My good friend Luke Webster recently pointed me to an article in The New Yorker about the problem of light pollution. Its a well-written and enjoyable read that not only informs about the issue, but also manages to inspire a sense of loss and nostalgia over the disappearance of darkness.
Light pollution is a serious issue on many fronts, but suffers a fairly low profile. Intense night-time lighting obviously makes star-gazing and astronomy more difficult, but it also consumes large amounts of energy. The article even mentions links that have been made between the disruption of circadian rhythms caused by artificial light and breast cancer. Light pollution can be seriously detrimental for wildlife, especially birds and insects.
Interestingly, Canberra is one of the cities in Australia that tries hardest to minimise its light pollution. This is largely due to the proximity of the active Mount Stromlo Observatory. I am sure, however, that venturing further from Canberra would have given me a better experience of the recent lunar eclipse – even though it would have meant sacrificing the foreground object in my photo.