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GAOnMyMind

Save Our Night Sky: Combat Light Pollution

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Ever since cities and towns switched from mercury to sodium lamps for streetlights, cities have been plagued by a low orange haze. In the thought that more lights = less crime, city planners willy-nilly put up lights all over. The end result is cities look like they're on fire at night, wasting energy, tax dollars -- and the once night sky is gone.

Here's the scoop: more lights don't equal more security. Quality lighting does. 50% of streetlight is wasted in shining above the road. 50% of your tax dollar is spent on nothing. Illuminating the night sky adds no purpose but to waste energy that's needed elsewhere.

Solution: switch existing streetlights with lights that use full light baffles (these baffles redirect light to where it belongs: on the street). This increases night lighting, reduces the problem of light trespass (unwanted light, say, shining in your bedroom window), and may reduce the need of using some streetlights as the light use is more efficient which can reduce power consumption.

This is a win/win situation for both taxpayers (think less taxes on streetlights) and police. It also will ensure that our kids can enjoy the night sky, and its not just reduced to just a planetarium.

For home owners: you can do your part as well. Remember 50% of lighting is wasted, it goes into the sky where it has no use to illuminate your yard. Despite even using flourescent or sodium lighting, you're still wasting 50% of your light bill. There are now companies that make full baffle lights for home owners. You'll get the same benefits as before, but without the waste.

Businesses: you know the bottom line. Why waste profit? If the light is purely wasted, it's like paying double to your supplier for nothing but a smile. No one wants to compromise security, so how about increasing it with less money spent on the electric bill, too?

For more information on how to address the issue in your own locale, retrofit your home, and business:

http://www.darksky.org/

http://www.darksky.org/programs/

Let's reclaim the night sky, and let the our kids have a chance to touch the stars!

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Good thought, GA.

For several years now we have been specifying all dark sky full cut-off lighting for our projects. However, on these boards it's a tough sell. It seems that most people want to see cities lit up like Times Square or Vegas.

Unfortunately, dramatic uplighting is "in", no one wants to talk about uplighting's dirty little secret.

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Like with many things, folks just don't know about this stuff. If I didn't learn about it, I would've thought more light = better security, too.

As an amateur astronomer who struggles to even SEE a star anywhere near 30 degrees or less from the horizon (30 degrees can be roughly measured as taking a hand and spreading the fingers, and on top of the pinkie, a unspread hand. With this orange haze, 30 degrees and below is unviewable. Some of the most interesting celestial bodies lie near the horizon, too), enough is enough! Seeing the entire night sky with a narrow band filter is just plain wrong - it's not natural and an unnecessary expense.

Parents and adults have a duty to pass on to our kids the pleasures we had that were passed on from out parents, and their parents. Robbing kids of their birthright is a crime.

There's no finer gift from God than the heavens. Viewing them is literally reaching into His Kingdom and sampling the beauty and splendor of His handiwork. It's not something for mankind to just throw away to make something look pretty on Earth, because what's up in the night sky is even more grand to gaze upon.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

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I can't tell you the last time I've seen a single star ANYWHERE in the sky. The night sky is a mix of orange and blue. The only celestial body I can see sometimes is the Moon. It would be nice to see some stars somewhere closer than Pennsylvania!

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Beyond just the loss of stargazing, it is simply wasted light and electricity (and by extension, causing other forms of pollution).

I know a neighborhood in downtown Charlotte is switching all of their lightpost from poor lighting design lamps from the 70s, which did not focus much of its light on the ground, to the "Six-sided Traditional" seen here:

http://www.dukepower.com/ncres/products/li...ducts/lighting/

It is designed to be attractive, but also to focus its light entirely on the street rather than waste it on the sky. That way there is more security benefit, and less waste.

However, it doesn't make up for all of the neighborhoods that use the one listed as 'Acorn', which is basically just a plastic top that inevitably falls off at some point. Not only does the heat of the lamps certainly do funny things to that plastic to cause pollution, the most of the light unabashedly goes toward the sky!

Duke Power is a horrible corporate citizen in our part of the country for land use, architecture, and environmental stewardship, and it is sad to see them even offer the designs that clearly waste most of their light. However, given how horrible they are normally, maybe I should simply be relieved that they offer the other models.

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This is a great topic. I have noticed over the years the ambient light in the night sky is so bad now that it really isn't necessary to have street lights in most cases. I think everyone could do their part by not installing yard lighting.

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I was down in New Mexico a few weeks ago on top of a mountain at over 9000ft in elevation, far removed from any city lights. It was amazing, I have NEVER seen anything like it, the sky was on fire there were so many stars. I stood outside for a half hour just staring up because as your eyes became adjusted, you saw more and more. It was absolutely breathtaking. Granted those are ideal conditions, but it really made me realize what we are missing with all this light pollution.

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Even though I'm in the city of Austin, I'm also in the hills where we don't have many shopping strips or large neighborhoods, so I can see all the stars in the sky. Most of the people in my neighborhood never turn on their porch lights at night. Sometimes I just walk the streets looking up at the sky, it's quite peaceful and mesmerizing. I can also look over the horizon between two large hills and see the glow from downtown, but it doesn't affect my view of the night sky. When the moon isn't in sight, it gets quite dark and the stars look really bright. Everyone should be able to enjoy this.

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Lighting up city sky lines is what this country is about now. Its apart of the citys night life witch is just as important the day life. Night lighting barley uses any energy at all, this is a concern about nothing.

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Lighting up city sky lines is what this country is about now. Its apart of the citys night life witch is just as important the day life. Night lighting barley uses any energy at all, this is a concern about nothing.

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I can say my city has had a light ordinance for a while now. Unfortunately the other cities in my metro haven't followed but at least it's a start.

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How do LEDs fit into the picture? Do they damage the night sky as much as normal bulbs? I wonder this because LEDs seem to glow moreso than shine.

Could the same night-time dazzling, lit city be achieved using primarily LEDs and doing less damage to night sky visibility?

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