Light Pollution : An Earthquake Shook Los Angeles

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Joel Barnett Claudia Moura Pols 1 Dec 1, 2014 Light Pollution In 1994, an earthquake shook Los Angeles, knocking out its power and leaving its inhabitants stranded in darkness. In the hours that followed the blackout, many anxious residents called local emergency centers to report seeing a strange “giant, silvery cloud” in the dark sky. According to Terence Dickinson in his book Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, some people even believed a “sudden brightening of the stars. . . had caused the quake.” It turns out that what the majority of Los Angeles was seeing for the first time was actually the Milky Way. In little over 100 years since Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb first illuminated a New York street, an…show more content…
Nocturnal animals or animals that breed nocturnally are also adversely affected by manmade light. When young sea turtles hatch, they generally emerge from their sandy beach-shore nests at night, which increases their odds of avoiding detection by predators. As soon as they are out of their nest, they find the brightest horizon, and rush towards it. A CBS news article points out, “That should be moonlight over the ocean. Instead, many end up racing in the opposite direction, towards the headlights of cars and illuminated porches of beachfront homes.” Unfortunately, these misguided turtles are quickly killed by shore birds or dehydration. For a species that has a one in 1000 chance of reaching adulthood, light pollution is playing a major role in eliminating their existence. Even if sea turtle survival or stargazing isn’t high on our priority list, light pollution should still concern us. As humans, we are dependent on visual cues, so illumination of our nightscapes seems comfortable and necessary. However, unnatural nighttime lighting affects our circadian rhythm, or 24 hour day/night pattern. According to a 2009 Environmental Health Perspective article on the dangers of light pollution, “Disruption of the circadian clock is linked to several medical disorders in humans, including depression, insomnia, cardiovascular
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