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Synonyms for Light Pollution

Updated: Jun 26


IMAGE: Necklaces and earrings created from maps of towns

– stray light –


Seen from the air, the city lights look like gemstones, human constellations sparkling in their glow, stopping us seeing the night sky as our ancestors did; banishing away those night fears.


excessive brightness – What we have lost (what we have gained) in our search always to make life easier? Eighty percent of North America has never seen the Milky Way.


The 1994 earthquake in LA cut the power calls to 911 reported a mysterious cloud; an alien invasion; a forest fire; enemy attack? Neon hum had stolen the nightsky; the Northridge Blind Thrust Fault gave it back.


– light trespass – Generations of star-studded stories about how the constellations got their names: The Book of Fixed Stars; Three Stars Each; The Spindle of Necessity, which was spun by the Fates; or when Aphrodite and Eros fled the father of monsters, Typhon, by changing into fish; or, Hercules’ Nemean lion, constant in the dark night sky.


– sky glow – Streetlights emit waves of blue bouncing around the atmosphere, keeping us restless, sleepless, in Seattle, in Scunthorpe.


How can we ever rest when we depend so much on the dark to do it and there is no dark?


– glare –


For millennia, the rhythmic shifting twixt day and night ruled our physiology: cues to help us sleep, then wake, sleep, then wake, sleep, then wake, sleep, then wake, sleep, then wake.

Photons strike our retinas, trigger signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in our brain’s pineal gland, produces the sleep hormone.


Melatonin normally begins to rise at sundown and peaks at midnight, cascading reactions regulating sleep-wake cycles, lowering body temperature, s l o w i n g metabolism, and reducing appetite.

– light clutter –


Toronto’s night lights are lethal to birds. Blinded by the glare and lured by artificial sun, disoriented birds fly at the gleaming windows, smashing into buildings:


sparrows, ovenbirds, juncos, warblers, kinglets, creepers, tumble hundreds of feet to the

pavement below.

– over illumination – Sea turtle hatchlings use moonlight reflecting off wave tops to get to the sea; bright artificial beams from condos and hotels disorient them.

In 2019’s summer hatching, on Marco Island, Fl. one hatchling was found crawling along a side road, heading to the Surf Club. Another hatchling was going up the boardwalk of the Hilton.

If somebody has their lights on – the hatchlings will head right for it say sea turtle experts.


satellite flare


Girls and boys come out to play The moon doth shine as bright as day Leave your supper, and leave your sleep, And come with your playfellows into the street. 1944: limitations in technology mean that bomb crews have a difficult time finding their targets, only the cities, blackout or no, could be attacked with any probability of success. But Blackpool was off the table, they could have left the lights on, earmarked as a rumoured hotspot for weary German victory R and R.

Seen from the air, the city lights look like gemstones, human constellations sparkling in their glow:

it was the season of Light.



Written by SAM HALL


Inspired by Artwork 'Bomber's Moon' by BARRIE WEST

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