Positive side effects of the pandemic have included rebounding animal populations and decreased emissions. It turns out, the night sky also got a little darker during lockdowns. Just in time for International Dark Sky Week, The Countryside Charity (CPRE) released a report detailing how light pollution decreased an average of 10 percent in 2020.
CPRE relied on input from star-spotting volunteers for their research. 61 percent of volunteers in a 2019 star count said they could only see 10 or fewer stars above their heads, indicating severe light pollution, but in 2020, this number dropped off 51 percent.
Light pollution may seem harmless, but it severely impacts animal populations which use light clues to hunt, breed, and migrate. Light pollution upends the sleep schedules of nocturnal animals, disrupts the breeding cycles of sea turtles, and confuses migratory birds. Not to mention it affects human sleep cycles as well.
Hoping to continue this light-lowering trend, CPRE encourages everyone to turn off lights not in use, especially at night and invest in red, yellow, and amber-colored lights which create less severe light pollution.
For more information on reducing light pollution and celebrating the stars, check out our article on International Dark Sky Week, which is happening right now!