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  • 26 January, 2023

  • 5 Min Read



  • Skyglow's brightness has recently been found to have increased by 9.2-10% annually between 2011 and 2022 as a result of artificial lighting, with serious ecological, health, and cultural implications.
  • Researchers looked at a global database that indicated the dimmest star that could be viewed from a certain location and comprised more than 51,000 entries supplied by citizen scientists.


  • The Skyglow is a continuous sheet of light that covers the night sky above and around cities and can obliterate all but the brightest stars.
  • Streetlights, security floodlights, and outdoor decorative lights are to blame for the lightening of the night sky over inhabited areas.
  • This light also rushes into the sky and disrupts their direction, blinding the Nocturnal (active at night).
  • One element of light pollution is “skyglow.”

Consequences of light pollution:

  • Lighting that shines when and where it is not needed, or that emits too much light, is inefficient and a waste of money and energy.
  • Energy waste has negative effects on the economy and environment.

Effects of Light Pollution on Human Health:

  • Similar to the majority of life on Earth, humans also have a circadian rhythm, or biological clock, that is governed by the day-night cycle. Artificial light can be used at night to end that cycle.
  • According to a small 2009 study, night shift workers had a 40% increased risk of breast cancer because of circadian disruption, which can be caused by altered melatonin levels.

What does the Skyglow scenario entail?

  • A 2016 study found that 19.5% of India’s population – the lowest fraction among G20 countries experiences a level of skyglow that would at least keep the Milky Way galaxy out of sight and at most render “dark adaptation for human eyes” impossible.
  • The activation of cone cells in the human eye, which is only possible in well-lit situations, is one of the outcomes.
  • According to a 2003 report, lit beaches deter sea turtles from coming ashore to nest.
  • A 2006 review found that skyglow keeps trees from sensing seasonal variations.
  • A 2017 study found that young burrow-nesting seabirds don’t take flight unless the nesting site becomes dark.
  • A 2019 study reported that clownfish eggs don’t hatch when exposed to artificial light at night, killing the offspring.
  • A 2020 study found that it affects every aspect of insect life and lengthens the bug predators' hunting season.
  • A 2020 study found that using artificial light at night can impair the body's capacity to create melatonin, a vital hormone that affects sleep, mood, and cognition.

Way Forward

  • The International Dark-Skies Association has certified over 130 "International Dark Sky Places," where artificial lighting has been altered to reduce skyglow and light trespass. However, the bulk is in industrialized countries in the northern hemisphere.
  • Less developed places are often both species-rich and now less light-polluted, thus there is an opportunity to implement lighting solutions there before animals there suffer significantly.
  • Using light sources that project light at an angle below the horizon, limiting their emissions, and regulating their output based on the general brightness of the region being illuminated.

Source: The Hindu

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