Light Pollution Problem

Light Pollution Problem

I was reading in ‘The Sun’ news paper (which we receive a couple of times a year – but that’s a delivery problem) that a Cairns company has developed a wrap-around skin for low power ‘light poles’ with imbedded photo voltaic's as an earth friendly way to generate ‘clean’ power and good for them, well done!

I was reading in ‘The Sun’ news paper (which we receive a couple of times a year – but that’s a delivery problem) that a Cairns company has developed a wrap-around skin for low power ‘light poles’ with imbedded photo voltaic's as an earth friendly way to generate ‘clean’ power and good for them, well done!

Our electricity distribution people have suggested that they will wait a year to see how it goes (very admirable) considering that in our end of Cambridge Street, Gulliver alone there are no less than thirty (30) street lights in around 1km and by their own admission there are millions of the things throughout the country, a fact that any ‘lover’ of the heavens knows only too well.

These lights are all unshielded lights with only a small amount of their radiated light doing the job they were supposedly designed to do, the rest is scattered in every direction including up.  Now we get to my point as a ‘stargazer’ or amateur astronomer hopeful!

Folks, we have lost our beautiful skies.  There is no longer a lovely ‘Milky Way’ above our cities and large towns.  If we have lights to light up our streets

why are they not shielded and directed at the task assigned them as should the lights used for advertising, security and indeed household.  It is a very small task to set ones self to just take note of our night lights etc. to see that they do the job and no more.  We live on the surface of the planet so why do we light up the atmosphere, that’s a question I have asked myself over and over and the only answer seems to be ‘ignorance’ and at this stage I say that in a kind way.  Where once I was able to view the heavens from my backyard, Milky Way and all, now my view is reduced to some of the major star systems and then only when my neighbour has forgotten to light up the surrounding half dozen properties with her back porch light.  Oh well, more of what I suggested above I guess!  I realise other people must live too but ‘sorry’ yelled over the back fence doesn’t cut it when you have been guiding a telescope and camera for a couple of hours and suddenly the sun comes up next door.

We amateur astronomers and stargazers are only a very small part of the community I guess but this problem isn’t only ours.  We all need to have darkness in our day and to most of the population this means while we sleep so our body can produce some of the chemicals (for want of a better word) we need for everyday healthy living.  To achieve this at my house means the application of blinds and block-out curtains because of street lights and such which also block out any air flow that would have occurred, so on goes the air-conditioner, kind of counter productive don’t you think or an ingenious marketing ‘ploy’ on the part of you know who!  Most of us are absolutely surrounded by these ‘photon’ breathing monsters (street lights) and going on my neighbours somewhat smaller dark destroying 100 watt household bulb one could be forgiven for thinking they could also be reduced to a more realistic wattage.

Anyway, enough out of me, however, there is a good although small article on this topic on page 98 of the July issue of Australian Sky and Telescope magazine.  This article is primarily aimed at children (and this is because adults don’t seem to be listening) and suggests a book authored by Bob Crelin titled ‘There Once Was a Sky Full Of Stars’ relating to the above topic (look on Google).

A web address for Connie Walker (a senior Astronomy educator) is www.darkskiesawareness.org

Please have a look around and see what may be done at your house/business and sporting venue and maybe tell your friends and children of the problem (and it is a problem).  My group of ‘star lovers’ currently travel 40km out of town on our viewing nights and Townsville’s (Nth Qld – Aust) lights are still evident in the eastern sky.

Our ‘power’ people could also have a good look as their product is at the root of the problem.  Maybe, just a few minor adjustments here and there would help.  Come on fellas, give it a try eh!!!

 

That’s me people.
See you all one dark night (hopefully).

Lex,
Obi-One.