Juneau is the capital city of Alaska, the largest state in the United States. With a population of approximately 32,000, it is the second-largest city in Alaska. Despite its relatively small size, Juneau is known for its unique and captivating night lights. However, these lights come at a cost, with the city suffering from light pollution, which can have a detrimental impact on the environment and human health.
The primary source of Juneau's night lights is the city's industries, including mining, fishing, and tourism. These industries rely heavily on outdoor lighting, which can be seen throughout the city, particularly around the downtown area. Juneau's stunning natural landscape is also a significant contributor to its night lights, with the city situated on the Gastineau Channel, surrounded by mountains and forests.
Despite the allure of its night lights, Juneau's light pollution is significant. The city ranks 17th in the United States for the most light-polluted cities, according to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This level of light pollution can have a significant impact on the city's environment, including its wildlife, and can affect human health, particularly sleep quality.
Juneau is home to several landmarks that contribute to its night lights, including the Governor's Mansion, which is located on Calhoun Avenue. The mansion is lit up at night, providing a stunning view for residents and visitors alike. Another notable landmark is the Mount Roberts Tramway, which provides access to the top of Mount Roberts, offering breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
The habits of the people living in Juneau also contribute to the city's night lights. The city has a thriving nightlife scene, with many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs located in the downtown area. These establishments rely heavily on outdoor lighting to attract customers, contributing to the overall level of light pollution in the city.
In recent years, the city has taken steps to reduce its light pollution, including implementing a "dark skies" policy for new development projects. The policy requires new buildings to use energy-efficient lighting and minimize light spillage. The city has also installed shields on existing streetlights to reduce light pollution and improve the visibility of the night sky.
Juneau is a city with a unique and captivating night lightscape, but its beauty comes at a cost. The city suffers from significant light pollution, which can have a detrimental impact on the environment and human health. However, the city has taken steps to reduce its light pollution, and with continued efforts, it is hoped that Juneau can strike a balance between its vibrant night lights and protecting the environment and public health.