Light pollution ruins the view of the northern lights.
The further you are away from light pollution, the better your experience viewing the aurora will be. To see the aurora with details seen with the naked eye, no matter what the strength is, the darker the sky, the better. As the years go by, cities are adding more and more streetlights. Most are not necessary. The people who approve these lights are not aware of why we need dark skies, especially in Fairbanks, Alaska. The city mayor even disagreed with me, saying that “tourists can drive 30 miles to enjoy the aurora”. I was astonished to hear this and do not understand why a top aurora destination such as Fairbanks would disregard such an important situation. Dark skies are not only enjoyable for aurora watching and star gazing, but for many other reasons. I am happy to discuss light pollution with you further, or add to this website page. ~Amy
What you can do to help stop light pollution
If you are involved in your local politics, the Department of Transportation, city planning, or tourism (including chamber of commerce, welcome committees, and tour guides), then you can help diminish light pollution.
If you are not involved in the above, but want to help in some way, you can join the International Dark-Sky Association.
Pay attention to the streetlights currently in place or being planned. The style of bulb and direction of the light can be changed to help the light pollution. Streetlights should be removed in many cases.
Billboards are a terrible source of light pollution, especially digital billboards and signs. Alaska, Vermont, Maine and Hawaii banned all billboards. Rhode Island and Oregon, have prohibited the construction of new billboards. Many businesses still put up signs that are intrusive, with flashing lights that are way too bright. Bright lights destroy your night vision, in addition, making aurora viewing more difficult.
The sky quality meter is a tool you can use to measure how dark the sky is for your photography, astrophotography, or recording the light pollution conditions.
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Change the lights on the outside of your house.
Change the lights on the outside of your business. Tone down the flashing lights at night.
Point the lights downward and not upward or outward.
Dim your house lights or turn them off when viewing aurora.
Light pollution is more noticeable when there are clouds or fog, as the light reflects off the water droplets.