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.

Nogales to shut off street lights

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Noel

Article source

“NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) – Nogales is turning off nearly 300 street lights. City officials say it not only conserves money and energy, it would also reduce light pollution.

The police department and public works identified 295 of Nogales’ more than 1,100 streetlights that could be turned off without affecting public or traffic safety.

The Nogales International reports street lights are going dark in residential and commercial areas.

In addition, the city of Nogales says it is teaming up with Unisource to replace existing light fixtures with more efficient models.

In a similar move, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted in August to stop paying for 879 street lights that were not designated as crucial to traffic safety.”

Why keep the lights on when they are not needed? This is a question many government municipalities have been asking themselves the past few years, especially since the global 2007 recession. When you leave unnecessary lights on for no one to use, who or what benefits? No one nor thing. It’s a waste of time, energy and money. Good move, Nogales. Turning off unnecessary lights will save the city money and energy. The next in reducing light pollution further, would be to utilize proper shielding on preexisting or new light fixtures. I think it’s fair to say that small changes often pave the way for larger changes and Nogales is a perfect example. More and more towns, cities and metropolises are reevaluating their lighting strategies. Though the primary concern is money and energy, I think clear night skies will start as a tertiary effect and quickly become a primary concern.

Let there be night!

Who flicks the switch?

Posted on September 27, 2010 by Noel

Dongbianmen in Dongcheng district illuminated Photo: CFP

Article Source

“Newly announced light pollution regulations fail to identify exactly who is responsible for enforcement, making most government departments appear more busy at ducking their responsibilities.

After drivers complained about distracting illuminated advertising billboards in Zhongguancun, environmental protection authorities and city patrol officers kept passing the buck and left the problem with no department, Beijing traffic radio reported last Friday.

Released Thursday, the city’s inaugural regulations on obstructive outdoor lights will become effective on December 1. Supervision is not mentioned, meaning responsibility for enforcement is effectively divvied up between the forestry, city administration commission, city security patrol and environment departments.

The regulations target commercial, entertainment and sports arena lighting that affects neighboring residents’ life and nighttime traffic safety, according to the Beijing Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision. The regulation also aims to promote energy efficiency and conservation: Light pollution not only causes health problems for residents, like failing eyesight and sleeping disorder, but is also a waste of energy, according to the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai.

The regulations also target trees: Any lighting containing harmful radiation will be banned and all bulbs must be less than 1 Watt each.”

Though a step in the right direction, this situation is a bureaucratic nightmare. Rather than have one organization regulate lighting ordinances, there are four different organizations, each with their own rules and limitations. Perhaps the strategy is to ‘divide and conquer’ – I don’t know. I do know that this proposition seems disorganized, given the fact that there is no central power to organize such a daunting task. Hopefully, prior to or shortly after December 1st, the Chinese government will perhaps reconsider its organizational strategy. Aside from that, a new lighting initiative in China is terrific news and as such, should be praised. Well done and best of luck!

Let there be night!

High-power light at night a carcinogen

Posted on September 24, 2010 by Noel

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“HAIFA, Israel, Sept. 6 (UPI) — Israeli researchers call “environmental light pollution,” or high-power light at night, a carcinogenic pollution.

Researchers at the Center for Interdisciplinary Chronobiological Research at the University of Haifa in Israel have linked light at night, especially environmental light pollution to greater cancer growth. They suggest this is due to lessened production of melatonin — a hormone released by the pineal gland during the dark hours of the day.

Study leader Abraham Haim and colleagues divided lab mice injected with cancerous cells into four groups: Long days — 16 hours of light/ 8 hours of darkness; long days but treated with melatonin; short days — 8 hours light/16 dark hours — and short days but exposed to a half-hour of light during the dark hours.

The study found the smallest cancerous growths in mice with short days. Mice with short days but exposed to light during dark hours had larger growths — averaging a cubic half-inch. The mice exposed to long days had growths averaging 2 cubic inches.

However, “long days” mice treated with melatonin had small tumors — similar in size to those of “short days” mice. Melatonin-treated mice — versus untreated mice — had significantly lower death rates.

“Exposure to light at night disrupts our biological clock and affects the cyclical rhythm that has developed over hundreds of millions of evolutionary years that were devoid of light at night,” the researchers said in a statement.”

Having a good night sleep, can determine whether you have a pleasant day or not. Over time, if the body is denied a good night sleep, the body and the mind begin to feel sluggish. When the brain can not produce enough melatonin at night, the brain is convinced it’s still day time. Considering this new study and proliferation of light in cities around the world, this is quite enlightening. Light pollution accelerates cancerous growths.

Let there be night!

Street lights to be switched off at night

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Noel

“The Conservative-controlled council has controversially decided to turn off or dim street-lights to save cash and energy.

But opposition members are worried that it could lead to road accidents as well as a rise in crime.

The council’s Cabinet says the project will save more than £1 million a year and cut carbon emissions and light pollution.

The proposal will involve turning some street lights off between midnight and 5.30 am, dimming some between 10 pm and 7 am and switching others off entirely.”

Article Source

Cutting costs, due to the global economic slowdown, has been dominating city councils, state governments and federal governments around the globe these past five years. Perhaps, all of us know we use too much light to light our homes, streets and cities. Perhaps, it’s ‘easily cut’, given it’s position in the budget ‘totem pole’ of government. Regardless, light pollution is a 100% reversible problem. As for the context of the article, increased lighting does not increase safety. In good form, a comment proclaimed how crime will spike dramatically and how the city should erect more light fixtures. Utter nonsense. Shielded lighting paired in conjunction with motion sensors would not only save money, but also help secure properties, streets and cities better than over-illuminated solutions. This alternative will not completely deter crime entirely, but given some of the research conducted about this topic, less illumination is either neutral or better than excessive lighting. In this case, Shielded lighting paired in conjunction with motion sensors is a win-win situation.

Let there be night!

5 Reasons to Attend Your Nearest Star Party

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Noel

“A daytime shot of the Star Field for the 2010 Iowa Star Party held at Whiterock Observatory. 36 participants showed up to take in the incredibly dark skies.” Image Credit: Andrew Sorenson

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- “You might will learn something – No matter how much time you spend at a ‘scope, meeting with other amateur astronomers will give you ideas and techniques and knowledge that you couldn’t even dream of discovering on your own. Plus, it’s fun to share an interest in any subject with other human beings, face to face.

- You’ll see more than you would at home – Larger star parties are inherently located in areas with very dark skies, meaning that there will be so much more to see than you could at home. Even smaller star parties near towns tend to avoid locations that are polluted by city lights. Plus, there will likely be people there with huge telescopes that are more than willing to show you all that a large light bucket has to offer.

- You can share your knowledge of the skies – A star party is a great chance to show off your knowledge of the skies to other amateurs, as well as members of the public if there is a public viewing night.

- You will meet other astronomers – Sure, amateur astronomy can be a lonely hobby, spending hours outside in the dark when everyone else is asleep. But at a star party, you’ll get the chance to share your passion for the skies with other astronomers, look through their telescopes and show them your own. You’re not alone!

-You’ll have fun – Even if you have a passing interest in astronomy and/or don’t own a telescope or binoculars, looking through a telescope is just plain cool, and getting to know your way around the skies is always a treat. And if it clouds over, chances are that someone will bring old episodes of Star Trek to watch!”

Star Parties are a great way to connect with people over the heavens above. As a family-friendly event, it is a great family and personal experience to behold. Dig deep and try to remember a time when you looked at the pristine, night sky above in your past. What did you think of it? Have you seen it? Though the night sky might be obfuscated in many parts around the world today, the stars will always be above well into the future. It’s up to us, if we want to be inspired by them or not.

Let there be night!

10,000 Birds Trapped In the World Trade Center Light Beams

Posted on September 17, 2010 by Noel

Image credit: Robert Bejarano

Article source

“This is a view of the 9/11 memorial lights. There’s something floating in them, gliding slowly with an eerie glow, giving them the look of unearthly portals to another dimension. Spooky, but it has a natural explanation.

They were thousands of birds, trapped into the beams, confused by the intense light while trying to go over New York City, en route to warmer climates. The birds saw the intense light from the distance and, lacking any other navigational reference in the sky, they went into it.

According to John Rowden, citizen science director at the Audubon Society’s New York chapter, “it has only happened once before. It’s a confluence of circumstances that come together to cause this. Some of it has to do with meteorological conditions, and some with the phase of the moon.”

About 10,000 birds were estimated to enter the beams, wasting time and energy that now can’t be used in their migratory trip. From the ground, people were surprised and confused by the display. Nobody could tell what the swarm of glowing points were. Ornithology experts recorded the bird voices, as they called in the middle of the night.

To liberate the birds, the NYC authorities had to turn off the beams five times over the night. By dawn, on September 12, all the birds were gone, on their way to their winter promised land.”

What a royal mess. If we are to learn anything from this event, it is proof that light pollution detrimentally affects wildlife. For if it weren’t for NYC authorities shutting down the beams multiple times, the birds would have remained trapped until the morning. Call it stupidity, if you wish, but these creatures have a natural propensity to use [un]natural light sources to guide them on their yearly migration. Sure, you could say this incident was clearly a ‘at the wrong place, at the wrong time’ kind of situation but consider the outcome carefully. If we continue to illuminate the sky at night, similar incidents such as this one are unavoidable. If we eradicate light pollution, we can reclaim the night sky.

Let there be night!

“False Dawn” This Week: Zodiacal Light Easier to See

Posted on September 15, 2010 by Noel

The zodiacal light towers over Africa as seen from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in a July picture.
Photograph by Kwon O. Chul, TWAN

Article source

“For the next week or so sky-watchers in the Northern Hemisphere will have the chance to see an elusive celestial pyramid known as the zodiacal light.

The triangular tower of light is easiest to spot around the spring and fall equinoxes. Look for it over the eastern horizon about an hour before sunrise in the fall, and over the western horizon just after sunset in the spring.

At best, the zodiacal light is no brighter than the dim plane of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, so atmospheric haze, a bright moon, or light pollution can hide the faint cone from view.

In general, the zodiacal light is easiest to see in dark, rural areas, particularly on moonless nights.

September 8 saw a new moon—when the unilluminated side of the moon faces Earth—so viewing conditions should be favorable for the next few days as the waxing moon slowly returns to full brightness.

Since the light appears close to dawn in the fall, the phenomenon was often mistaken in antiquity for the light of the rising sun, and it became known as the false dawn.”

I think the picture speaks for itself.

Let there be night!

Showcase: SPJ Lighting

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Noel

SPJ Lighting – Exterior Wall Sconce in Brass or Copper

Founded in 1998, SPJ has been delivering high quality lighting fixtures for over 12 years. What separates SPJ lighting from other competitors, lies in the materials used. Every SPJ light fixture uses either solid brass or copper (at the customers choice) and they are as durable as they are attractive. Utilizing brass or copper as an outdoor fixture is a great investment because both brass and copper are immune to oxidation: corrosion and rust. Naturally, all SPJ lighting fixtures come with a lifetime warranty.

SPJ Lighting – Copper or Brass Exterior Wall Mount Fixture
This lamp is eligible for SPJ’s patent pending ForeverBright LED technology(tm), touting an impressive 50,000 hour lamp life. Fear not, the color emitted from the light is a natural warm glow rather than the bright white light found in most LED lights. In addition, ForeverBright LED technology(tm) includes includes “Smart Systems” such as low voltage motion detection devices and emergency battery back-up products.

SPJ Lighting – Brass or Copper Recessed Light

“Copper and brass are not just for “coastal environments”. In modern landscape conditions with constant irrigation, fertilizer and soil amendments, a coastal environment is created in almost every garden. It is difficult for anything to survive in such harsh surroundings; therefore you can trust SPJ Lighting finishes to remain beautiful and functional until the end of time!”

Researcher receives award for shedding light on bat conservation

Posted on September 13, 2010 by Noel

Image source

Article source

“A PhD student from the University of Bristol has received a national award for her research investigating the impact of artificial lighting on bats.

Emma Stone, a researcher in the University’s School of Biological Sciences, has received the Vincent Weir Scientific Award for her research, which has made a significant contribution in bat conservation.

The Vincent Weir Scientific Award, hosted by the Bat Conservation Trust, aims to reward and encourage research on the conservation biology of bats by young researchers and to recognise The Hon. Vincent Weir’s major contributions to the field.

Emma’s work, a bats and lighting project, focuses on the ecological effect of artificial lighting and its impact on the foraging and commuting behaviour of bats. A topic of increasing concern, recent estimates have shown a 24 per cent increase in light pollution in the UK between 1993 and 2000.

As part of the research, Emma launched an online survey to find out what the public feel about street lighting in their area. As with many conservation issues the impacts of lighting on wildlife involve interactions between humans and the environment.”

Congratulations on a job well done, Emma Stone! Your research is a welcomed addition to the study of the effects of light pollution on bats. Starry Night Lights wishes you the best and we know you’ll continue fighting the good fight!

Let there be night!

Motion Sensing 101

Posted on September 12, 2010 by Noel

Motion Sensing

Motion sensors are a great way to further increase energy savings and overall safety around your home. As for further increasing your energy savings, think of it this way: the light is on, when it’s needed most. In this particular case, it’s movement. Whether it’s for movement outside or movement inside an apartment building, YOU save money. As for increasing overall safety, let’s examine the currently held belief: more lighting deters criminals. FALSE. In fact, here is why this idea is wrong. For starters, studies have conclusively reported that normal lighting conditions vs. excessive lighting conditions showed no positive change. In fact, excessive lighting conditions fostered more crime. Well, why is that? Well, picture yourself in an excessively bright area. Sure, you’re illuminated, but you’re illuminated too much. By being illuminated too much, it actually makes it rather difficult to see things or people due to glare from the lights. Criminals actually take advantage of that consequence and by doing so, continue to commit crimes in excessively lit areas more often than normal areas. Motion Sensing would solve this by instilling fear. How? Imagine you are in a dark area and all of a sudden, a very bright light turns on as you approached a certain point. In that situation, I’d wager more criminals would flee in panic rather than stay. Even if they do stay, they’ll be extremely nervous. I’m not saying that motion sensors will eliminate crime all together, but it would help reduce criminal activity better than using the old ‘excessive lighting’ method.

So, there you have it. Installing motion sensors to your lights, whether outdoor or indoor, can increase your energy savings even more as well as help reduce criminal activity more than the past, anachronistic method.


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