What are Dark Skies?

Northampton has strict Dark Skies standards in our zoning. Excess lighting creates several problems:
1. It can make it less safe to drive, as drivers' eyes can't adjust to rapidly changing light level.
2. It creates unattractive glare, making streetscapes less attractive and making it harder for neighbors to sleep.
3. In rural areas, it can adversely affect wildlife.
4. It creates higher energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
5. It makes it harder to appreciate the night sky.

Night sky light levels are measured on the Bortle Dark Sky scale, where below 4 is desirable. Northampton levels range from 4.5 in outlying areas to 6 or 7 downtown.