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“Free the Milky Way”

What is Light Pollution?

The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light — known as light pollution — can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Light pollution wastes energy and money. Energy use and its impact on our environment has become one of the top concerns facing humanity. The most common contributors to light pollution are streetlights, gas station islands, commercial parking lots, and government lighting (LSU, SU, EBRP School System, BREC, and BRCC).

What is energy waste?

Poorly designed outdoor lighting wastes energy by not being shielded and emitting more light than necessary, or by shining when and where it's not needed. Lights left on while we are sleeping — such as those in office buildings — wastes energy and contributes to the general sky-glow of the city. As much as 50% of outdoor lighting is wasted.

What is Sky-glow?

Sky-glow is the artificial brightness of the night sky that is caused by light pollution. Lights that are overly bright, unshielded, or left on overnight, gets scattered by dust and gas molecules in the atmosphere, producing a bright sky.

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The Baton Rouge Astronomical Society (BRAS) has a Light Pollution Committee (LPC) that is actively fighting light pollution, and has given presentations to various government organizations, civic groups, libraries, Highland Road Park Observatory (HRPO) events, and at BRAS outreach events. BRAS and HRPO participate in the GLOBE at NIGHT citizen science project that tracks light pollution around the world. See the Light Pollution Forum on the BRAS web site -, for more information on how BRAS is fighting light pollution.

The BRAS LPC meetings, open to the public, are held at 6:15 PM on the Wednesday before the second Monday of the month at the Highland Road Park Observatory. The BRAS contact for Light Pollution is John Nagle, at

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Updated on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 02:20 PM.