Let there be dark, urges stargazer

Leading astronomer calls for less artificial light at the Lighting and Landscapes conference

A leading astronomer has called for less artificial lighting in landscapes in a conference that coincided with the latest images from the Hubble telescope. Bob Mizon told the recent Landscape Institute event he approved of good lighting schemes but railed against “profligate” illumination. The UK co-ordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Campaign for Darkness said: “Light from distant skies and galaxies takes hundreds, thousands, millions of years to reach our eyes. What a pity we destroy it in the last millisecond of that journey with too much illumination.” The prince of darkness added we were wasting “millions and millions and millions of pounds on light” and a 100w light bulb left on all year wasted a quarter of a tonne of CO2. Mizon spoke at the Lighting and Landscapes conference in the week the Hubble telescope peered deeper into space than ever before. The stars it captured were more than 76,254,048,000,000,000,000,000 miles from earth, their light generated more than 13 billion years ago. He also said anecdotal research revealed hardened criminals were not deterred by light. A 500w security bulb dazzled people with illumination and often concealed rather than revealed criminals. “Such lights can be antilights and the word security is ill chosen. Often they help as well as hinder the criminal classes.”

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