The Pandemic and Light Pollution

I’m a 15-year-old scholar from Pennsylvania and for the final three years, I’ve been designing and conducting astronomy initiatives and competing in regional and state science competitions.

This year, I used astronomy to point out COVID-19’s impression on the surroundings. Contrary to the pandemic’s impression on people, the surroundings thrived as human exercise slowed — a silver lining in a state of affairs that has introduced a lot despair.

In 2019 I began photographing the night time sky from close to my home as a way to decide Moon brightness. I had already positioned first in a single competitors and had a promising season forward of me, however a week earlier than my second competitors, COVID-19 shut down the world. I competed on-line and was nonetheless capable of achieve a couple of awards and a university scholarship.

Throughout the pandemic, I by no means stopped my analysis. I continued my pastime of astrophotography, and I additionally continued photographing the star area round Polaris. As I analyzed the pictures, I noticed that extra and extra stars had change into seen as we went deeper into quarantine.

Counting stars during the pandemic
Kathryn Huth’s photos throughout (left) and after (proper) lockdown confirmed extra stars seen when human exercise was minimized and fewer stars after lockdown had lifted.

From March to June 2020, I took 22 photos of the star area round Polaris on nights when the climate was clear through the Red and Green phases of reopening Pennsylvania, then I counted and recorded the variety of stars in every picture. I in contrast this information to the photographs I took in 2019. Statistical exams confirmed that the best variety of stars had been seen within the Red section and as Pennsylvania reopened and human exercise elevated, the variety of stars seen within the pictures decreased and had been similar to 2019 ranges.

Light air pollution is commonly missed after we hear about environmental issues. We typically hear of water, air, and land air pollution. But society additionally must be cautious concerning the quantity of extra gentle we put out on this planet. Light air pollution could cause medical points in people, gradual or cease the expansion cycle of crops, lower copy charges in animals, and veil the gorgeous night time sky. I hope to deliver consciousness to this difficulty, which can solely proceed to worsen until extra individuals change into conscious of encroaching synthetic gentle.

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