Sky's Up Global Astronomy Magazine Volume IV (December 2021) | Page 3

from the editor

from the editor

The future of sky watching

“ I leave the house at night and light the sky with a pocket torch . Send thousands of white photons into space . What will become of them ?”
— Hubert Reeves

The excitement is always present when our team gathers to conduct sky observations . Each day we must look for places farther away from the cities to be able to locate faint stars in the firmament . It is the effect of increasing light pollution in cities . Increasingly brighter , the background of the sky limits the possible observations to by Marcelo de Oliveira Souza

the brightest stars . In large cities it is no longer possible to admire the Milky Way . Excessive and misdirected external light , which causes the glare that is seen in the sky above the cities , is responsible for this fact . Poorly designed luminaires cast a large amount of light upwards . In addition to the waste , this light illuminates the atmosphere , making it impossible to see the sky well . The reflection of this light on water vapor , suspended particles , and other elements that we are currently forced to breathe is the reason for this global glow in the sky of cities . Unlike other polluting sources , in this case there are simple and efficient solutions to minimize the effects of light pollution . As a good start to mitigate the effects of light pollution that care should be taken to use , on public roads , luminaires that only cast light to the ground , at most up to the base of the next pole . Placing a cover on the lamps to direct the light towards the ground is a low-cost solution . It is also important that the lights are not more intense than necessary , that they are used to illuminate what really needs lighting and that there is an effort to reduce the emission of blue lights . In this way , energy savings are achieved with better visibility and with a smaller contribution to environmental pollution . There are unpolluted cities in the world . Tucson , a city
in the United States with a population of approximately 550,000 people , is a good example . Due to a planned lighting program , Tucson has the darkest night skies of any city its size in the country . In Brazil we have two sensational examples of mitigation of the effects of light pollution . One is the Desengano ’ s State Park , located in the State of Rio de Janeiro and the other is the change in the lighting system on the shore of Grussaí beach , located in the city of São João da Barra , also located in the State of Rio de Janeiro . Desengano ’ s State Park is committed to preserving the sky for future generations . The shore of Grussaí beach had its lighting modified to preserve the sea turtles and their hatchlings from the influence of artificial light that made them head towards the road instead of towards the ocean . As Doug Pitcairn , an astronomy writer from Nova Scotia , Canada , put it : “ It amazes me how someone who wouldn ’ t even think of leaving a plastic bottle on the floor of a picnic spot , pay extra money each month to light up half of the room . neighborhood with unnecessary and disturbing light ”. The International Dark Sky Association ( IDA ) does a fantastic work . IDA is the recognized authority on light pollution and is the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide . IDA found in 2001 the International Dark Sky Places Program . It is a conservation program to encourage communities , parks , and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education . As a result of this program there are over 180 certified International Dark Sky Places in the world !!! The preservation of the environment , for the new generations , is our duty . We cannot deprive children of the right to be able to marvel at the beauties of our heavens . I this edition of Sky ’ s Up we have wonderful articles . I invite you to take , while reading the magazine , a pleasant journey through the wonders of our Universe and to know the efforts of several people around the world to preserve the sky for future generations . Clear skies for everyone .
n n n Marcelo de Oliveira Souza is a physicist with a Master of Science in Physics ( General Relativity ) at the Universidade Federal Fluminense and a Doctor of Science in Physics ( Cosmology ) at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro . Since 2004 , he has been a professor at the Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense and since 2006 he has been the Louis Cruls Astronomy Club General Coordinator . In Brazil , he is the Astronomers Without Borders National Coordinator , the UNAWE program national Coordinator and the Mission X - Lead . He is the author of “ Um Passeio pelo Céu ,” and , from 2005 until 2013 , he presented and wrote the script of the weekly TV program “ Um Passeio pelo Céu ” about astronomy and astronautics .