Although outdoor lighting serves various crucial purposes for our homes, such as safety and security, exterior lighting can sometimes extend beyond its intended boundaries which results in light pollution. Light pollution contributes greatly to the destruction of our natural environment, adversely affecting several species of animals, such as nocturnal migratory birds which depend on the light from the moon and stars for navigation, sea turtle hatchlings which are fatally disoriented by the city lights so they crawl inland rather than out into the ocean, and tree frogs, whose excessive exposure to night light has altered their hormone production thereby causing variations in their natural biological rhythms.
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According to research, only one in three Americans is able to see the Milky Way at night from where they live. This problem was recognized by a group of astronomers and biologists who started a campaign to take back the night so that the nocturnal sky glow from urban areas will no longer become a hindrance to seeing the beauty of the stars for both astronomers and ordinary sky observers. The Dark Sky Movement was created to protect and preserve the nighttime environment, as well as our heritage of dark skies. Consequently, Dark Sky compliant light fixtures are produced to help reduce the effects of light pollution. With the help of these fixtures, the luminous glow that haloes cities and brightly lit suburbs at night may be controlled.
What are Dark Sky Compliant Light Fixtures?
Dark sky compliant lights are outdoor lighting fixtures that utilize shielding to help minimize light pollution. Dark Sky units are usually in the form of a typical lamp, such as a spiral CFL. These are contained within a special housing that prevents light from being emitted in other directions except the intended one. Generally, light is kept by the special housing from shining upwards. There are also some units which are designed to prevent side lighting as well.
Where are Dark Sky Light Fixtures Used?
Dark Sky light fixtures are used in areas where the reduction of light pollution is a primary concern. These lights are generally designed to keep light from spreading upward. They are also used in certain applications where light that shines horizontally or outward needs to be controlled as well so it does not affect the migration patterns of birds and turtles, for instance.
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Features of Dark Sky Compliant Lighting Fixtures:
- They produce downward projected, “full cut off” illumination.
- They shield the light, preventing it from being emitted upward into the sky.
- They direct light in a low spread manner so it does not to affect the surrounding areas.