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Preserve Our Night Sky

starry night
Please preserve our night sky. One of the greatest advantages we have living in a place like Vista Redonda is a spectacular view of the night sky but only if we are careful enough to preserve it. We all need artificial light to live comfortably and safely at night. The trick is, how much light is enough to meet our needs and what are the best ways to manage it? Whenever we use too much light or don't direct or shield it properly, we create light pollution and that can have lots of negative effects such as sky-glow, glare, light trespass, disrupted ecosystems and energy waste.

Sky-glow is the brightened sky that results from too much artificial light at night. It obscures the night sky, making it harder to see the stars and planets. In Vista Redonda, if you look south toward the city lights of Santa Fe you can easily see the effects of skyg-low. Looking in that direction we see fewer and fewer stars as our line of sight moves closer to the horizon.

Across the country, because sky-glow is now so prevalent, two out of three Americans can no longer see the Milky Way. Glare is an even greater concern in Vista Redonda. Glare is caused by misdirected, unshielded or excessive light. It can have a blinding effect. Sometimes it can be so great that it partially obscures our view of the stars. And even when stars are visible, glare can be distracting and spoil the aesthetic experience of viewing the night sky.

Light trespass occurs when light from one property spills into and illuminates a neighbor's yard or house interior. Imagine a bright spotlight that lights your neighbor's driveway, but is so strong that it shines into your bedroom, making it hard to sleep. That's light trespass.

Disrupted eco-systems can occur in extreme circumstances when significant excesses of light disrupt plant and animal life. Energy waste from light pollution carries a staggering economic cost. Unneeded or excessive light is estimated to cost Americans more than $2 billion annually. And producing all that unneeded electricity contributes to air pollution and acid rain.