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Street lights... anything we can do?


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Hi folks!

I am so affected by orange street lights that it is seriously affecting me bothering at all! Objects that I should be able to see are barely there! Alas I do not drive so transporting my scope on my bike would be..interesting!!

Wonder if the council could shield them perhaps from garden intrusion but still illuminate the roads?

I know there are filters but do they work? Seen reviews which cast doubt!

Sorry for the moan but, it's bugging me now!! Grrrrr. :)

Clear skies y'all... and dark ones!

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Hi

I believe that the council has an obligation to shield lights if the light encroaches into your property, not to sure about the garden. Luckily for me we've just had new light units fitted on the street that almost eliminate this problem, unfortunately I live on Heathrows doorstep so this pretty much cancels out any dark skies for me.

With regards to LP filters I cant say if they work or not as I don't own one, if someone here says they do then I will consider purchasing one.

Regards

Brett

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Councils do have an obligation to shield street lighting where this is directly affecting a bedroom window, causing nuisance, mostly occur es in terraced residential parts of cities, I have doubts they would consider a shield to stop illumination of your garden, build your own black PVC shield just like a wind break for the beach only 5-6 feet high, with 4 poles to form a square, it can be rolled up to store, an appropriate LP filter may then help with your obs.

John

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If you have any light intrusion into you bedroom then use that fact and call the local council and talk nicely to the street lighting boss, explain the situation and ask as a "favour" if the offending light(s) could be shielded, before calling get the light number off the post first to save time.

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Street lighting

My understanding (i.e. probably wrong!) is that street lighting is exempt from being defined as a statuatory nuisance (under the Clean Neigbourhoods and Environment Act). However, many councils will place tape or a shield across the back of a light if it's causing a problem, even in your garden. Worcester City Council did this for me. I rang them then followed it up with a letter with pictures. My experience is that asking nicely get more results than demanding. Whatever you do, don't ask them to replace the light. You'll most likely end up with a mercury or high pressure sodium light instead. The light from these is impossible to block with a filter that doesn't also block most of the wavelengths you want to view (see below).

Light pollution filters

My experience is that for low pressure (yellow) sodium lights filter can be very effective. This is because the output from these lights is across a very narrow band of the spectrum that is relatively easy to selectively block. The Baader Neodymium filter works a treat, and doubles up as a cracking contrast enhancement filter for planetary viewing.

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My Lumicon Deep Sky filter totally masks all of the street lights around me.

The following are from a mobile phone, hand shake and out of focus but they prove the point.

Image 1 is dual carriage going up the hill without filter, image 2 is same but holding filter in front of mobile phone lens.

The lights on the central reservation are gone.

post-17592-133877430125_thumb.jpg

post-17592-133877430128_thumb.jpg

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We should all live in fear of replacement low energy street lighting - as has been pointed out - the spill from low pressure sodium lights can be filtered out very successfully with an LP filter, but if replaced with other lighting, such as LED, Mercury or high pressure sodium lights, that will be the end of imaging.

I've seen LP steadily worsen here in Chester over the years since the 70s when I first started gazing at the sky. With the recent snow and low cloud reflecting the LP, it was as bright at night as it is during the day. The trouble is we're in a minority as far as wanting lighting reduced so it's not going to happen unless it's for energy saving. Despite evidence to the contrary, there is a wide belief that turning off street lights will increase crime.

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I have the cheapest of cheap SkyWatcher light pollution filter (£20 from FLO),as where i live the LP doesnt seem to be a big problem, but WOW the difference is amazing.

I can NOW aim my scope right between 2 orange street lights and see a hell of a lot more then i ever could before. When i use it in my backgarden (not a street light in sight) it is as if i am observing from a dark sky location.

The sky is BLACK and the stars are WHITE.

Best £20 i ever spent.

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I was reading something a couple of days ago, where in America, Local Government cutbacks are already starting to impact streetlighting in some States/Counties.

Tax income is plummetting, rasing taxes isn't doing any good because people can't afford them so tax income collapses even faster.

If the Council can't afford the electricity to run the things, let alone the replacement bulbs and the labour to change them, how long do you think it will be before they pull them out to try and get some income from the scrap value?

Once it gets to that stage here (and it will), I don't think they'll be going back in anytime soon either.

eta: Glider, that was a very good effectiveness demonstration. Thanks.

Now given where I live, are there any good cloud and rain filters? :)

Edited by Ogri
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Is there nothing we can do to cut back light pollution? for my sins I was an Asst Street Lighting Eng for a quite large city council, some many years ago, during my early years almost all of residential side road lighting was lit dusk to midnight, this involved considerable maintenance charges in the servicing of solar dial time switches, which were superseded with the introduction of the PE cell, which now operates all street lighting dusk to midnight, in the current financial climate there are rumors of major cut backs including energy saving on street lighting by switching back to dusk to midnight in all residential areas, there will be cost involved, this should, however, save councils a considerable amount of money in the long term, which may help to save cut backs in other quarters, there will no doubt be the usual outcry saying this is a retrograde step, but is it, the majority of people are indoors by the witching hour, just think of total darkness from midnight on-wards, at this time of council and general elections perhaps we could all make some representation on the matter.

John.

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Can you imagine, if all the lights in the UK turned off at 12 o clock allowing us to see the night sky as its meant to be seen? the cheer from astronomers would be deffaning.... here`s looking forward to that day :)

john

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Is there nothing we can do to cut back light pollution? for my sins I was an Asst Street Lighting Eng for a quite large city council, some many years ago, during my early years almost all of residential side road lighting was lit dusk to midnight, this involved considerable maintenance charges in the servicing of solar dial time switches, which were superseded with the introduction of the PE cell, which now operates all street lighting dusk to midnight, in the current financial climate there are rumors of major cut backs including energy saving on street lighting by switching back to dusk to midnight in all residential areas, there will be cost involved, this should, however, save councils a considerable amount of money in the long term, which may help to save cut backs in other quarters, there will no doubt be the usual outcry saying this is a retrograde step, but is it, the majority of people are indoors by the witching hour, just think of total darkness from midnight on-wards, at this time of council and general elections perhaps we could all make some representation on the matter.

John.

here is the current guideline used by the institute of lighting engineers

http://www.britastro.org/dark-skies/pdfs/ile.pdf

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