Night Earth

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle with St Vitus Cathedral
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Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, located in the heart of Europe. It has a population of around 1.3 million people, making it the 14th largest city in the European Union. Known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture, Prague is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

At night, Prague comes alive with a dazzling display of lights that illuminate the city's historic buildings, bridges, and landmarks. The most prominent of these is the Charles Bridge, which spans the Vltava River and is adorned with a series of statues that are lit up at night. Another popular destination is Prague Castle, which is illuminated from below, giving it an ethereal glow that can be seen from across the city. The Old Town Square, with its iconic Astronomical Clock, is also a must-see at night, as the clock's intricate mechanism is highlighted by a light show.

However, while the city's night lights are undoubtedly beautiful, they also contribute to a significant amount of light pollution. The primary source of light pollution in Prague is the excessive use of outdoor lighting. Many buildings, monuments, and public spaces are over-lit, with light fixtures that emit light in all directions, rather than just downwards. This creates a significant amount of skyglow, which not only obscures the stars but also affects nocturnal animals, birds, and insects.

Another factor that contributes to light pollution in Prague is the city's thriving nightlife. Prague has a well-deserved reputation as a party city, and many of its bars, clubs, and restaurants stay open late into the night. This means that many of the city's streets and public spaces are still brightly lit well after midnight, contributing to light pollution.

In recent years, there have been efforts to reduce light pollution in Prague. For example, the city has implemented a system of dimming street lights after a certain time to reduce energy consumption and light pollution. Some public spaces have also been retrofitted with more efficient and directional lighting, which helps to reduce skyglow and light trespass.

However, there is still a long way to go, and Prague remains one of the most light-polluted cities in Europe. According to the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute, the city has a nighttime sky brightness of around 19.5 mag/arcsec², which is considered to be moderately light polluted.

Prague is a stunningly beautiful city that comes alive at night with a dazzling display of lights. However, its excessive use of outdoor lighting and thriving nightlife contribute to significant light pollution, which obscures the stars and affects nocturnal wildlife. While efforts have been made to reduce light pollution, there is still much work to be done to protect the city's night skies and preserve its natural heritage.