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Stars

Light Pollution - can you help??

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Stars    0

Hi- I'm a third year design student based in Sheffield looking for some help with a project!

The aim of the project is to educate and inform the public about light pollution and why it is becoming an increasingly common issue, and what we can do to combat it. Making more people cognisant of what is happening is an important focus. I plan to create a product that could potentially help to reduce light pollution in city centres, alongside a campaign to raise awareness.

I would love to hear from this community how light pollution personally affects the stargazing experience, and if anyone has any suggestions about what they'd like to see being done! Any responses would be greatly appreciated!

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Stars    0
2 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

I presume you have been in touch with the Campaign for Dark Skies?

I haven't yet but I will be sure to get in contact with them!

I'd also love to hear from the stargazing community themselves about how it personally affects them and why it's an issue :)

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brantuk    3,162

Apart from the obvious waste of energy and increase of air pollutants lighting the world up at night, finding a dark site to view and image the night sky is becoming increasingly challenging and invariably entails driving somewhere (causing yet more air pollution). Even then it's not always totally dark.

As well as hindering our hobby, I feel it's just such a shame the general population never gets to see how amazing the night sky really is because of all this superfluous lighting. And the worst thing is when some crazy neighbour installs unnecessary security lighting totally wrecking our own back yards forcing us out on the road searching for a dark site. Hope that helps. :)

Edited by brantuk
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Thalestris24    1,328

Hi

I think most of us wish for darker skies! Increasing urbanisation has resulted in increased light pollution. I live near the center of Glasgow so suffer badly from light pollution. LP filters don't help much - it's the broadband skyglow that's the main problem. Still, I just about manage to do some basic imaging. Narrowband i.e. with an H-alpha filter, cuts out a lot of LP but I'm still limited to exposures of about 360s. I have done longer exposures in the past but these days 360s seems to be a max. 

Louise

Edit: I should add that I don't see many naked eye stars and the Milky Way is non-existent here. I have to say I knew the situation before taking up astrophotography so only have myself to blame! Haha.

Edited by Thalestris24
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Victor Boesen    288

Not only is it a shame for us stargazers, it's also a bad thing for animals because they aren't used to it being bright at night, therefor they live in forrests and other places without much light instead of in the cities where it's bright at night as well

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Thalestris24    1,328
1 minute ago, Victor Boesen said:

Not only is it a shame for us stargazers, it's also a bad thing for animals because they aren't used to it being bright at night, therefor they live in forrests and other places without much light instead of in the cities where it's bright at night as well

Yeah - it's weird in that you get birds singing here late at night... I say 'night' - it never actually gets dark here!

 

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Demonperformer    756

Myth: Turning the lights off will encourage crime

Fact: Criminals like to be able to see what they are doing ... and can also be deterred by stargazers outside clocking every move they make!

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Gina    8,770

"Security Lights" is a total misnomer and oxymoron!! :cussing:

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LukeSkywatcher    7,835

As an astronomer, light pollution isnt something i worry about much. We have ways of overcoming it such as traveling to dark sky locations etc. It is a huge problem for wildlife though. It completely messes with their natural habits and instincts.

As for us Humans/astronomers...........education about security lights (or as we call them......insecurity lights) is vital. Most people have them on their property and they are too powerful and very much badly positioned. A low powered light and well positioned light will save the owner money.

A couple of weeks ago, my low powered, well positioned outside insecurity light (which only comes on when it detects movement within 6ft) was stuck on all day and night. A well aimed brick took care of the problem.

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Scooot    2,499

You have to go a long way from here to find a decent dark sight. The best you can do is find somewhere not so bad.

You need to get the public onside for any meaningful reduction in light pollution.

Maybe a National Competition, How Dark Can You Make Your Town, say between the hours of midnight and 0500, weighted somehow by population. The winning town gets a 50% reduction in council tax for a year, funded by the National energy savings. I can think of lots of problems setting it up, but if you could get enough areas involved with some sort of weekly or monthly result published maybe the press might get interested and it would increase awareness. Probably a pipe dream :) 

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LukeSkywatcher    7,835

TBH, i dont think society in general gives a second thought to light pollution. Why should they?.

Light is good. It provides safety. It allows us to move about in the dark.

Very few hobbies are effected by light pollution. Governments are unlikely to spend billions on lessening LP just to please a few million hobbiest's world wide.

Earth Hour............is a joke (IMHO). Its a token gesture at best. It solves nothing.

I recycle religiously. I never have any lights on in the house other than the room i am in at the time. My carbon foot print is smaller than my shoe size (i have small feet).

I do what i think is right and cant do any more. 

 

 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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SteveNickolls    774

Hi, and thank you for posting on SGL.

The project you have chosen certainly has a lot of data to hand, most if not all supporting the sensibility of turning off and dimming street lights. Oh, if things were only that simple.

 

On 12/6/2017 at 14:06, Stars said:

The aim of the project is to educate and inform the public about light pollution and why it is becoming an increasingly common issue, and what we can do to combat it.

 

Light pollution is partly becoming an increasing problem due to the ceaseless march of development adding new homes, industrial and commercial sites and new road infra structures all with associated lights, and which however well designed they are adds to the sum total of unwanted light in the environment. Technology also helps the spread and uptake of lighting by providing brighter, cheaper forms of lighting that can so easily get abused or blind eye turned to their installation and use.

You will also have to tackle the plain dumb, determined nature of many who frankly are thoughtless to the needs of others and of the natural environment.

I think that enough information is out there showing that turning off and dimming lights (street lights) does not encourage robbery or acts of personal violence yet this has not permeated the ranks of the establishment or individuals at large to any degree. To say they are uninterested is getting close to the mark, they generally see no implications from increasing light pollution. I do agree that education is the way to raising the consciousness among the public but it will require the tackling of the root fear of the dark which to most people is a subconscious matter. Part of the solution is in finding the right set of keys to help unlock the issues.

One of the keys is little used, and by that I refer to the lack by prominent figures in astronomy (and the natural world) who have a toe hold into the media but who do not enough to help bring the complex issues to the awareness of more people. They are all proven educators so it is not that holding them back. Much more could be done on, for example, the BBC to combine the issue of light pollution with associated wildlife concerns and run a programme such as an amalgam of Stargazing Live and Autumn Watch. Schools could be involved to let young developing minds help break down the rooted attitudes over time. We need debate across the media, all the time pitting data against fear and allowing that slow dawning of realisation to take place.

I also feel that without strong central leadership towards street lighting, residential misuse of out door lighting etc. nothing will change. I can't see that occurring.

Sorry to go on a little ramble over the subject, but I wish you every success with the project.

Best Regards,
Steve

 

Edited by SteveNickolls
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Cjg    455
On 06/12/2017 at 14:06, Stars said:

Hi- I'm a third year design student based in Sheffield looking for some help with a project!

The aim of the project is to educate and inform the public about light pollution and why it is becoming an increasingly common issue, and what we can do to combat it. Making more people cognisant of what is happening is an important focus. I plan to create a product that could potentially help to reduce light pollution in city centres, alongside a campaign to raise awareness.

I would love to hear from this community how light pollution personally affects the stargazing experience, and if anyone has any suggestions about what they'd like to see being done! Any responses would be greatly appreciated!

Worth talking to the organisers of the Astro Camp in Cwmdu. We turned up last Spring to find that the Highways Agency for Wales had installed very bright LED lights throughout Cwmdu. The organisers and their supporters managed to garner support from the locals ( some of whom had to fit blackout blinds in their bedrooms), have a BBC Reporter visit to report on the site. Working with the Dark Skies Association, we wrote to the First Minister for Wales and in September, we found the lights had been dimmed to 30% and switched off completely from about 8pm until 6am.

Even though I live in Norfolk, the First Minister replied to my emails...what I suspect played a huge part in getting the lights sorted was the "threat" (that's not the best description) of the camp to not return...120 stargazers spending a long weekend, twice a year has to have a positive financial benefit to the local community.  

That said, in South Norfolk, South Norfolk Council allowed in a small village, a private tennis club to install 8 metre high floodlights- even though there are houses to the side and numerous objections from locals and more...how a private club could be allowed to radically transform what is a residential area is beyond my comprehension..So we have more skyglow from that area at our Observatory!

Chris

 

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Alan White    1,171

In general light pollution is getting worse day by day for the reasons stated above.
Utter lack of thought, Total Lack of care for others, Lack of understanding by authority, Total lack of resource to enforce any way due to Austerity.
The night sky has gone to many in urban and sub urban areas, due to the mindless over lighting that is now in place.
 

Unless Government picks this up, changes the rules, educates, ensures Government Agencies are funded to change designs and Enforce this, then sadly nothing will ever happen.
 

Perhaps an enforced lights out and big fines for those who ignore it would be good.
Now that's the one good thing that came from WW2, blackout! (Joke).

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SteveNickolls    774
54 minutes ago, Alan White said:

Now that's the one good thing that came from WW2, blackout! (Joke).

I would happily volunteer to be a William Hodges telling errant light mongers to "Put that light out". With armed back up and draconian enforcement powers of course.

Returning to the aspect of educating the public as a step towards reducing unnecessary lighting I was intrigued to learn from local radio yesterday that one Nottinghamshire chief executive had been so motivated by the environmental message contained in the,"Blue Planet II" programme  on the BBC to intend to address his organisations approach to environmental matters. Just imagine if similar resources at the BBC could be put to educating around the issue of light pollution and what unexpected results it might have on those in power. Now which of our well known astronomy presenters has the time, calibre and desire to be the next David Attenborough and champion light pollution issues?

Cheers,
Steve

 

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