If a friend told you that they were spending the night stargazing in New York City, you might well assume they were on the lookout for Woody Allen or Scarlett Johansson. But for many amateur astronomers, they are more interested in the stars and planets above. This short film brings a personal story to the Dark Skies Awareness campaign, by following the amateur astronomer Irene Pease as she struggles to find a patch of darkness amid the dazzling lights of the Big Apple.

We also meet politicians and campaigners who have helped to bring about recent legislation in New York State to curb unnecessary light pollution. Those in favour of the new laws believe that it will alter NYC's nightscape for the better, for example the introduction of shielded light fixtures will create a romantic glow. As with any new law, however, there are still challenges that remain in the implementation.

This film has been produced by the New York-based filmmakers Lucina Melesio and Aman Azhar. It is the first in a series commissioned by Physics World as an official media partner of the International Year of Light (IYL 2015). These short documentaries will tell personal stories relating to some of the core themes of IYL 2015, including light for health and light for studying after sunset.

If you want to find out more about the Dark Skies Awareness campaign, then check out the March issue of Physics World. This special issue of the magazine was devoted to light and includes a feature by science and environmental writer Gabriel Popkin about the advantages and disadvantages of using light-emitting diodes in the quest for dark skies.

If you're a member of the Institute of Physics (IOP), you can now enjoy immediate access to the new special issue about light in our lives with the digital edition of the magazine on your desktop via MyIOP.org or on any iOS or Android smartphone or tablet via the Physics World app, available from the App Store and Google Play. If you're not yet in the IOP, you can join as an IOPimember for just £15, €20 or $25 a year to get full access to Physics World both online and through the apps.