Delhi lights dimming stars, planetorium to see how much

July 8th, 2008 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Did you ever realise that the shafts of light emanating from your house could actually be impacting the night-sky visibility? If that sounds far-fetched, the Nehru Planetarium here has decided to study just that phenomenon and quantify light pollution in Delhi. A satellite map made available by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) clearly shows how much ‘night sky pollution’ the dazzling lights are causing across India.

“The data shows that light pollution in Delhi and other metros is no less than in any North American or European country,” said Nehru Planetarium director N. Rathnashree.

The light penetration of the sky could impact night visibility to such an extent that we may not be able to see many stars in the sky in the future.

Concerned by this, Nehru Planetarium decided to find out the extent of light pollution in Delhi, and rope in common people, amateur astronomers and school students for help.

“All one has to do is to count the number of stars visible through any cylindrical object and submit it on the Nehru Planetarium website,” Rathnashree said.

To help people identify stars, the planetarium is holding workshops on weekends. Once the data is collected, the issue would be taken up with civic authorities.

“We will also be studying lighting systems that are leading to this situation and suggest the changes that are required to check it,” she said.

After compiling their observation, the planetarium plans to submit a detailed report on the subject to the ministry of science and technology.

“Light pollution could also be quite harmful to nocturnal life forms and pose health hazards to humans as well. We all need to think about this and take some corrective actions,” Rathnashree said.

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