How To Use A Light Pollution Map

light pollution map

A simple online dictionary definition of light pollution is that light pollution is the dimming of the nighttime sky due to man-made sources and streetlights, which have an adverse effect on our planet’s natural cycles. In addition to this, many sources of natural light are being affected by light pollution.

Light Pollution Map As An Optical Illusion

The first thing to notice about light pollution maps is that it is an optical illusion that makes the object seem brighter. For example, in a night sky with a few thousand stars, a faint star such as Alpha Centauri will appear to be much larger than the moon or the brightest stars in the sky. In reality, it is just a tiny dot on a night sky map.

The second thing to note about light pollution maps is that there is no single source of light that causes it. Light pollution can occur from several different sources including artificial lights at construction sites, city lights, billboards, and even from the sun’s glare.

Artificial light also causes the sky to seem brighter. The rays of the sun have been known to create more light than other sources.

Night time sky viewing in particular has been noted to be affected by light pollution. Many astronomers believe that the lack of dark skies and high amounts of artificial light is directly related to the increased number of deaths from automobile accidents caused by light from the road.

How To Avoid Light Pollution

A good way to avoid the effects of light pollution is to observe a well-light night sky each night. Also, when possible, try and use a flashlight in case you are photographing objects during the night. This is especially important if you live in a place where natural lighting is not reliable.

Another good way to avoid being affected by it is to purchase an electric flashlight. An LED flashlight is the most affordable one. It also comes with an additional red light which can be used for photography during the day.

Other Uses Of The Map

A light pollution map can also help you get rid of unwanted outdoor lighting at night. You can simply mount a photo lamp on your car dashboard that will shine a light directly into your eyes while keeping the street and surrounding area lit.

The U.S. Department of the Interior even has its own version of a light pollution map. If you want to know which area you should avoid or look for in a light pollution map, it can help to search Google for the name of your park.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has an online version of a light pollution map. If you want to see how well the sun is shining in different states, you can look it up on their site.

Most cities have their own versions of a light pollution map. If you live in Chicago, for example, you can purchase your map online.


If you need to know which areas have more of these pollutants than others, you can also consult a local library for information on which sources are considered safe and which ones are not. These maps are very handy, because they allow you to get around town during the day and still see a good deal of nature during nighttime.

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