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Lockdown reduced light pollution...(?)


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According to the BBC (Light pollution: How lockdown has darkened our skies https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-56634629 ) it did by 10% according to the recent star count survey.

Did anyone seriously notice a reduction?

For me, not in the darkness of the sky during a moonless night but the absence of aeroplanes was certainly noticeable and most welcome!

Edited by Jonk
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A few years ago, the middle class obsession was fire pits and chimeneas (sorry can’t spell that) The new “on trend “ items to have are fancy garden lights hung everywhere they possibly can. I’ve notic

According to the BBC (Light pollution: How lockdown has darkened our skies https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-56634629 ) it did by 10% according to the recent star count survey. Di

There were definitely some super clear nights here last year possibly attributable to reduced air pollution due to lock down. However light pollution is worse than before. I remember when I used to sm

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Yes I was watching that.

Difficult for me to say about any change in light pollution as certainly around me it seemed to be far few clearer nights due to cloud cover than since I started the hobby 3 or 4 years ago, so all in all I had less imaging time than normal (unless its me getting lazy)

I would think overall maybe there was less in generally heavy polluted areas as there would be less industrial lighting, less car headlights but in many back yards on outskirts of towns etc there would be little or no difference.

Also from an imaging side the increase in the amount of satellites probably offsets any positives that a slight reduction in LP would bring.
We have a long way to go to be able to see the skies anywhere near like those from Kielder Forrest it showed on the News. but we can all dream 🙂 

Steve 

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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Although I would add that as I am on one of the flight paths to Leeds / Bradford airport often some nights start of with loads of con trails that take time to disperse (dependent of wind direction to which way they are landing) and on the few clear nights I had that was far improved (obviously 🙂 )

Steve 

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Personally I haven't seen any difference here (outskirts of Oxford). 

I think most people tend to live in urbanized places where they may be some reduction and so the results are skewered toward heavier polluted areas.

 

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No difference here. In fact local light pollution has increased as neighbours have erected lights on the side of their houses some of which are on all night.

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I can well imagine that the closure of night time sports and the floodlights they require would have a significant effect. When I lived in England, the local football pitch's lights made viewing impossible. Worse than a full moon.

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Yes I heard a brief feature on this on this mornings radio 4 Today programme. It is based upon this years statistical CPRE Star count, whereby out of 7000 participants, 51% of star spotters said that they could see fewer than 10 stars, based upon 61% in 2020. The BBC commentary implied this may be due in part to reduced road and air traffic levels, therefore a little less light and atmospheric pollution.  

 

 

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I think I managed 1 more star in Orion this year, 23 vs 22 last year but well within my personal variability. I heard the snippet on the R4 Toady program. Why the stupid music? Not needed in a factual piece about science.

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Slightly off-topic but the absence of aircraft must be worthy of some unique research into other side effects.

Atmospheric, cloud formation, albedo, jet stream, bird migration and song and behaviour, where noise is a factor?
We see fewer trails per month now than we did in an hour pre-2020.
Always high altitude back then and usually without audible sound thank goodness.
Persistent trail conditions would have the sky liberally criss-crossed.
It was interesting to see aircraft cross the sun. Leaving thermally agitated trails, drifting away.

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I take SQM readings at 14 sites across a 186 sq km area and have only noticed around a 1% - ish reduction in light pollution over the year. Reduction in light pollution is most likely more apparent in more densely populated areas due to reduced night driving during lockdown...

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1 hour ago, DaveS said:

By the way, the link came up with a 404 error.

Fixed, thanks.

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4 hours ago, Jonk said:

According to the BBC (Light pollution: How lockdown has darkened our skies https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-56634629 ) it did by 10% according to the recent star count survey.

Did anyone seriously notice a reduction?

For me, not in the darkness of the sky during a moonless night but the absence of aeroplanes was certainly noticeable and most welcome!

Like everyone else I can only comment on my immediate , back garden area during lockdown (and it isn't over yet ... ) but in my bit of suburban/rural transition , neighbours lockdown spending on cheap garden lighting last summer has significantly raised the light pollution, and with a sickly blue glow at that 😞

Heather

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Assuming the quoted figure of 10% is actually true, which I'm not convinced of, that's not much. Admittedly I have no previous years as a comparison but I can't say I've noticed any improvement - it remains dire around here. The main effect of a pandemic on my astro interest is that I've been prevented from going anywhere that actually is dark at night.

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There were definitely some super clear nights here last year possibly attributable to reduced air pollution due to lock down. However light pollution is worse than before. I remember when I used to smoke, on a couple of occasions standing on the rear patio watching random meteor showers.

There's little chance of that now, the night sky has a blue-grey hue. 

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I haven’t noticed darker skies over the last 12 months or so. I did think the skies were clearer, less hazy, during the first lockdown, which I took to be because of fewer aircraft. I recall something similar happened a few years ago when flights over Europe were cancelled due to a volcanic  eruption.  

If anything, local light pollution has got worse due to DIY enthusiasts locked down at home putting up ever more fancy garden lights and security lighting. Grrrrrr! 🤬

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3 hours ago, Ouroboros said:

f anything, local light pollution has got worse due to DIY enthusiasts locked down at home putting up ever more fancy garden lights and security lighting. Grrrrrr! 🤬

A few years ago, the middle class obsession was fire pits and chimeneas (sorry can’t spell that) The new “on trend “ items to have are fancy garden lights hung everywhere they possibly can. I’ve noticed it in my road, lights everywhere, front and back, on all night, serving no purpose whatsoever because everyone’s in bed by 11. My brother has fitted expensive events level lighting all around his garden fencing....on three sides!! When I asked him why, he replied “They look nice and are better than than the neighbors’” who have also fitted some......thankfully they live on the other side of the country!!!

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Actually although I think solar powered fairy lights and similar dotted about the garden are the height of naffness at least they pump out less light than a several thousand lumen security light. 

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One rural neighbour had 19 insecurity lights at the last count.
The next along has his very own "Close Encounters landing strip."
Another left the carport lights on three years ago and still they remain on.
So I took up "solar" and no longer care about local light pollution. :rolleyes:

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Worse for me as neighbour fitted a pair of super bright lights straight opposite where I would setup that are head height and very sensitive and ping on very often.

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I haven't noticed any reduction in light pollution in the last year here. Have noticed that the skies are frequently rubbish even when they are supposed to be clear. Did the star count but didn't bother submitting it because of the sky condition

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I certainly did notice a difference. In March 2020 I escaped to SW Ireland and for various reasons only returned to the UK exactly one year later.

My perspective is being able to notice a step difference after an extended period of time, rather than infinitesimal changes over 365 days.

I started a topic on it, and rather than retype everything, I’ve linked to it:

 

Edited by Captain Magenta
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On 06/04/2021 at 09:43, Jonk said:

According to the BBC (Light pollution: How lockdown has darkened our skies https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-56634629 ) it did by 10% according to the recent star count survey.

Did anyone seriously notice a reduction?

For me, not in the darkness of the sky during a moonless night but the absence of aeroplanes was certainly noticeable and most welcome!

Still getting more and more satellite trails though 😡

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I'm mainly a solar observer these "days" so can't currently comment on light pollution.  However, I do believe the air quality and hence the transparency has improved.  I have a 5 finger test for solar air quality.  It is based on how many fingers on an outstretched hand are needed to occult the Sun's disc plus the surrounding scatter.  Recently there have been many 1 finger days.     🙂 

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