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What is Light Pollution?

Light pollution is the presence of artificial light in our night environment. It is exacerbated by excessive, misdirected or obtrusive use of light and is a major side effect of urbanisation.

Components of light pollution include:

  • Glare: excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort

  • Skyglow: brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas

  • Light trespass: light falling where it is not intended or needed

  • Clutter: bright, confusing and excessive groupings of light sources

The increased and widespread use of artificial light at night is not only impairing our view of the universe, it is adversely affecting our environment, our safety, our energy consumption and our health.

A movement now exists to make New Zealand the first OECD dark sky nation. The Dark Sky Network NZ is supported by the Royal Astronomical Society’s Dark Sky Group and the International Dark-Sky Association. Learn more here:

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Why are dark skies important? 

Protection of the natural night sky is essential for:


  • Preservation of the ecological integrity of natural environments.

  • The full enjoyment of a wilderness experience.

  • Appreciating the integrity, character and beauty of rural landscapes.

  • Protection of the commemorative integrity (authenticity) of cultural sites.

  • Energy efficiency.Improvement of personal security through non-glare lighting in urban areas

  • Preservation of traditions that relate to celestial mythologies, navigation and other cultural aspects.

  • Protection of human health, both medical and psychological.

  • Science and amateur astronomy and the right to enjoy the night sky.

Losing the Dark

Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health.

To raise public awareness around light pollution, Loch Ness Productions, in collaboration with the International Dark-Sky Association, created a video called Losing the Dark. It introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution, and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it. 

Click here to watch the video on Youtube:

Click here to download the video:

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