Light pollution from Whitehorse as seen from Fish Lake Road, January 2017. Photo: Vikki Zsohar

80% of North Americans will never see the Milky Way.

Falchi et al., 2016

Yukon Astronomical Society's Light Pollution Abatement Project

Light pollution affects the natural environment, wildlife and human health.  Light pollution deprives Yukoners and our guest of a basic human right: the inspiration of our northern skies.

The Light Pollution Abatement Project works to raise awareness of Light Pollution and provide constructive solutions to both meeting our communities’ need for responsible light at night while at the same time reducing the impact from light pollution. Advocating for a reduction in light pollution does not mean we are advocating for removing all outdoor lights! In today’s world we need lighting at night for a variety of things. We want to minimize the light that is unnecessary, wasted, and/or detrimental.

Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but did you know that light can also be a pollutant?

The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light at night – known as Light Pollution has serious consequences for humans, wildlife, and our society.  Visit the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for more fulsome introduction to Light Pollution.

Our aurora and star filled long winter nights are just as important as our midnight sun.  Light Pollution affects:

  • Human Health
  • Environment
  • Tourism
  • Universal Human Rights

In-spite of the remote and small nature of Yukon communities, our night skies have been degraded similar to large cities across North America:

In most Yukon communities, the Milky Way, our home galaxy, is not visible in the night sky.  From Whitehorse the light pollution extends more than 50 km away:  almost to Carcross and halfway down Marsh Lake and Lake Laberge.  For more, see the The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness.

  1. Write your local Mayor & Council, Chief & Council and Member of Legislatively Assembly. Ask them to take action to reduce light pollution. Elected officials need to know they have widespread public support to give them the courage to act. We ALL need to write our elected officials.
  2. Make change at home: change your outdoor lighting to low-impact lighting. This can start today by changing your outdoor lighting to low-lumen, warm-white or better yet amber, bulbs.  For more details, the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition has some good information
  3. Make change at work: Talk to your property manager to make change at your workplace. Keep asking as change will be slow. Talk to and educate your co-works about light pollution.

For more ideas on how to get involved, visit the International Dark Sky Association.

Light Pollution is reversible!

Demonstrating success is this image from Flagstaff AZ and Cheyenne, WY (top and bottom respectively). Both are similar sized US cities, but decades of light pollution abatement work and light-pollution bylaws has resulted in nearly 14-times less sky glow from Flagstaff.

With hard work and concerted effort by the entire community, we can reclaim our night-sky heritage.


Source: Arizona Daily Sun. January 10, 2017

Two images created from nighttime observations taken in July and August show light pollution from Flagstaff (top) and Cheyenne, Wyo. The colors represent brightness of the sky, with white, red and yellow indicating brighter light.

Archive of Yukon Astronomical Society’s light pollution related outreach.


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