Pollution hiding Milky Way
Sky & Telescope Mag, its readership & many astronomy clubs have been wrestling w/this problem for years. One relatively easy solution is properly engineered lighting. Shrouds that block light from going upward and reflect it downward reduce the light *pollution* and even make it more effective. A few progressive communities have passed laws requiring such lights to be installed.
Light pollution? You've got to be kidding me... I think whoever dreamed that up has been watching too much Captain Planet.
I can't see the milky way from my house (suburban Philly.) - however, while on vacation in the mountains... holy cow - what a beautiful site.
Isn't it a shame. I think it would be nice to see the stars every now and agian. I am an avid astronomer with an 8" Schmidt-Cassagrain telescope. When I use it I have to drive 20 miles into the country to see anything with it.
I haven't joined the "dark sky association"...But i'll admit I have thought about it.
In this area the city of San Jose at the urging of the Univeristy of California Mount Hamilton Observatory on a nearby mountain has installed lights that are designed to limit the interference with the observatory.
I forget the specifics but flying into the airport at night you see that the city seems to have a yellow glow to it rather than looking like conventional city lights. I think that the particular lights are able to be filtered out with.
Yes, light pollution is NOT a made up issue and is a big problem as population centers move closer and closer to long ago established observatories that were in the sparsely populated countryside years ago.
In addition, the use of non-polluting lights usually result in lower electrical bills to produce the same illumination and that's becoming a big issue these days.
And you haven't REALLY SEEN the Milky Way until you've stretched out on your sleeping bag on the ground and looked up on a moonless night at 10 to 12,000 feet in the Sierra.
[This message has been edited by IW (edited 08-15-2001).]
Yep. I reently spent six months in the city and really missed being able to see the stars. Now that I'm home, it's amazing how many I can see. Granted, some of the reason I could only see the very brightest stars in the city was air pollution, but you get the drift.
Light Pollution is real, it's not really a problem that stays though, if everyone turned off their lights, it would be gone probably less then a second or two. Everyone meaning EVERYONE. that 1 in 5 is also including people from cities and the middle of nowhere. at LEAST 1 in 5 live in the cities. So it's not all that startling.
Light polution is a bit much. I don't see light as a polutant.
I cannot see it from my house or anywhere really near me. If we drive about 15 miles to secluded areas of the beach where lights are purposefully extinguished for the turtles, we can see it really well.
[This message has been edited by daveleau (edited 08-15-2001).]
I read an article a while back that talked about how cities choose to use inefficient light enclosures/fixtures that cause light to be omnidirectional or directed towards the sky instead of at the ground where it is needed. The article provided many examples of light fixtures that could be used and that would dramatically cut down on the amount of light going up instead of down, while also reducing electricity costs by reducing the wattage requirements (since all the light is directed down instead of only some of it).
Right on IW! I grew up in Chicago and can still remember the first time I saw the Milky Way. I was on vacation in Northern Wisconsin and I asked my parents what that "cloud" in the night sky was! Then I realized it was all stars. Totally awesome. Light pollution is a shame - the stars are so inspiring...
[This message has been edited by rjwilke (edited 08-16-2001).]
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