Planned project stokes fears over light pollution increase

Light pollution from Las Vegas has already spilled over Red Rock Canyon and nearby vistas that used to be dark, Las Vegas Astronomical Society Greg McKay said, and his group worries about the effects of the proposed 5,000-home Blue Diamond Hill development.

“When I first moved here (in 1991), that area wasn’t developed. Anywhere where there’s progress, there’s going to be more light pollution,” McKay said.

That progress isn’t just visible locally. An international team of scientists led by Dr. Christopher Kyba of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany, recently found that light pollution increased 2 percent each year over the past five years. Both light pollution and energy consumption via lighting are on the rise around the world, the study found.

John Barentine, program manager at the International Dark-Sky Association in Tucson, Arizona, said of the increase, “It’s a little bit higher than what we thought it was going to be. It’s not inconsistent with our expectations, in particular because they looked at every part of the world.”

Tucson’s laws limit light pollution there. The same can’t be said for Las Vegas, which is one of the brightest spots on Earth when seen from space.

Local impact

Andrew Kerr, planetarium manager at College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus, said that “Las Vegas has always been fairly bright, but with it spreading more and more to the east, it’s filling more and more of the valley. It’s definitely something that has increased over the last 20-30 years or so.”

Those who come to the planetarium to look at the night sky through a telescope can only see the brightest objects, such as the moon and some planets, because of the glare from the Las Vegas Strip.

“Unfortunately, the cool stuff tends to be toward the south, which is right toward the Strip, and so, when we stand out here, next to the telescopes, we see the beam from the Luxor heading up into the sky,” he said. “It’s just something that’s almost unmissable.”

On occasion, Kerr said, planetarium visitors have looked at the Hercules Cluster and Orion Nebula, a stellar nursery where the stars are being born.

“We can’t look at Uranus, Neptune. A lot of people want to see Pluto, but there’s just no way we’d ever be able to see Pluto from inside of town,” he said.

David Jeffery, assistant professor in residence at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNLV, said the light pollution over the university prevents students using telescopes from observing planetary nebulae, which expand gas clouds around dying stars and other galaxies.

“We observe in most directions — say, 30 degrees or more above the horizon,” Jeffery said. “However, the Strip being west of campus makes the western sky harder to observe. It’s comparable to perpetual sunset.”

Global concerns

Bill Wren, special assistant to the superintendent at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas, said many people have never seen a naturally dark sky or the Milky Way, the galaxy that includes Earth.

Nearly 80 percent of North America’s population lives in places where the Milky Way can’t be seen, according to the New World Atlas. About one-third of the world’s population is deprived of starry skies, according to the atlas.

“The stars are still there; it’s not like other environmental issues, like species going extinct or something like that,” Wren said. “It’s just that we continue to light our nighttime activities in a way that is wasteful and that shines a lot of light directly into the sky.”

Contact Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@viewnews.com or 702-383-0496. Follow @DariaSokolova77 on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters put out blaze along Bonanza Road
Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze that burned for about 15 minutes Feb. 20, 2018, along Bonanza Road, across from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Jeff Mosier/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cabana Market Shooting -- Persons of Interest
On February 3, 2018 at approximately 1:57 p.m., patrol officers were dispatched to a parking lot located in the 3900 block of East Owens Avenue to investigate a report that a man had been shot. Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like