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.

5 Ways the Gulf Spill Has Impacted Wildlife

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Anthony

5 Ways the Gulf Spill Has Impacted Wildlife

On April 20, 2010, a drilling rig explosion occurred setting off the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This massive ongoing oil spill fast became the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. While much of the damage is obvious, the disaster is so far-reaching that we will not recognize the full extent of it for many years to come. Perhaps the area where this is most obvious is in the way the spill affects wildlife.

5. Reptiles

The Gulf Coast serves as the habitat for many types of reptiles. These reptiles require the coast because it provides them shelter and a source of food. It also serves as their breeding grounds. For sea turtles like the green turtle and the loggerhead, nesting season looms. It is clear that these animals will not be able to breed normally. There will be changes, but the long-term affect of those changes remains a mystery.

4. Fish

Most varieties of fish are highly mobile within their environment, and thus able to avoid at least the initial affects of the spill. However, the oil exposure is lethal to the eggs and larvae of marine animals, and in these stages, they are not yet mobile enough to avoid it. Scientists expect fluctuations in fish populations, but to what extent, it is not yet clear. Despite their mobility, there will be an effect on adult populations. Traces of oil in the water will break down their immune systems over time.

3. Mammals

Like fish, marine animals have been able to avoid the spill in some ways. However, mammals like the bottlenose dolphins and sperm whales must come up for air. When they do, they often come into contract with the fumes and oil on the surface of the water. On the shore, there are semi-aquatic and terrestrial animals like rabbits, mink, and otters, which are losing their food sources and habitats.

2. Birds

It is with the birds that we have been able to witness the greatest damage. Animals such as the pelican and egret are losing buoyancy and their ability to keep warm. In the short-term, this can mean death. If they manage to survive, the long-term brings lesions, liver damage, ulcers, and other life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, there is more tragedy in store for the Gulf Coast as it serves as a critical stopover for a large variety of migratory birds.

1. Ecosystem

The Gulf region provides 20% of U.S. commercial seafood production. It also produces 75% of U.S. shrimp output, 40% of oysters, and 35% of blue craw crabs. However, the spill will devastate the populations of these animals, and officials must shut down vital fishing areas in order to test for contamination. The damage doesnít end with the fishing areas. Oil is compromising the soil via the marshes and wetlands. The oil is reducing the growth of marsh grass, which is a vital food source for wildlife throughout the area.

Sadly, these five effects are just the beginning. In the days to come, scientists will study the effects more thoroughly. The answers they uncover are certain to be awe-inspiring and heart wrenching.

Louise baker is a freelance writer who currently writes about online degree programs for Zen College Life.

The future of astronomy

Posted on July 30, 2010 by Noel

Source

“What does the future of astronomy hold in an age fraught with excessive light pollution, a waning public interest in space exploration and a seriously impacted budget? The position held by many astronomers both amateur and professional alike is one of cautious optimism. The current shift in astronomy is encouraging the private sector to move in with the ultimate goal of commercialization both spaceflight and space exploration and as most of us know where there’s money to be made there’s progress.”

There’s so much to look forward to coming up in the next ten years such as the launch of the giant webb telescope (termed Hubbles successor) and the use of adaptive optics in large observatory telescopes (manipulating a telescopes mirror to compensate for the distortions imposed by the Earths own atmosphere) not to mention the development of what is at present still quite a young science, exoplanet detection. As the sophistication of technology seems to be accelerating without an end in sight, the following 10 years should be even more exciting than the next decade. In short things can only get better!

These are some fascinating yet challenging times we live in. Technological breakthroughs, environmental problems, human longevity, extinct species, etc. Traditionally, Astronomers utilized telescopes from the ground of the Earth. With increasing amounts of light pollution being emitted into the sky, land based Astronomy is quickly becoming an increasingly difficult task to accomplish. Fortunately, space technologies has allowed humans to create space telescopes, which are unaffected by light pollution. Even though it’s possible to study and even capture images from space, space telescopes are significantly more expensive to build, maintain and repair. Yes, having both land and space telescopic assets are ideal, but current lighting trends suggest that may not be the case. Sure, there are dark sky sanctuaries around the globe, but is that good enough? I say nay, because once you’ve seen a pristine dark sky, you will always yearn for its return. To think, in any major metropolitan city, to see all the stars at night, how incredible that would be. Alas, metropolitan areas around the world are quite the contrary. But to think, the possibility of achieving that, seems unrealistic – no? Believe it or not, it’s really not. Unlike most environmental problems, light pollution is 100% reversible. How cool is that?

Let there be night!

Less energy, more light quality – Russian cities gleam with LEDs from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors

Posted on July 28, 2010 by Noel


Kemerovo in Siberia is converting to street lighting with Golden Dragon Oval Plus LED from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors on a broad scale. (Press picture: OSRAM)

Source

“Kemerovo in Siberia is converting to street lighting with LEDs by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors on a broad scale. The city of 520,000 inhabitants on the Trans-Siberian Railway has installed 200 street luminaires made by LLC TD Focus, which are equipped with Golden Dragon Oval Plus LEDs. The city can therefore achieve significant savings in energy costs and CO2 emissions.

Two hundred LLC TD Focus street luminaires of the USS-90 Magistral type with OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ LED technology have already been installed at various locations in Kemerovo. Another 200 luminaires will also be put up in the neighbouring village of Neftebazy and in Leninsk-Kusnetsky.

Ninety Golden Dragon Oval Plus LED are used per luminaire. These LEDs have been developed specifically for street lighting and meet the special requirements for an efficient lighting solution without light pollution. The Golden Dragon Oval Plus has a special directional characteristics based on an integrated, durable silicon lens. The LED light is only aimed at the parts of roads or squares that have to be lit.

The range of color temperatures and shades of white that light-emitting diodes offer meet the various lighting requirements at individual locations. From cold white (5,000 to 6,500K) to neutral or warm white (2,700 to 5,000K) the right solution is available for every application. Light output is on average between efficient 65 to 95lm/W.

Robust, weatherproof and economical

LED street lighting is also well prepared for adverse weather conditions with freezing temperatures, rain, ice and snow: their operating life and radiant power even increase as temperatures fall. Compared with conventional solutions using 150W sodium high-pressure discharge lamps the USS-90 Magistral streetlamp with a total power consumption of only 105W requires far less energy. For the local authority this means savings of more than $20,000 a year. Plus, the luminaires emit more than 200kg less of CO2 annually. With the LEDs’ durability they can also reduce their maintenance costs considerably.

But it is not just the energy balance compared with conventional lighting solutions that looks impressive – both the even illumination and good quality light improve perception of objects and therefore increase safety. The LEDs’ small size also gives lighting manufacturers greater design opportunities.

Martin Wittmann, marketing manager of solid-state lighting at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors explains: “With their great efficiency, long life and low maintenance, lighting solutions based on LED soon pay for themselves. This protects not only the public households but the environment as well.”"

Indeed, the energy savings from using energy efficient light bulbs are quite noticeable, but what about the lighting fixtures themselves? Is it important to use proper lighting fixtures to house these energy efficient light bulbs? Absolutely! In fact, I’d argue proper lighting fixtures take precedent over energy efficient light bulbs. Why? Simple. If a light lacks shielding, then a light will leak into the sky. This phenomenon is known as light pollution. Regrettably, light pollution litters much of the night sky around the globe, due to poor lighting principles. Shielding directs the light downward where it’s needed. In addition, when the light is focused downward, it becomes more concentrated, ergo a smaller light bulb would perceptibly emit more light. High wattage bulbs, for the most part, would be unnecessary. Incorporating motion sensors with high efficiently light bulbs and shielded lighting principles, would further reduce not only our electrical footprint, but also the ‘criminal-footprint’. Studies have indicated that motion-sensorsed fixtures deter crime better than excessive, constant light. From an environmental, an economic and a fiancial standpoint, the choice should be obvious. Shielded lighting fixtures + energy efficient light bulbs + motion sensors = an efficient, environmentally conscious solution to a 100% solvable problem. Here at Starry Night Lights, we take pride in the fact that all our products are 100% shielded. Guaranteed. Reading this post is the first step towards a brighter future.

Let there be night!

UC supports Thirty Meter Telescope project, with new observatory in Hawaii to be completed in 2018

Posted on July 19, 2010 by Noel


TMT CORPORATION

The University of California will be one of the many organizations spearheading the University of Hawai’i’s construction of the world’s largest telescope, as depicted above.

Source

“Mauna Kea summit in Hawaii will soon be home to another major project to join the University of California’s latest telescopic venture.

University of California Observatories – the Lick Observatory founded in 1888, and the W.M. Keck Observatory which began observations in 1993 – both housed the most advanced telescopes of their time, said Michael Bolte, director of the UC Observatories and professor at UC Santa Cruz. The university will continue to spearhead discoveries in the field with the Thirty Meter Telescope project, to be built atop the Mauna Kea summit in Hawaii.

When completed in 2018, the telescope will be the world’s largest and most capable, allowing astronomers to study the solar system and other galaxies at the border of the observable universe.

The University of California will be one of the many organizations spearheading the University of Hawai’i’s construction of the world’s largest telescope, as depicted above.

On June 28, the University of Hawai’i Board of Regents approved construction of the observatory.
The project is a partnership of the University of California, California Institute of Technology and Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy. Japan and China also signed on to participate in 2008 and 2009, and India signed on in June.”

Stargazing has been a human activity for centuries. Cultures from all over the world have studied its majesty, created stories, myths and tales, navigated the seas or used as a form of leisurely activity. It is truly, a quintessential human activity. Regrettably, many areas around the globe today can no longer see the Milky Way galaxy our ancestors once saw nightly. Many travel to rural parts, national parks or isolated areas to view untainted, pristine skies. These refuges from our modern world exist as a reminder to humans, that we are a part of nature rather than apart from it. Time will tell if these places continue to harbor pristine dark skies. Fortunately, technologies exist today that could eliminate light pollution 100%. Shielded lighting allows various lighting fixtures to shine their light where it’s needed most: downward. We have the technology, though we seem to lack the initiative to retrofit our outdated light fixtures. Though you, the reader of this blog post, possess at least some initiative by visiting or perhaps reading this blog post. Starry Night Lights is proud to offer various outdoor / indoor, 100% shielded, lighting fixtures, styles or voltage transformers for any home or place of business.

Corrected Light-Pollution Atlas

Posted on July 16, 2010 by Noel


Here are two light-pollution maps of the Northeast stretching from Washington, DC at bottom to Montreal at top. The one at left was based on satellite observations with snow on the ground, while the one at right was snow-free.
David Lorenz


In the newly calculated atlas, the northern U.S. averages a full zone darker than in the old. That corresponds to a 3-fold reduction in skyglow.
David Lorenz

Source

“David Lorenz published data that very strongly suggest that the original Light Pollution Atlas was systematically biased by the fact that snow was on the ground when the underlying satellite measurements were taken. Lorenz recalculated the light pollution for the U.S. and southern Canada based on snow-free satellite observations, and the whole northern part of the area came out roughly one full zone darker. That means that the original atlas overestimate the skyglow in this area by a factor of three.”

These findings are certainly enlightening. David Lorenz sheds some light on the bias of the first original findings, that is, of a large-scale map of North America. To be fair, yes, the first picture above does seem rather drastic. But as the second picture shows, the recalculated data shows minimal changes in the larger metropolitan areas. That is not to say that these new measurements suggest light pollution isn’t the villain it is. Quite the contrary, actually. I welcome David Lorenz’s work with open arms, for science always encourages truth and accuracy [at least in theory]. The weather certainly affected the measurements in the first photograph, there is no doubt about that, but the new data now seems to suggest or question: how can we make precise measurements light pollution measurements, given the fact that the weather can influence the data? Again, I applaud David Lorenz’s work for its increased accuracy compared to the first photograph. Keep up the good work!

In light of these new findings, has anything changed on the light pollution front? Will people consider light pollution ‘less of a problem’ that it really is? Maybe. Why? Well, perhaps some people may think that the problem was ‘exaggerated’ and therefore, it is to be perceived more lightly or less ‘crucial’. Consider the future though. Population continues to increase and the need for illumination will most certainly increase. Light pollution will only get worse, not better over time, if current trends continue. Personally, the collected data on the effects of light pollution speaks for itself.

Let there be night!

In search of dark nights

Posted on July 14, 2010 by Noel


Nights dark enough for star-gazing are important not just for astronomy, but for the health of many species. (CORBIS)

Source

“Researchers presenting their work at Edmonton added further examples of species affected by brightness in various ways. Some, like the turtles and migrating birds, become visually bewildered, whereas others, such as voles, can have their circadian or seasonal rhythms disrupted by artificially lengthened days, leading to rising levels of stress hormones.

Speakers also showed evidence that frogs and snail larvae grow at different rates under natural and artificial light. Beach mice on bright shorelines may have to restrict the areas in which they forage, to avoid predators. Salamanders, too, are reluctant to leave their hideaways at night under the glare of artificial light, and certain bats won’t fly in bright areas, which limits and lengthens their commutes to food.

Not all lights have the same effects. Astronomers and conservationists are looking closely at the increasing popularity of LED lights, for instance. LEDs are more energy efficient than many alternatives, which carries environmental benefits. But LEDs that include light from all wavelengths are also closer to sunlight than traditional bulbs and are therefore more disruptive to many species.”

Not every lighting fixture is created equal. Today, the majority of lighting fixtures spanning across the globe are based on archaic lighting principles, such as unshielded lighting designs, high wattage/inefficient light bulbs usage and the ‘more light, the better’ mentality. Though a superior option exists, many still adhere to these dated principles. The superior option, is this: fewer, motion-detector-shielded-lighting-fixtures utilizing energy efficient light bulbs. This setup is optimal because the light shines where/when it is needed most (downward), costs substantially less to maintain/operate and protects living creatures, humans included, from the effects of light pollution. All our lighting fixtures at Starry Night Lights are 100% shielded and come in all shapes and sizes.

Let there be night!

Lights out for Kejimkujik

Posted on July 12, 2010 by Noel


Leonid meteors streak through the sky over Kejimkujik National Park. The park has been declared a dark sky preserve. (Len Wagg)

Source

“We’re really excited about the designation and the recognition of the ability to protect nocturnal ecology and the quality of our dark skies” – Jonathan Sheppard, visitor experience and product development officer for Kejimkujik

“It gives people a safe place to go where they can observe the night sky in its natural state. We’re fortunate to have such a resource, especially two hours away from an urban centre. . . . There are other places (in the province) that are probably as dark, but the point of having a national dark sky preserve is to have an accessible place.” – Dave Chapman, members of the Halifax centre of the society

“The plans include public astronomy programming, light-pollution control in the park and an interpretation program that will explore the significance of the night sky in Mi’kmaq cultural history.There are dark sky preserves at other national and provincial parks in Canada, including Kougibouguac and Mount Carleton in New Brunswick. Kejimkujik has designated several observing sites in the main part of the park, as well as a backcountry site, Sheppard said. Public observing programs will be held at these sites in conjunction with the society. As well, traditional light fixtures around these sites will be replaced with those that curb light glare. The society will officially present officials with the park’s dark sky preserve designation in early August.”

Another win for darker skies in Canada – well done! As every year passes, more and more dark sky refuges are being erected across the globe. People, particularly of a certain vintage, know what the Milky Way Galaxy looks like. They’re the ones fighting at the frontlines, rid the world of light pollution. Some may believe it’s their civic duty to do so; some want their children to see what they saw as a kid; some derive much joy and pleasure from watching the heavens above. Whilst their individual reasons may differ, their vision remains true. No more worldwide light pollution. Many people born within the past decade are statistically destined to hardly, if ever see the Milky Way galaxy in their lifetime. Starry Night Lights honors those who have fought and continue to fight against light pollution. It is a scourge and should be eradicated. Keep up the good work!

Let there be night!

Light Pollution: A Growing Problem for Wildlife

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Noel

Source

“The most well known light pollution effects are on migratory birds. Bright lights distract and often disorient the birds, drawing them off course and sometimes leading them to fly into the sides of buildings.But migratory animals are not the only victims. Night-foraging creatures, such as bats and mice, rely on the darkness to either hunt or provide protection from predators.The “permanent full moon” effect makes these animals more vulnerable to being eaten, and the sometimes adapt by spending less time foraging away from their dens.The more researchers uncover about the startling effects of light pollution, the more obvious it is that something needs to change in the way humans use and direct light.”

“We’ve turned major swathes of the globe into permanent full moon, or more.” – Travis Longcore, organizer of the conference and director of the California-based Urban Wildlands Group

I find it rather curious how little we as a species know regarding the implications of our actions. Often, an immediate solution may become a maturing problem or an immediate problem may become a maturing solution. Weighing the importance of our options can often leave one ambivalent, confounded with unending, limitless possibilities. How can we foresee or know for sure that our actions are balanced in accordance to Nature? Is it even possible for us to achieve this balance?

Forgive the brief musing above, but consider this fact: creatures possessing a circadian rhythm are negatively affected by light pollution. The day-night cycle governs over most life on Earth, humans included. Think about that for a moment. Everyday, light pollution continues to blanket more of the night sky around the globe, dwindling the viewable stars above and depriving billions of a distinctly human activity. Compounding environmental problems have been changing Earth for centuries. The compounding evidence speaks for itself, but it’s up to us if we wish to actively change these problems. Granted, some may argue that there are some indelible problems. If that is the case, let us focus on revitalizing our planet by solving solvable problems and heed our mistakes. For starters, light pollution is 100% reversible. Shielded lighting prevents light from escaping into the sky above. This is an easy fix to an otherwise large scale problem. Starry Night Lights is and will always be proud to be a part of the solution.

Let there be night!

Reflecting The Stars Diffuses NYC’s Light Pollution

Posted on July 7, 2010 by Noel


Image source

Article source

“The Windmill Factory, a New York-based organization that partners with corporations, non-profits and arts groups to address environmental causes, has proposed a concept taking on the galaxy above the city.

Reflecting The Stars is an interactive, LED-powered project that will raise awareness and teach prevention techniques for light pollution. The installation will take place among 250 decaying pier posts in New York City’s Pier 49 in Manhattan, illuminating and reflecting the patterns of the night sky.

From August-November, 2010, hundreds of solar-powered wireless LED lamps are planned to be installed along the waterway, and visitors will rediscover star formations by pressing buttons on shoreline plaques that will interrupt each lighting group to reveal various constellations.

Light pollution is a timely issue, as many propose that the night sky will vanish in the contiguous United States by 2025. Already, one fifth of the world can no longer see the milky way due to impending city lights or air pollution.

Over the course of the three month installation, RTS expects 2.5 million viewers, 828 shining hours, and 23,040 people interacting with the exhibit.”

Many artists, poets, philosophers and scientific minds have been inspired with awe from gazing upon the Milky way – for centuries. Most of us will certainly not be as prolific as these brilliant minds, but one thing we have shared in common throughout history, has been the heavens above. Appreciating the night sky above, I would argue, is a human universal or a part of what it is to be ‘human’. It may cause one to muse, reflect, relax, etc. Whatever the case, something cognitive is happening. Art can be a powerful outlet for contemporary social commentary. As the article suggests, Reflecting The Stars will be doing just that. Although no mention of shielded lighting is to be found in the article, I sincerely hope that it is ‘implied’. I think all too often, articles or even individuals, will claim new lighting retrofits-which are great-without mentioning if the lighting fixtures are shielded. I can not stress enough how crucial shielded fixtures are to proper lighting. Without proper shielding, even the most energy efficient bulbs still emit woeful amounts of light pollution.

I am proud to say that Starry Night Lights carries and will only carry 100% shielded light fixtures. Period. We are passionate about our dark skies and will continue to fight the good fight against all forms of light pollution!

Let there be night!

Extinction Risk: Sea Turtles Face Gulf Oil Disaster, Hurricane

Posted on July 5, 2010 by Noel

“Last week, reports indicated that Gulf sea turtles were even burned alive as BP tried to corral and burn off oil before it reached the shore.

With your help, we can make a difference for the imperiled sea turtles of the Gulf. Your donation will help us…

* Fight in court to save sea turtles and other wildlife threatened by the Gulf oil disaster. Defenders – and our partners at the Southern Environmental Law Center – were the first to serve notice on BP that we will take them to court to ensure the greatest safeguards possible for sea turtles protected by the Endangered Species Act and to hold the company responsible for the loss of sea turtles and other wildlife.

* Stop the next drilling disaster. We’ve mobilized more than 113,000 caring individuals like you in our efforts to stop dangerous new offshore drilling that could further threaten sea turtles and other coastal wildlife and we’re working with allies in Congress and fighting in the courts to stop risky drilling in the Gulf, off the coast of Alaska and off the coasts of Atlantic states like North Carolina.

* Work on the ground to save sea turtles. We’ve recruited hundreds of people in Florida for beach clean-ups to speed recovery efforts as oil strikes the beaches of the Sunshine State. We’re also coordinating efforts with refuge managers, officials on the federal response team and wildlife rehabilitation professionals. And our hazmat-trained Florida team is on call, prepared to assist with cleanup and restoration efforts to protect our sea turtles and other wildlife.”

The good folks at the Defenders of Wildlife urge individuals around the world to become aware of the catastrophic damage caused by the BP oil spill. As a proponent for conserving and protecting all wildlife, DoF need your support to help offset the damage done to the gulf sea turtles. Sea turtle populations have been waning since the advent of misguided, unshielded lighting principles; yet sea turtles could possibly face extinction now due a new compounding problem: oil contamination. Help support these good folks by donating to a worthy cause, for the survival of these maritime creatures. Starry Night Lights is proud to carry 100% safe, sea turtle friendly lighting. We, at Starry Night Lights, support this organization and we hope you support them as well.

Let there be night!

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