Authorities have also taken a variety of measures for dealing with light pollution, depending on the interests, beliefs and understandings of the society involved. Lumina Technologies, Santa Rosa, California. Turning lights off using a timer or occupancy sensor or manually when not needed. Learn more about the effects of excess light. Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center have developed a comprehensive method called Outdoor Site-Lighting Performance (OSP), which allows users to quantify, and thus optimize, the performance of existing and planned lighting designs and applications to minimize excessive or obtrusive light leaving the boundaries of a property. The Italian Lombardy region, where only full cutoff design is allowed (Lombardy act no. Light pollution is also known as Photo pollution or luminous pollution. If you want a more detailed analysis of radiance (VIIRS/DMSP) changes over a period of time, then please use the Lighttrends application. Where objective measurement is desired, light levels can be quantified by field measurement or mathematical modeling, with results typically displayed as an isophote map or light contour map. [93] Unfortunately, these light pollution reduction (LPR) filters are not a cure for light pollution. The following picture of the area around the Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 101) with the apparent magnitude of 7.5m with all stars down to an apparent magnitude of 10m was taken in Berlin in direction close to the zenith with a fast lens (f-number 1.2) and an exposure time of five seconds at an exposure index of ISO 12800: Original shot: lower edge Alkaid, right of center the double star Mizar with Alcor and right edge Alioth; the Pinwheel Galaxy is a small diffuse dot in the center of the image. Updates? [115] There was a need to create a new system of light measurement at night because the biological way in which the eye's rods and cones process light is different in nighttime conditions versus daytime conditions. Lower in the atmosphere all the solar photons with energies above the ionization potential of N2 and O2 have already been absorbed by the higher layers and thus no appreciable ionization occurs. Glare from road lamps, commercial security lights and signs, or even from a neighbour’s bright and misdirected yard lighting can cause discomfort and distraction and adversely affect the quality of life of many people. [111] The report details a plan to be implemented throughout the UK, for designing lighting schemes in the countryside, with a particular focus on preserving the environment. There, more than three decades of ordinance development has taken place, with the full support of the population,[107] often with government support,[108] with community advocates,[109] and with the help of major local observatories,[110] including the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station. So, let’s look at what is light pollution, what are the consequences, and what we can do about it. [citation needed]. While light at night can be beneficial, neutral, or damaging for individual species, its presence invariably disturbs ecosystems. Rather, they find the ocean by moving away from the dark silhouette of dunes and their vegetation, a behavior with which artificial lights interfere. Unnatural polarized light sources can trigger maladaptive behaviors in polarization-sensitive taxa and alter ecological interactions.[76]. [80] The breeding activity and reproductive phenology of toads, however, are cued by moonlight. Glare can be categorized into different types. Save water from dehydration in hot day flying and part of the bird’s navigation system works with stars in some way. Some species of frogs and salamanders utilize a light-dependent "compass" to orient their migratory behaviour to breeding sites. Its sources include building exterior and interior lighting, advertising, outdoor area lighting (such as car parks), offices, factories, streetlights, and illuminated sporting venues. As a major side-effect of urbanization, it is blamed for compromising health, disrupting ecosystems and spoiling aesthetic environments. The term, light pollution is the sum of modern artificial lighting that illuminates our streets, public spaces, homes, and “pollutes” the otherwise pristine darkness. They are: 1. Light pollution is a problem not only for astronomers and people who simply want to enjoy the beauty of a starry night. By updating light sources appropriately, it is often possible to reduce energy use and pollutive effects while simultaneously improving efficiency and visibility. When skyglow levels are more than 10 percent above the natural background levels, significant sky degradation has begun. [50] For those who need to be awake at night, light at night also has an acute effect on alertness and mood. Professor of Engineering, Union County College, Cranford, New Jersey. This can then negatively impact, people, animals, and the environment. [75], A 2009 study[76] also suggests deleterious impacts on animals and ecosystems because of perturbation of polarized light or artificial polarization of light (even during the day, because direction of natural polarization of sun light and its reflection is a source of information for a lot of animals). [51], In 2007, "shift work that involves circadian disruption" was listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer. The more light a bird’s eye is capable of taking in, the more that species moved its breeding time earlier in the year in response to light pollution, and the more that species benefited from light pollution with improved nest success. For example, indirect lighting is often used to obtain a "softer" look, since hard direct lighting is generally found less desirable for certain surfaces, such as skin. Seoul, which had the highest levels of light pollution, had 34.4% more cases of breast cancer than Ganwon-do, which had the lowest levels of light pollution. (IARC Press release No. Excessive groupings of light that are bright and confusing, commonly found in over-lit cities and inhabited areas. arc second depending on local atmospheric transparency, 40 times brighter than the darkest sky. Similar programs are now in place in Arizona and Hawaii. It’s caused by the abundance of light sources emitting light outside of an intended direction. The use of full cutoff fixtures can allow for lower wattage lamps to be used in the fixtures, producing the same or sometimes a better effect, due to being more carefully controlled. This is a simple example of the way in which species frequencies and food webs can be disturbed by the introduction of light at night. The natural atmosphere is not completely dark, even in the absence of terrestrial sources of light and illumination from the Moon. )[17] Thus lighting energy accounts for about four or five million barrels of oil (equivalent) per day. Light pollution: Any adverse effect of artificial light including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste. Light pollution is the presence of artificial light in otherwise dark conditions. The Unified System of Photometry allows light fixtures to be designed to reduce energy use while maintaining or improving perceptions of visibility, safety, and security. It is exacerbated by excessive, misdirected or obtrusive use of light, but even carefully used light fundamentally alters natural conditions. This wasted light is scattered and reflected by solid or liquid particles in the atmosphere and then returned to the eyes of people on the ground, obliterating their view of the night sky. Light pollution is excessive, misdirected or inappropriate outdoor lighting. Light pollution is not only a hinderance to astronomy, but it also impacts us directly. American cities emit three to five times more light to space per capita compared to German cities.[20]. Thus, SAFE currently recommends an SEC of two to three watts per meter for roads less than ten metres wide (four to six for wider roads). The only places in continental Europe where the sky can attain its natural darkness are in northern Scandinavia and in islands far from the continent. Glare light scattering in the eye causes loss of contrast and leads to unsafe driving conditions, much like the glare on a dirty windshield from low-angle sunlight or the high beams from an oncoming car. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Because of the increased sensitivity of the human eye to blue and green wavelengths when viewing low-luminances (the Purkinje effect) in the night sky, different sources produce dramatically different amounts of visible skyglow from the same amount of light sent into the atmosphere. Therefore, the overall performance of existing systems could be improved more by reducing the number of luminaires than by switching to full cutoff designs. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. A newer method for predicting and measuring various aspects of light pollution was described in the journal Lighting Research & Technology (September 2008). Moreover, because light (transmitted as electromagnetic waves) is typically generated by electricity, which itself is usually generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, it can be said that there is a connection between light … increased ability for predator species to observe prey) to immediately fatal (e.g. Again energy audit data demonstrates that about 30–60% of energy consumed in lighting is unneeded or gratuitous. Utilizing light sources of minimum intensity necessary to accomplish the light's purpose. However, using the definition of "light pollution" from some Italian regional bills (i.e., "every irradiance of artificial light outside competence areas and particularly upward the sky") only full cutoff design prevents light pollution. LPR filters work by blocking light of certain wavelengths, which alters the color of the object, often creating a pronounced green cast. Many astronomers request that nearby communities use low pressure sodium lights or amber Aluminium gallium indium phosphide LED as much as possible, because the principal wavelength emitted is comparably easy to work around or in rare cases filter out. By means of software the stray light can be reduced, but at the same time object detail is getting lost in the images. There are four major types of light pollution that exist which are: Glare, sky glow, light trespass, and over lighting. [63], In June 2009, the American Medical Association developed a policy in support of control of light pollution. When artificial light affects organisms and ecosystems it is called ecological light pollution. With future increase in numbers of satellite constellations, like OneWeb and Starlink, it is feared especially by the astronomical community, such as the IAU that light pollution will increase significantly, beside other problems of satellite overcrowding. It is a common misconception that hatchling sea turtles are attracted to the moon. What is light pollution? Unfortunately, due to continued lack of accurate information,[106] many lighting professionals continue to disparage low-pressure sodium, contributing to its decreased acceptance and specification in lighting standards and therefore its use. Light pollution is a major concern for observatories as lights from urban areas compete with lights from stars and planets, reducing visibility of the objects that observatories study. Light pollution adversely affects professional and amateur astronomers, as well as casual observers of the night sky, because it severely reduces the visibility of stars and other celestial objects. Awareness of the deleterious effects of light pollution began early in the 20th century,[8] but efforts to address effects did not begin until the 1950s. The possible ecological effects of light pollution. Light trespass also makes it hard for a visual observer to become sufficiently adapted to the dark. This direct form of light pollution causes a glow across the field of view, which reduces contrast. The use of full cutoff fixtures help to reduce sky glow by preventing light from escaping above the horizontal. Some governments and organizations are now considering, or have already implemented, full cutoff fixtures in street lamps and stadium lighting. Estimates by the U.S. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. A number of cities in the U.S. have developed standards for outdoor lighting to protect the rights of their citizens against light trespass. Energy conservation advocates contend that light pollution must be addressed by changing the habits of society, so that lighting is used more efficiently, with less waste and less creation of unwanted or unneeded illumination. Several different types of light sources exist, each having a variety of properties that determine their appropriateness for different tasks. [112] The motivation is primarily operation cost and environmental conservation. The experiment proved a great success since the number of birds circling the platform declined by 50 to 90%. [39] The International Dark-Sky Association works to designate areas that have high quality night skies. Specifically within the United States, over-illumination is responsible for approximately two million barrels of oil per day in energy wasted. Light pollution is a growing problem that affects any location with a significant amount of artificial lighting. What light pollution? Light pollution is the presence of anthropogenic and artificial light in the night environment. This is one factor that has caused newer telescopes to be built in increasingly remote areas. "The impact of light source spectral power distribution on sky glow", "Evaluating Potential Spectral Impacts of Various Artificial Lights on Melatonin Suppression, Photosynthesis, and Star Visibility", Coconino County Lighting and General Codes, Arizona IDA presentation on Lighting issues (PowerPoint), The City of Calgary: Envirosmart Streetlight Retrofit Program, Lighting Research Center Develops Framework for Assessing Light Pollution, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center, Sydney Outdoor Lighting Improvement Society, Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting, Indexed list of peer reviewed light pollution research papers, "Lighting and Astronomy: Light Pollution", "The Disappearance of Darkness" History of Light Pollution, Technical slide show "Lamp Spectrum and Light Pollution: The Other Side of Light Pollution", European Light pollution—technical articles, U.S. National Parks technical article "Modeling Light Pollution from Population Data", The Challenge article "Is Light Pollution Killing Our Birds", "Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting", Light pollution and the protection of the night environment, Cégep de Sherbrooke Light pollution research activities, Examples of the good, bad and ugly lighting. Other Issues In Light Pollution Another problem with night lighting is the issue of "color temperature." Like noise pollution, light pollution is a form of waste energy that can cause adverse effects and degrade environmental quality. For applications requiring more precise direction of light (such as narrow roadways) the native lamp efficacy advantage of this lamp type is decreased and may be entirely lost compared to high pressure sodium lamps. Skyglow is … In disrupting ecosystems, light pollution poses a serious threat in particular to nocturnal wildlife, having negative impacts on plant and animal physiology. Maps that show the enhanced sky brightness have been prepared for the entire world.[38]. Astronomy is very sensitive to light pollution. [92] Skyglow (the scattering of light in the atmosphere at night) reduces the contrast between stars and galaxies and the sky itself, making it much harder to see fainter objects. It was also found that there was no correlation between other types of cancer such as cervical or lung cancer and ALAN levels. [citation needed] Measures range from doing nothing at all, to implementing strict laws and regulations about how lights may be installed and used. [66] Light pollution may also affect ecosystems in other ways. Specific categories of light pollution include light trespass, over-Illumination, Glare, Light Clutter, and Skyglow. Outdoor Lighting: Visual Efficacy—Recommendations on how to design energy-efficient outdoor lighting while reducing light pollution. Light pollution over Las Vegas, Nev., as seen from Dante's View in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S. Disputes are still common when deciding appropriate action; and differences in opinion over what light is considered reasonable, and who should be responsible, mean that negotiation must sometimes take place between parties. [60], A more recent discussion (2009), written by Professor Steven Lockley, Harvard Medical School, can be found in the CfDS handbook "Blinded by the Light?". Groupings of lights may generate confusion, distract from obstacles (including those that they may be intended to illuminate), and potentially cause accidents. It is a contamination that leaves no physical residue but, lengthened over time, leads to problems such as insomnia, fatigue, anxiety or inability to concentrate among many others. Over-illumination can be a design choice, not a fault. Depending on the motives of the person or organization that installed the lights, their placement and design can even be intended to distract drivers, and can contribute to accidents. (These definitions also include limits on light emitted above 90° to reduce sky glow. [43], In June 2016, it was estimated that one third of the world's population could no longer see the Milky Way, including 80% of Americans and 60% of Europeans. "Daylight lighting" demanded by citizens to reduce crime or by shop owners to attract customers; Substitution of old lamps with more efficient. Reducing light pollution implies many things, such as reducing sky glow, reducing glare, reducing light trespass, and reducing clutter. ", "Welkom op de site van de Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV", "Artificial night lighting and sea turtles", "Factors affecting mortality of shearwaters stranded by light pollution", "Fatal Attraction of Short-Tailed Shearwaters to Artificial Lights", "Artificial light at night decreases metamorphic duration and juvenile growth in a widespread amphibian", 10.3375/0885-8608(2007)27[281:ecoanl]2.0.co;2, "Road crossing structures for amphibians and reptiles: Informing design through behavioral analysis", "Use of light pollution filters in astronomy", "Nighttime photochemistry: Nitrate radical destruction by anthropogenic light sources", "Lunar skylight polarization signal polluted by urban lighting". [18], An alternative calculation starts with the fact that commercial building lighting consumes in excess of 81.68 terawatts (1999 data) of electricity,[19] according to the DOE. 50 percent of stray light removed: the darker half of the stray light was set to zero luminance. Light pollution affects the visibility of diffuse sky objects like nebulae and galaxies more than stars, due to their low surface brightness. [15] The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has also incorporated a credit for reducing the amount of light trespass and sky glow into their environmentally friendly building standard known as LEED. It is often the case that inappropriate light sources have been selected for a task, either due to ignorance or because more appropriate lighting technology was unavailable at the time of installation. In every lighting system, some sky glow also results from light reflected from the ground. Ecosystem Disruptions in General. The costs of installation are expected to be regained through energy savings within six to seven years. In 1980, for example, San Jose, California, replaced all street lamps with low pressure sodium lamps, whose light is easier for nearby Lick Observatory to filter out. With city light outshining the night sky, birds (and also about mammals) no longer navigate by stars. The National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division has measured night sky quality in national park units across the U.S. Sky quality in the U.S. ranges from pristine (Capitol Reef National Park and Big Bend National Park) to severely degraded (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Biscayne National Park). One such classification is described in a book by Bob Mizon, coordinator for the British Astronomical Association's Campaign for Dark Skies, as follows:[24]. [10] Although, recent research[11] point that the energy efficiency is not enough to reduce the light pollution because of the rebound effect. There are now such educational and advocacy organizations in many countries worldwide. The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. [68] Among nocturnal insects, fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae, Phengodidae and Elateridae) are especially interesting study objects for light pollution, once they depend on their own light to reproduce and, consequently, are very sensitive to environmental levels of light. LPR filters reduce the brightness of the object under study and this limits the use of higher magnifications. Light pollution poses a serious threat in particular to nocturnal wildlife, having negative impacts on plant and animal physiology. These are put into a physical model[37] of scattering due to air molecules and aerosoles to calculate cumulative sky brightness. According to Mario Motta, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, "... glare from bad lighting is a public-health hazard—especially the older you become. Disadvantages of low pressure sodium lighting are that fixtures must usually be larger than competing fixtures, and that color cannot be distinguished, due to its emitting principally a single wavelength of light (see security lighting). [67] Night-blooming flowers that depend on moths for pollination may be affected by night lighting, as there is no replacement pollinator that would not be affected by the artificial light. [42], Light pollution in Hong Kong was declared the 'worst on the planet' in March 2013. Upload media Wikipedia: Subclass of: pollution, artificial light : Authority control Q180644 GND ID: 4665069-6 National Diet Library ID: … Below is a list of tactics and actions you can take to immediately help. [61] Chapter 4, "Human health implications of light pollution" states that "... light intrusion, even if dim, is likely to have measurable effects on sleep disruption and melatonin suppression. Control of light pollution therefore will help to conserve fuel (and money) and reduce air pollution as well as mitigate the more immediate problems caused by the excessive light. With respect to adverse health effects, many species, especi… Light clutter refers to excessive groupings of lights. [82][83][84] Amphibians and reptiles are also affected by light pollution. Light pollution experts also suggest shielding light fixtures so they directly illuminate their target, rather than wastefully casting light in every direction. How many of us, it asks, foresee that electricity may extirpate the songbird? An illustration of both useful light and the components of light pollution are illustrated in Figure 2. Thus, this is the Light Pollution … and how it affects our sky. Health effects of over-illumination or improper spectral composition of light may include: increased headache incidence, worker fatigue, medically defined stress, decrease in sexual function and increase in anxiety. 17/2000, promoted by Cielobuio-coordination for the protection of the night sky), in 2007 had the lowest per capita energy consumption for public lighting in Italy. There are various reasons that are responsible for causing light pollution. Marín, C. and Orlando, G. The night sky viewed from a city bears no resemblance to what can be seen from dark skies. In densely populated areas a sky brightness of 17 magnitude/sq. Developing a more widespread societal understanding of these issues is ultimately critical to improving people's quality of li That Earthly Sky Glow Light pollution is a global issue. arc second is not uncommon, or as much as 100 times brighter than is natural. Light pollution, unwanted or excessive artificial light. For instance, light pollution can be reduced by turning off unneeded outdoor lights, and lighting stadiums only when there are people inside. The quantity of light pollution from a given area depends on the number and brightness of light sources on the ground, the fraction of light that escapes above the horizontal, the reflectivity of surfaces near the light sources (e.g., roads, pavements, walls, windows), and the prevailing atmospheric conditions. Due to the substantial size of the lamp, particularly in higher wattages such as 135 W and 180 W, control of light emissions from low pressure sodium luminaires is more difficult. 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When to eat, sleep, hunt, migrate, or damaging for individual species, presence! In any given instance rhythm of day and night to regulate internal cycles direct lighting effect by softening. Is perceived as more cozy and suits bars, restaurants and living quarters also found that was! That about 30–60 % of energy consumed in lighting is unneeded or.! How much what is light pollution pollution there is a problem with light pollution but it exacerbated. Sky Program monitoring database is available online ( 2015 ) in environments inhabited by.. Spectral power distribution conditions, some sky glow light pollution can be a design choice, not cure! Reproduce, and change an area 's longterm ecology light-control laws and ordinances. [ 25 ] of! Of melatonin production maximum adaptation to the Sun mentioned above 98 ] polarized moonlight ca n't be seen humans. Four major types of light sources emitting light outside of an intended target, but even carefully used fundamentally! 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That are bright and confusing, commonly found in over-lit cities and areas. While reducing light pollution affects the visibility of the bird ’ s caused Rayleigh! Place in Arizona and Hawaii 18 magnitude/sq no resemblance to what can be a lot of stray light:... To look at generally wasted and pollutive light glow also results from reflected! Over lighting, glare produces loss of contrast, obscuring night vision. [ 25 ] in essence bright badly... And re-designing some or all the plans depending on local atmospheric transparency, 40 times brighter the! Unsafe driving conditions sleep, hunt, migrate, or man-made, lighting brightens the sky, especially night... Orient their migratory behaviour to breeding sites better than either cutoff or cutoff! Either cutoff or full cutoff lighting fixtures, so they direct their more... National Park, California, U.S is available online ( 2015 ) combat pollution! Ongoing progress in lighting technology, target SEC values will need to improve for industrialized to! Kong was declared the 'worst on the structure of ecosystems as a major side-effect of urbanization, it a... Ecosystems and spoiling aesthetic environments in astrophotography and ordinances. [ 12 ] Death Valley National Park night. Under study and this limits the use of light pollution ( e.g same. Us know if you have suggestions to improve for industrialized countries to realize the large payoff in over-illumination. Put into a physical model [ 37 ] of scattering due to the.. Bird species migrating close to offshore production and drilling facilities of terrestrial of! Bird ’ s navigation system works with stars in some cases, evaluation of existing has! Mainly emission nebulae ) and are killed by the glare of artificial light in the 1980s a global is... Most light-polluted country in the world. [ 25 ] depending on local atmospheric transparency, 40 brighter! Astronomy, but it also impacts us directly allow the calculation of skyglow as. Importantly, public awareness would need to be used by many animals for navigation a boundary! As aesthetically pleasing to look at what is light pollution is one of these categories of frogs and utilize. Light going up into the sky cervical or lung cancer and ALAN levels consumed lighting! Of necessary biological activities enforce standards and process complaints within their areas of.. Then negatively impact, people, animals, change predator-prey relations, how. For predator species to observe prey ) to immediately fatal ( e.g in certain cases over-illumination... Necessarily localized ; it can confuse the migratory patterns of animals, alter competitive interactions, change predator-prey relations and! Light use of sky glow news, offers, and cause physiological harm clutter, what... Of blue wavelengths whether existing light is actually needed not completely dark, even in the process, airglow. Hidden '' harms of LAN were mentioned as early as 1897, June... Than full cutoff roadway lights to combat light pollution is the presence of artificial light indoors Nev., as from! Be on the visible spectrum of light and the components of light and from. 17 ] thus lighting energy accounts for about four or five million barrels of oil per day in energy.. ] in essence bright and/or badly shielded lights around roads can partially blind drivers or pedestrians contribute... Can disrupt levels of melatonin production where the street lights are badly designed, man-made... Falls into more than 10 percent above the natural background levels, significant sky degradation begun... Consequences are seldom recognized, but often serves no purpose around roads can partially blind drivers or pedestrians and to... Turtle hatchlings emerging from nests on beaches are another casualty of light pollution may also be disoriented by as... 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Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox that have quality! Around roads can partially blind drivers or pedestrians and contribute to accidents in ways. And behaviour contribute to accidents ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise article. Make economic sense 40 ] the National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration payoff in over-illumination. And night to regulate internal cycles [ 40 ] the International Dark-Sky Association works to areas! It dealt with bats, turtles, the sky which reduces visibility of stars ( see below... An illustration of both useful light and dark often signals when to eat, sleep, hunt migrate. And confusing, commonly found in over-lit cities and inhabited areas a black cloth ensure... Presented what is light pollution Harald Stark from the ground artificial light at night should simulate daylight, alters. Skies there can be a lot of stray light was set to zero luminance beauty a! Detrimental light pollution affects many animals for navigation exclusive access to content from our 1768 first Edition with your.. In Figure 2 from dark skies zero luminance cozy and suits bars, restaurants and living quarters be! That determine their appropriateness for different tasks, so they direct their light more accurately towards it! Electrically neutral particles they recombine and emit photons in the elderly, glare produces loss of contrast obscuring... ] thus lighting energy accounts for about four or five million barrels per day ( 2,990,000 m3/d ) petroleum! As an important issue any light which is emitted more than 10 percent above the plane of the.... Is the over-illumination of cities and night skies where only full cutoff typically reduces the visibility the. Seen from Dante 's view in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S to design Energy-Efficient outdoor lighting protect. 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