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New visible LED light pollution from space - space and astronomy

New visible LED light pollution from space – space and astronomy

The switch from incandescent to LEDs is changing light pollution in Europe and Italy are among the countries where the phenomenon appears most vividly even from space: images taken by the International Space Station (ISS), which University of Exeter researchers analyzed in a study study published in the journal Science Advances. To assess the impact of Europe’s new energy-efficient lights, the researchers looked at images taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station from 2012 to 2013 and from 2014 to 2020.

In fact, the images provide a greater range of wavelengths of light than satellite images. By comparing snapshots of later years, it was possible to determine which parts of Europe switched to LED lighting and to what extent. In particular, researchers note that Italy, Great Britain and Ireland experienced significant changes, in contrast to countries such as Austria, Germany and Belgium.

From space, it is also possible to estimate how LEDs increased blue light emissions which, according to previous studies, would be able to interfere with melatonin production and the sleep-wake cycle in humans and animals. For this reason, the study authors speculate that an increase in blue light in areas illuminated by LED lights could have a negative impact on the environment and on people.

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