Dark Sky, Research

New DarkSky State Of The Science 2023 Report Released

Last year, I wrote about the release of the first Artificial Light At Night (ALAN): State of the Science Report 2022, available here. DarkSky (formerly the International Dark Sky Association – IDA), has now released an updated version of the report titled Artificial Light At Night: State of the Science 2023 Report. It is a newly released summary of 457 papers published during 2022, with the latest research results. The chart above shows the breakdown of topics for the 457 ALAN papers released in 2022.New DarkSky State Of The Science 2023 Report Released

The chart below shows the exponentially increasing number of papers published annually, about light pollution, over the past 20 years. DarkSky highlighted five findings in 2022:

  • ALAN in cities may disrupt the process that scrubs harmful ozone pollution from the air during overnight hours. Shith, S., et al. Atmosphere, 13, Issue 11, p. 1844.
  • Mental and physical illness may be linked by a ‘broken’ circadian rhythm due to ALAN exposure. Su, K., et al. Brain, Behavior, Immunity – Health, Vol. 26, p. 100533.
  • Residents of U.S. residential neighborhoods subjected to past racial ‘redlining’ practices are disproportionately exposed to ALAN. Motairek, I., et al. Local Environment, Vol. 28, Issue 4, pp. 518–528.
  • Switching off street lighting during overnight hours can reduce instances of theft from vehicles parked along streets. Tompson, L., et al. Journal of Quantitative Criminology.
  • Light pollution threats to astronomical observatories are growing worldwide at alarming rates. Green, R. F., et al. The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review, Vol. 30, Issue 1.

According to DarkSky, “Overall, the report finds evidence of significant harm to the night sky and wildlife ecology from light pollution on local to global scales. There are major concerns about how ALAN diminishes traffic safety during the overnight hours. While a strong link between ALAN exposure and human health seems to be established over decades of laboratory studies, the influence of light from outdoor sources remains unclear. And to the extent that roughly 80 percent of world electricity production relies on burning fossil fuels, wasted light at night from outdoor sources remains linked to climate change – even given the ongoing adoption of highly energy-efficient solid-state lighting.”

More information is available here.

Image: DarkSky.org

Top image: DarkSky.org, Breakdown of 457 ALAN paper topics in 2022.


  • James Benya August 1, 2023, 2:07 AM

    ALAN stands for Anthropogenic Light at Night. The light is not artificial, but it is man-made (“anthropogenic”).

    • David Shiller August 2, 2023, 5:30 PM

      Jim, thanks as always for your comment. Both DarkSky (formerly IDA) and DLC define ALAN as Artificial Light at Night. Which organizations use “Anthropogenic?” Curious. Thanks.


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