Light Pollution

Light pollution from improper outdoor lighting wastes billions of dollars and vast quantities of natural resources annually. Starry Night Lights is committed to fighting light pollution and restoring our heritage of star-filled skies. We offer the widest selection of night sky friendly outdoor lighting for your home or business.

Lights out! Jasper National Park to be named world’s largest dark-sky preserve

Posted on March 11, 2011 by Noel

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The Milky Way appears to explode from Athabasca Glacier along the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park, the largest dark sky preserve in Canada.
Photograph by: Yuichi Takasaka, edmontonjournal.com

EDMONTON — Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent will formally proclaim Alberta’s Jasper National Park the world’s largest dark-sky preserve on Friday.

“It’s very seldom when I say we should celebrate the fact that we’re in the dark, but I think in this case there is reason to pop a cork or two,” he said from Ottawa this week.

A dark-sky preserve — an area in which no artificial light is visible and measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution — are officially recognized by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to offer the public observing sites for night-sky viewing.

At 11,228 square kilometres, Jasper National Park will eclipse the combined total of the rest of the world’s dark-sky preserves, which add up to only one-fifth of the Jasper total.

Of the 11 preserves in Canada, eight are national parks or national historic sites.

Nearly all of south-central Alberta has some degree of light pollution. But most of Jasper National Park has excellent clear skies with no light pollution, Kent said.

And unlike some of the remote dark-sky preserves elsewhere in Canada or the world, it is also highly accessible to the public

Kent said the designation won’t force any changes on the town of Jasper, a popular tourist destination nestled in the Alberta Rockies with a population of about 5,000.

“The parks have always been quite strict in ensuring street lighting, commercial lighting and residential lighting is significantly less than one would find in most of our large urban centres,” he said. “We don’t allow the sorts of commercial signage, for example, or commercial lighting that you would find in a city like Edmonton, or Calgary or Vancouver or Toronto.”

Noting that people wouldn’t go to the town itself to do their observations, Kent said about 97 per cent of the park will be preserved dark space.

Kent confessed he gets a little lost in space when it comes to identifying constellations.

“Wherever I’ve been in the world in my former career as a journalist — and I’ve been in a lot of dark night situations in various parts of the world . . . I struggle when I get much beyond the big dipper and the little dipper and the North Star,” he said.

“But I love being in the company of folks with a deeper knowledge base who can point things out to me . . . And certainly the next time I pass through Jasper I’ll make sure there’s a skilled ranger who can set me straight on what’s where.”

Congratulations Jasper National Park on becoming internationally recognized as the world’s largest dark-sky preserve! More and more individuals from around the world are becoming increasingly aware of how bright our night skies are. News such as this shows a public interest in improving our skies and our lighting principles for future generations to come.

Let there be night!

Residents oppose plans for illuminated signs at Bridport Lidl

Posted on February 19, 2011 by Noel

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“RESIDENTS living near Lidl in St Andrew’s Road, Bridport are fighting plans for the new store’s illuminated signs.

A delegation spoke to Bridport Town councillors at their recent planning meeting saying the lights would be ‘large and orange and unacceptable’.

Amanda Lancashire, who lives less than 60 yards from the proposed lights, said they would shine directly into her window.

She also described the proposed illuminations as ‘big, brash and unacceptable’.

The store’s lights are already often on until after midnight and on again at 5.45am, she said.

Rita Turner said the signs would shine right into her property.

She said the store’s parking and external lights were already on far longer than they were supposed to be – well beyond the agreed half-an-hour before and after opening hours.

Mrs Turner said if they were already not abiding by the rules in their own planning application they were unlikely to do what they said with illuminated signs.

She added: “In a world where everyone is trying to cut down on electricity as well as light pollution it is totally unnecessary.”

Town councillors agreed to oppose the application on the grounds that the level of visual intrusion and light pollution the lights would cause were out of keeping both with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the conservation area.”

Given the outrage in this article, I can only surmise that the lighting proposal contained no shielding on the proposed light fixtures. If the proposed lights possess no shielding whatsoever, then they will pollute the night sky and lower people’s quality of life. Shield the lights, for clearer nights. It’s that simple. When lights possess proper shielding, less light fixtures are needed to produce the same effect from unshielded light fixtures. The store gets to illuminate its premises and residents will have no light trespassing on their premises. It’s a win-win situation.

Let there be night!

Mexico City Illuminates Heritage Park with Carmanah Technology’s Latest Solar LED Outdoor Streetlight: EG300-Series

Posted on February 12, 2011 by Noel

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“A historically significant heritage park located in Delegacion Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City, is illuminating its pathways with EG340 solar LED outdoor lighting systems designed by Carmanah Technologies (TSX: CMH). The EG300-series solar lighting system, the company’s latest product, was chosen by the City for the Parque Caneguin on the basis of lighting performance, aesthetic design, and cost savings achieved in installation. The EG300-series is specifically designed to meet requirements of lighting applications in sun-belt regions of the world. This order represents one of the initial launch installations within a key market for the new EG300-series product. Parque Caneguin is also recognized by the Insistuto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) as a Mexico City heritage site as well as being valued by the community as the “lungs” of the district.

Parque Caneguin, one of Mexico City’s largest urban parks, exhibits a number of important architectural and art deco examples from the 1920s. The park’s historical distinction by the City and community provided a unique set of challenges when pathway lighting improvements were explored. In combination with illuminating the park’s various historical attractions and classic architecture, increased after-hours lighting would provide tourists and the community with an increased sense of security and would lengthen the number of hours the park could be used each day. According to a representative for the City, the aesthetic form factor of the EG300-series would help blend into the overall look and feel of the central city green space as well as provide an installation that would preserve the integrity of the heritage site. Being powered entirely from the integrated solar panel, solar LED outdoor lighting systems eliminate the need to run cable through the park and can be installed faster than traditional grid-based streetlights.

The recommendation to enlist the EG340 solar LED outdoor lighting system to solve the park’s various challenges was made by local lighting agent, Industrial Rocava S.A. de C.V. “We knew Mexico, DF, was looking to install solar LED lighting in the Parque Caneguin and we felt strongly that the Carmanah EG340 was the right solution,” says Roberto Carrilo, Director for Rocava S.A. de C.V. “Once our client saw the aesthetic design, the focused light output of the EG340 lighting layout, and the strong reputation of Carmanah products, they agreed.”

Ideal for roadway, park and pathway applications, the EG300-series also features Dark-Sky friendly BetaLED fixtures, which inhibit light pollution and ‘sky glow’. During the day, the EG300-series will also stand as a visible symbol of the City and community’s joint commitment to eco-friendly infrastructure.

“With an increase in attention to sustainable lighting solutions, we are seeing a growing demand for solar LED lighting for outdoor applications,” said Ted Lattimore, Carmanah CEO. “As was the case with this installation, Carmanah solar LED lighting systems tend to stand out because of their ability to meet specified light output requirements and fit in aesthetically with their environment.””

Congratulations Mexico City! May you enjoy darker skies for future generations to come!

Let there be night!

UK adults need to sleep more, survey suggests

Posted on February 10, 2011 by Noel

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“People throughout the UK need to do more to spend time in their beds, the results of a YouGov survey have suggested.

The research group found that 23 per cent of people have six hours rest per night, while nine per cent revealed they get their head down for five hours or fewer.

On average, an adult in the UK rests for 6.9 hours, which is just below the recommended amount of seven hours.

Adults between the ages of 25 and 39 are the least likely to have enough shut-eye, as 65 per cent of this age group said they do not get enough hours per night.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England recently claimed that light pollution is having a negative impact on people’s sleeping patterns as they attempt to rest on their mattress.

It also explained how excessive light pollution can have an impact on wildlife all over the country.”

Light pollution hinders ones ability to sleep on a chemical level. Without darkness, our bodies can not produce serotonin. Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies, which aids in regulating our moods, appetites, sleep, muscle contractions, memory and learning. If something were to disrupt our serotonin levels, typically a telltale sign of disruption is depression. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Studies have proven a strong correlation between breast cancer and light pollution exists. Not only from an economic standpoint, does eliminating light pollution sound sound, but from a circadian rhythm (nearly all life on Earth, humans included) standpoint, it’s a no brainer.

Let there be night!

“Dark Skies – Why light pollution affects you”

Posted on February 4, 2011 by Noel

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“What does the loss of “Dark Skies” mean to you? Lincoln Hills Astronomy Group (LHAG) hosted the topic “Dark Skies –Why light pollution affects you”. It dealt with the quality sky verses sky glow. Jack Sales, special guest speaker, of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) presented it. LHAG began at 6:45PM, Wednesday in Presentation Hall at Kilaga Springs Lodge. For the presentation, Jack Sales explained that the mission of IDA is to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting. Did you know that your ability to sleep is affected by light pollution? Light pollution has been shown to adversely affect circadian rhythms of sleep patterns and hormonal cycles of many living things, including humans. Jack discussed the detrimental effects of light pollution and some alternatives to reduce these adverse effects. Have you noticed the urban sky glow increase? Jack showed that light pollution it is not just about the lack of stars in the sky. The stars are still there; it is just that we cannot see them because of light pollution. We learned what we might do to help. We learned what the loss of Dark Skies means to us. In a non-judgmental and sincere presentation Jack shared his vast knowledge of his topic. For more information call IDA at (520) 293-3198. The websites are www.skykeepers.org and www.darksky.org

Jack joined IDA in 1993 and in 1996 he started the first California Section. He retired from Federal Service in 2000 and became a full time IDA Volunteer. Jack received the Sacramento Environmental Commission Award; and he was the first recipient of the IDA Annual Award. A native of Sacramento, Jack has seen a dramatic change in the quality of our sky. He has been a member of Illuminating Engineering Society of Society of North America (IESNA) since 1999. Jack and his wife Beverly, a retired teacher and also a Sacramento native, have traveled the length of California for IDA. They bring educational materials, which have introduced thousands of individuals to the issue of light pollution.”

Well said, Jack. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Folks, light pollution continues to grow into menacing proportions everyday and if good people like Jack weren’t passionate for darker skies, our skies would be ever so brighter at night. Here’s what you can do: raise the issue of light pollution in your communities. Let your contempt for light pollution be known. Jack, continue to fight the good fight!

Let there be night!

HELP FIGHT LIGHT POLLUTION BY COUNTING STARS

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Noel


You could help fight light pollution by counting stars

“CPRE and the Campaign for Dark Skies are asking people across the United Kingdom to take part in their star count week, H&C has learned. We want to find out which part of the country has the darkest skies and where the most stars can be seen.

By taking part in their star count, you will be helping them to highlight the problem of light pollution which is spoiling the natural beauty of the night sky.

How to do your star count

You can choose any night during the week between 31 January and 6 February, one where there is no haze so you have the best chance of seeing stars. It will get dark from 7.00pm.

CPRE are asking people to count stars within the constellation of Orion to the west. The main area of the constellation is bounded by four bright stars – visit their website to find out how to identify Orion. Make a count of the number of stars you can see with the naked eye (not with telescopes). Complete the survey form at www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/landscape/light-pollution/start-count-week-2011 so they can plot the results on our star count map which they will publish on our website.”

Residents in the UK, this is your chance to participate in great nationwide study. By identifying the darkest skies, communities can plan accordingly to improve their night sky situation. Light pollution continues to shroud many urban areas around the globe and negatively affect human and animals alike. We can stop light pollution by identifying its immense presence and retrofit or update previous or new light fixtures with proper shielding. Without proper shielding, light can escape upwards into the sky – obfuscating our view.

Let there be night!

Stargazers chart Peak District light pollution

Posted on January 10, 2011 by Noel

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Light pollution in the Peak District is being measured with the public’s help.
The park authority wants residents and visitors to study the night sky and record how many stars they see.

Organisers are focusing on the distinctive constellation of Orion, asking observers to compare what they see with examples on their website.

By judging how many stars are visible in each report, the authority aims to compile a picture of how much artificial light is escaping.

The first phase of the project is under way, with a second part running from 28 January until 2 February.

Jane Chapman, the authority’s head of environment, heritage and recreation strategy, said: “Light pollution not only affects our enjoyment of the night sky, it wastes energy and has an impact on the wellbeing of people and wildlife.

“Unfortunately light pollution is increasing each year, so unless we act now future generations may grow up never experiencing a truly dark night sky.”

She added that information gathered would help formulate future policy.”

As it should.

Light pollution continues to taint our dark skies around the world, altering circadian rhythm creatures (nearly all life on Earth) and wasting a staggering amount of electricity. The heart of the problem lies in how we perceive our lighting fixtures. The rule of thumb for the past century, has been ‘more is better’. Naturally, as populations in cities increase, the need for additional light fixtures to illuminate said cities increases. Rather than using shielded light fixtures, most communities around the world chose unshielded light fixtures. As a consequence, communities must build ‘more than what is needed,’ to compensate for the loss of light from unshielded light fixtures. Though there is an easy fix: shielding. Utilizing shielding will reduce the number of said light fixtures, due to concentrating the light where it is needed most: downward. When the light is positioned downward, it uses its electricity more efficiently and its lumens more effectively. Retrofitting preexisting unshielded light fixtures with a shielding apparatus would do wonders. It would lower the wattage required for the bulb, consume less electricity and lower the amount of fixtures and repairs needed for these newly retrofitted lights. Whether retrofitting or outfitting your lighting needs, Starry Night Lights has what you need.

Let there be night!

By Jupiter! Comet dust and light from billions of stars and far-flung planets creates magnificent display in the desert night sky

Posted on December 29, 2010 by Noel


The night sky over the Libyan desert. Jupiter is the brightest spot in the sky

article source

“If you live in a city it is easy to forget there is a stunning star-scape above your head, which is hidden by light pollution.

But out in the Libyan desert, there is little to obscure your view.

Amateur photographer and civil engineer Tunc Tezel captured the glorious night sky above Ras Lanuf camp in Libya.

The 33-year-old from Turkey is overseeing a coastal railway construction between Sirt and Benghazi and was keen to take advantage of his isolated location.

Although a glowing sky is often cloud reflecting sun or moonlight, the flight running diagonally up to the right is created by the combined light from billions of stars that make up our local Milky Way Galaxy.

Mr Tezel took the image on December 7 an hour after sunset and managed to unveil zodiacal light as well. This is the sunlight reflected off tiny dust particles ejected by comets that orbit our Solar System.

He told the Mail Online: ‘I took six pictures as a 3×2 panorama, which I later constructed with image processing software to get the final view.

‘The brightest celestial object below centre is the Moon. Mercury is also visible to the lower left of the Moon and just above the horizon.

‘After the sky got dark enough, the Milky Way became visible, rising to the upper right from the southwest horizon. Thanks to the clear and transparent skies that evening, Zodiacal Light was also easily seen rising from to the upper left from the southwestern horizon.’

Mr Tezel, who has been an amateur astronomer since 1992 said his location on the northern tip of Africa was the ideal spot for capturing the night sky’s beauty.

‘From my southern location of Libya (30 degrees North), the Milky Way and Zodiacal Light stood nicely symmetrical,’ he said.

‘From farther north, Milky way would stand more upright as Zodiacal Light would be nearly invisible as it would make a very shallow angle with the horizon.’

Mr Tezel is part of an organisation called The World At Night or TWAN. The group’s main aim of TWAN is to produce and present a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions.”

Another beautiful evening captured on camera. Such a sight is not a dream nor impossible to achieve. In fact, quite the contrary. How? Easy. We must change how we fundamentally approach lighting. We must abandon the notion, ‘more light deters more criminals.’ Simply put, it’s ineffective. Increased lighting actually encourages deviants, miscreants and criminals to commit vandalism, robbery or public disturbances. A solution to such a problem, would be to utilize preexisting motion sensor technology. If darkness surrounds an area and a light immediately turns on, the eye can identify the said area almost instantaneously, rather than being potentially blinded in over illuminated areas. Following the archaic notion of ‘more is better,’ we must utilize and follow proper light fixture shielding to eliminate unnecessary light sources. Properly shielded light fixtures directs the light where it is needed most, downward – effectively eliminating light pollution 100%. By eliminating light pollution, we retroactively improve the health of all creatures possessing circadian rhythms, rest easier and reclaim our night skies.

Let there be night!

CITY LIGHT POLLUTION AFFECTS AIR POLLUTION (CONT.)

Posted on December 19, 2010 by Noel

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Excess light at night can contribute to air pollution, according to a study by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. Findings presented at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Monday indicate that uplight from outdoor lighting that contributes to sky glow over cities also interferes with chemical reactions that naturally clean the air during nighttime hours.

Every night, chemicals from vehicle exhaust and other human created sources are broken down and prevented from becoming smog, ozone, or other irritants by a form of nitrogen oxide called the nitrate radical. Sunlight destroys the naturally occurring nitrate radical, so this process occurs only in hours of darkness.

Measurements taken over Los Angeles by aircraft show that light pollution from cities is suppressing the radical. Though the lights are 10,000 dimmer than the Sun, the study’s first results indicate that city lights can slow down the nighttime cleansing by up to 7% and they can increase the starting chemicals for ozone pollution the next day by up to 5%.

As many cities are close to their limits of allowable ozone levels, this news is expected to generate immediate interest in light pollution reduction as a way to improve air quality among city, state, and federal bodies, including the Environmental Protection Agency.

“[This effect] is more important up in the air than it is directly on the ground so if you manage to keep the light pointing downward and not reflected back up into sky, into the higher parts of the air, then you would certainly have a much smaller effect of this,” NOAA investigator Harald Stark told BBC News.

International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Executive Director Bob Parks is hopeful that results of this study will encourage cities to adopt environmentally responsible dark sky lighting practices that include using fully shielded fixtures, minimum lighting levels, and lighting only when necessary. “The impending transition to LED outdoor lighting will also allow cities to utilize adaptive lighting controls to dim or turn off lights when not needed. Not only will this vastly reduce energy consumption, based on this new research, it could also improve air quality. This reinforces IDA’s long term goal to reduce total lumens in the environment,” says Parks.

Starting in 2008, IDA has held yearly educational briefings for both houses of U.S. Congress to raise federal awareness of light pollution. After the 2008 event, eleven members of Congress signed a letter to EPA Administrator Johnson requesting support for research and education on the environmental, health, and safety effects artificial light at night. On 9 October 2008 EPA was petitioned to review light pollution to monitor and reduce atmospheric discoloration of the night sky under the Clean Air Act. The EPA has made no formal response to the petition.

So there you have it. Albeit a more detailed article, the message is the same: light pollution increases air pollution. Installing proper shielding on light fixtures is a cost effective way to eliminate air pollution, as well as reduce our energy consumption. Perhaps, this breakthrough will help garner more public attention towards more intelligent lighting designs and the importance of shielded lights. Dark-sky advocates, chalk this up as a win.

Let there be night!

BOS approves revised streetlight policy

Posted on December 8, 2010 by Noel

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“The Board of Supervisors last week approved a revised streetlight policy intended to improve energy efficiency, cut light pollution and help decrease projected increases in operating costs. Since its introduction on July 28, the policy revision has been tweaked in response to supervisor concerns. At the Dec. 1 meeting, William Dupler, interim deputy county administrator for community development, said the staff had been working diligently on the revision and to address supervisors concerns. Three issues prompted the policy’s revision, he said in July: Renewed interest in energy conservation and light pollution, the fact that the policy was last revised in 1988 and increasing costs.

“In our current environment, controlling costs is really going to be imperative for the continuing viability of our community,” he said. “If we can direct our illumination on the ground, it’s a much more efficient use of energy, much more efficient use of our resources.” Currently, the county spends about $644,700 a year operating and maintaining streetlights, a staff report on the revision says. At the current pace, those costs are expected to double as early as 2016, and increase by more than $1 million by 2020, the report says.

According to a summary of the revised policy, a streetlight will be required at the entrance to any new subdivision or subdivision section where the entrance forms an intersection. Developers will pay for the installation, and pay a fee equivalent to the five-year cost to the county for the type of light installed. Additional lighting will be the responsibility of the developer or homeowners associations and will not be added to the county’s streetlight program.

In new commercial and industrial developments, a streetlight will be required at road entrances and exits. Developers will pay for the installation, and pay a fee equivalent to the five-year cost to the county for the type of light installed. Additional lighting will be the responsibility of the developer or operator and will not be added to the county’s streetlight program. In existing residential areas or developments, streetlights should be located at intersections. A requested streetlight that costs less than $300 can be approved by staff. After making a motion to adopt the policy revisions, Matoaca Supervisor Marleen Durfee thanked Dupler “for being patient with the board” throughout the process. Dale Supervisor Jim Holland said he appreciated the hard work that went into the revision.”

It’s astounding how a small change in policy can have such a large impact on communities. When you direct street lights and home property lights downward, it saves not only you energy, but the community as well. In addition, having less street light fixtures, though shielded, can offer the same amount of illumination than additional, more traditional light fixtures would have provided. Rightfully so, if a homeowner wishes to install additional light fixtures on their property, they’re certainly entitled to it, though they should be properly shielded – especially if the community wishes to maintain congruency. That’s the simple truth of the matter: shielded light fixtures eliminate light pollution 100%. As more and more communities across the globe continue to reevaluate their energy budgets, shielding preexisting or newly built light fixtures is an extremely cost effective solution. Once a light is shielded, the only thing requiring additional maintenance would be replacing the bulb itself. We can do this!

Let there be night!

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