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
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like