the reflections of the stars on the water I set up and shot here for over an hour. The faint light pollution on the left in the trees is from street lights and various lighting at the camps along the shoreline. The really bright light pollution in the center and on the right is coming from Augusta, Maine which is 20 miles from this spot. The dock itself is being lit by a streetlamp out of frame on the right. Even with all this light pollution I still managed to capture some great details in the Milky Way and some good colors in the sky, particularly the green airglow (and there's a bit of purple in there too) - but how awesome could this shot have been without so much light pollution? How much more color and detail could I have captured in the sky?

I took the image below of the Milky Way at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park where there is almost no light pollution at all.

mw at sand beach

I am continuing to work with the International Dark-Sky Association to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. And I am urging folks to visit their Facebook page and get involved in trying to raise public awareness about light pollution. YOU can make a REAL difference by doing something as easy as using environmentally responsible outdoor lighting!

"The 24-hour day/night cycle, known as the circadian clock, affects physiologic processes in almost all organisms, including humans. These processes include brain wave patterns, hormone production (melatonin), cell regulation and other biologic activities. Disruption of these rhythms can result in insomnia, depression, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. As of 2012 the American Medical Association has recognized light at night as a carcinogen and a health risk.

Animals and plants live by a rhythm that is attuned to our planet's 24-hour cycle. This is an inherited trait, which is passed on through the genes of a species. Humans may notice a change in their circadian rhythm when they travel by airplane between several time zones, characterized by sleepiness, lethargy, or a general sense that something is "off." Wildlife and fish experience this same disorientation of time when there is too much artificial light at night. Behaviors governing mating, migration, sleep, and finding food are determined by the length of nighttime. Light pollution negatively disrupts these age-old patterns." -IDA

Learn more about the harmful effects of light pollution.

Please visit the IDA website for more information:

Cheers! Enjoy and share if you dig this image and this message. And thanks for reading all of this!

To see more of Mike Taylor's amazing night sky photos click here.

Read 10033 times Last modified on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 5:18pm -0500
Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor owns Taylor Photography, an imaging studio based in a 19th Century farmhouse in central Maine. He has been a scenic & nature photographer for over 10 years and a studio photographer for 7 years. You can see more of his photos on his website and his Facebook page Taylor Photography.