Astronauts’ Photos From Space Show That LEDs Are Making Light Pollution Worse

Photos taken from the International Space Station (ISS) show the true extent of light pollution caused by the increasing trend for LED lighting.

LED lights, which are brighter, whiter and more energy efficient than conventional bulbs, are gradually being phased in to replace older streetlights all over the world.

Photos of Milan in Italy, taken by astronauts on the ISS, show how light pollution has increased considerably in the city over the past three years.

Photos from 2012 depict how the city centre showed similar lighting levels to its surrounding suburbs.

However, following the city’s transition to LED street lighting in 2012, more recent photos show that the city centre is now much brighter than the surrounding area, with more blue light.

LED lamps give off more blue and green light, which washes out the night sky and is said to disrupt daily cycles, not only disrupting human sleep but also affecting nocturnal and migratory animals.

New York City is currently replacing it’s 250,000 streetlights with eco-friendly LED lights. The move is expected to save $6 million in energy costs and and $8 million in maintenance per year.

However, according to a report in the New York Times, residents of the NYC borough of Brooklyn have been complaining about the extreme brightness of the new lights.

A new Kickstarter project is aiming to build a ‘Google Maps-style’ map of its own, using nighttime shots of global cities taken from the ISS.

(Image credit: NASA/ESA/Tech Insider)