Glass Stars and Empty Skies The Brightest Darkness

Light pollution is a purely anthropogenic caused problem that affects species of plants and animals all over the world. It is most commonly seen occurring in places such as urban and suburban settings but any amount of artificial light can get caught in the atmosphere and cause issues. There are many places that have instated dark sky reserves as a way to cut down on all artificial light use after certain hours, reducing the amount of pollution. However, cities and suburbs all need to take part in this or find another solution before we completely destroy the happenings of nocturnal creatures or wipe out night time in general. This also affects humans since we generally waste energy with large amounts of lights that do not have use or are on during daylight hours. I went out into the city of Syracuse which has both city and suburban sections as well as into a park to see just how much light there is. It also showed me how much light is missing in sky.

The site of Thornden Park in Syracuse, New York was used. This is how part of the park appears during the day. At this point, a few lights are turned on. This photo was taken was taken at 5:35 p.m. During the daylight hours, lights are unnecessary and do not get reset for daylight savings.
Taken at 5:28 p.m. on the same day as the previous photo, Lights that illuminate the entrance to the park are turned on and can be seen in several places throughout the park. Streetlights are not yet turned on. This is the beginning of artificial light infiltrating this park.
The last photo taken during daylight. Residential areas lights are already turning on automatically beginning to cause even more light pollution. At this point, many lights in the city are also beginning to turn on.
Taken from the same hill as in the first photo but from a different angle. This is park after all of the lights are on. This photo was taken at 10:15 p.m. You can see that many parts of the area are completely illuminated. Large spotlights illuminate the pool area and light reflects off of the surfaces causing light clustering to occur.
The street paths. Very small portions of these areas are left In darkness. Light leaks into the nearby clusters of trees. Very few animals were visible throughout the entire session, but deer can occasionally be seen grazing closer to the light. Daylight is mimicked causing organisms to treat these areas as though they are small clusters of artificial day.
This photo was taken deeper into the park, just on the verge of residential and suburban areas. This area is still frequented by traffic causing illumination of the nearby area. The street is completely illuminated by streetlights as well.
At the exit of the park. The city skyline is showing in the background. You can see the sky is tinged a brighter colour above the city. This is known as skyglow and is almost unnoticeable to human eyes and is easily ignored. There is so much artificial light in the sky that even the night sky is stained with the light. Because of this light being trapped in the atmosphere, the sky is generally brighter at night affecting organisms within miles of the city.
We are exiting the park at this point. This is taken at one of the exits and leads straight into the city. These areas have quite a bit of traffic as well as light that completely illuminates the area. Almost no darkness is available at all. This is and area that is almost always devoid of of animals, but, being that this is a city street, it would be dangerous if animals were roaming these streets. The biggest issue is the just how much area this light is going to affect. Cities have the ability to affects places that are miles and miles away, but the multitude of parks in throughout the city are all being polluted due to major city blocks.
Moving closer to a commercial center of the city. This area shows large amounts of traffic at most times of day.
A picture taken of a very popular street for students and families to visit. There are many shops and lights illuminating every single part of the street and the sidewalks. There is only one way traffic, so there is not a consistently large amount of cars using this street for travel, but there are still cars on it almost constantly.
Out of the cities commercial area and back into the more suburban areas. You can see the LED streetlights (which are a great step towards energy conservation). You can see that they have a good amount of darkness behind houses and I have noticed that you can occasionally find deer in people's yards but they generally avoid the light.
Looking down a backstreet. Streets are fully illuminated still and you generally won't see any animals walking along these paths. These lights also turn on later than those in the park and tend to also turn off sooner.
You probably are asking what this is. Maybe you know. It's the sky. If you look hard enough, you can see a star, or two, maybe three. This is a very easy way to see the presence of light pollution. It is true, the camera may have had a hard time picking up on what was in the sky, but there is very rarely more than a handful of stars in the sky at any moment. Maybe we will the give the sky its stars back... one day.