Light Pollution

(Last edited: Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 5:17 PM)
Source: Law, L. (2015, February 25). Night sky with light pollution from Coachella Valley. flickr.

Source: Law, L. (2015, February 25). Night sky with light pollution from Coachella Valley. flickr.

Short Definition:

Light pollution is the effect of excessive or poor use of artificial outdoor light sources. There are several negative impacts from it: it disrupts both the human sleep and natural patterns of wildlife, it is a factor in the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and obscures the celestial bodies in the night sky.

Detailed Definition:

Light pollution, also referred to as luminous pollution, is the negative consequence of excess of artificial light and its misuse. There are several major repercussions to the increasing amounts of light in the night sky, such as sky glow, disruption of natural body rhythms in both human and animals, and the obscured ability of celestial object observation. The sky glow is the over presence of artificial light in densely populated areas after sunset, which results in disruptions of melatonin hormone in humans, causing sleep deprivation, fatigue, headaches, stress, and anxiety. Studies indicate a connection between the low melatonin levels and cancer. Light pollution also impacts the behaviour of animals, such as migration patterns, wake-sleep habits and habitat formation. Sky glow impairs the research of the night sky, obscuring stars and other celestial bodies.


"light" - Old English leht, West Saxon leoht, German Licht - brightness, radiant energy, that which makes things visible

"pollution" - Late Latin pollutionem, Latin polluere - defilement, to soil, defile, contaminate

Sample Sentence(s):

"Light pollution disrupts astronomers in their study of space."

"It is increasingly difficult to appreciate the beauty of the evening sky, as the light pollution obscures the visibility of stars."

Translations of Terms/Concepts into Partner Languages

French: Pollution lumineuse

German: Lichtverschmutzung

Polish: Zanieczyszczenie światłem

Swedish: Ljusförorening

Links to Videos/Articles:

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