Author Topic: Interesting article  (Read 722 times)

zajusima

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 02:12:41 AM »
Actually the change occurred as a result of a lighting ordinance that was approved by the township after I initiated the ordinance for approval.Again, the vast majority of all light pollution your see from urban and suburban skies is from old unshielded lighting, and over illumination because of such lighting. Good lighting ordinances (which are becoming much more in vogue) eventually transforms this problem lighting to what you see in my image. As one of the most respected outdoor lighting experts (the POLC lighting expert) mentioned to me a long time ago, that for years higher output lighting was being used in old non cut-off lighting fixtures (like the bowling alley's original lighting). As a result much of the light pollution we see today from everywhere is because of this practice. The problem is this type of old lighting continues to be installed, and that's why a good ordinance and education is needed.In other words if all this bad old lighting was replaced by proper lighting (sprawl of not) our skies would be substantially darker everywhere.   One big goal though is to promote not only better lighting, but the use of motion sensors (which again is being used as more fixtures have it) and also late night cutback or turn-off. Also remember there is more allies out there in the environmental area, which does have a loud voice. Who now responded to light pollution and the environment. This is an area that I first started writing and was interviewed about (Audubon magazine) years ago. I'm also a bit of a naturalist.The one thing that has been discouraging over the years is so many astronomers complain, but do little or nothing at all. This is something Dr. Crawford (IDA) and I discussed years ago at NEAF.KarlE.O.H.Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565 Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.comTelekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob Vixen 5.1" f/5 reflectorTMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor. Celestron 10x60mm Binos

Marvin Alexander

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 02:37:14 AM »
Quote
The best lighting ordinances imaginable can reign and perhaps reduce the illumination to a degree in highly urbanized areas...but that only brings back mediocre skies, at best, and no more. In rural areas currently subject to urban sprawl the absolutely only result will be a marked deterioration in existing skies.

I think that's right. But as I have said before, your own perspective is jaundiced by being in one of those relatively few and small areas where suburban sprawl has indeed spread rapidly in recent decades.

Truth be told, what happened is that you were a pioneering sprawler, and now the sprawl has caught up with you. That's been the fate of pioneers everywhere and always. The pioneers always have pressing reasons to go out ahead of the herd -- cheaper farmland, virgin forest, desire for solitude, dark skies for astronomy ... whatever. But sooner or later, the herd catches up.

While skies have undoubtedly deteriorated somewhat in the Northeast since the late 1970s, the change has been fairly modest both in urban areas and in wilderness, such as the Adirondacks. It's only the edges of the sprawl where the change has been really dramatic.

Meanwhile, better lighting ordinances have been responsible for some substantial improvements in the cities and inner suburbs -- which are even now where most people live. For instance, Arlington Mass, where I do much of my observing, installed full cutoff streetlights about a decade ago, dramatically improving the observing experience. That's the way things are: battles need to be won one at a time. But they can be won.

As for suburban sprawl, the future is unknown. It progressed extremely rapidly during the boom years before the recent crash, and then ground to an abrupt halt. It's subject more to economic factors and to fashion than to laws -- really beyond anybody's control. Some people claim that it has progressed as far as it will for a long time, and the next half century will see mostly in-filling of the existing outer suburbs. We'll see.

Better statewide lighting ordinances certainly can help in the exurbs -- for instance, better streetlights (the number-one source), business lights, and less light trespass from neighbors. But it remains true that wherever people settle, light will accompany them. Among other things, there's light from car headlights, which add up to a hefty chunk of the total.

Rodney Slater

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 05:05:13 AM »
Quote
<p class="citation">QuoteThe best lighting ordinances imaginable can reign and perhaps reduce the illumination to a degree in highly urbanized areas...but that only brings back mediocre skies, at best, and no more. In rural areas currently subject to urban sprawl the absolutely only result will be a marked deterioration in existing skies.
I think that's right. But as I have said before, your own perspective is jaundiced by being in one of those relatively few and small areas where suburban sprawl has indeed spread rapidly in recent decades.[/quote]No, I'm afraid that my take on the situation is not jaundiced at all. My observations are simply based on what I, as well as others, have seen occur in the way of ever increasing light pollution over the past 50-60 years and the way it has impacted the hobby. This is something that you cannot possibly imagine in its totality, as much of the loss of good skes occurred prior to the time you even entered the hobby, or during your earliest phase therein. I think as well that many of us appreciate that your livelihood as an astronomy popularizer/writer hinges on convincing newcomers, especially those living in the urbanized/heavily light polluted east, which undoubtedly has more amateur astronomers per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., that things aren't so bad as others of us with much longer memories and tenures in the hobby, or who are living in still remote locations, point them out to honestly be. The sad truth is that really good skies are, in most instances today, hours and hours of driving outside populations centers in the eastern states and the situation only deteriorates further every year, although perhaps at a slower rate today than 30-40 years ago.BrooksObs

Elijah York

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2018, 04:50:51 AM »
But as I said Brooks is that what you and I have seen in these years of deteriorating skies is the vast majority of bad lighting, as in the use of non cut-off fixtures and over-illumination. Both can be changed by using good lighting set forth by lighting standards produced by lighting experts and the use of ordinances.

The goal is to make sure any new lighting installed is proper lighting and that all or most bad lighting is eventually eradicated.     

I too live in the northeast, and I guarantee you the vast majority of LP we see is from bad lighting practices. That my friend is where change needs to happen.
Karl
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Deandre Fulce

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2018, 11:21:03 PM »
Quote
I too live in the northeast, and I guarantee you the vast majority of LP we see is from bad lighting practices.
With all due respect, I believe that such a guarantee could not be realistically honored.Even if every single lighting fixture in the Northeast were properly shielded, the size of the population extant here combined with its wide spatial distribution would conspire to make returning to the truly dark skies that observers such as BrooksObs and I were able enjoy in the late 1950's and early 1960's an impossibility, short of complete societal upset. The issue of automotive headlights alone, which contribute greatly to light pollution in populated areas and which for reasons of safety will likely never receive effective shielding treatment, negates the idea that natural night skies are attainable in such densely-populated, sprawling and car-dependent areas.Can the current situation be improved? Certainly. Can the skies be returned close to their mid-twentieth century state without the removal of tens of millions of people who seem to suffer from an apparently incurable fear of the dark? Not a chance.

Cesar Rojas

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2018, 08:04:07 AM »
Yes, the vast majority of LP is from bad lighting practices, and I never said it would return to be as dark in some areas as it was 50 to 60 years ago.

I could take you for a drive throughout say the northeast and point out to you how much bad lighting there is. It's far more than you may think. Car lights particularly in late night has very little impact in most areas.

Actually the more distant suburban and rural areas in the northeast would see a drastic reduction in sky glow if all lighting was properly shielded and not over-lit. The higher elevation areas would be greatly improved.

I believe I did say that late night cut-back and shut-off, and the use of motion sensors is more prevalent, which is also a good thing.

This is with 46 years of observing (43 years of DSO only) and 30 plus years of working on the LP issue, using surveys by notes and photos in various areas, and of course the POLC.

In 1993 from my backyard I could not make out very clearly M-31 with the naked eye, because of those old lights. When the change over happened to the full cut-off lighting, M-31 became a pretty easy object to see naked eye. Amazing how one situation created that effect  Karl
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David Johnson

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2018, 09:31:24 AM »
No need to drive me around an area I've lived in most of my life, as I'm only too aware of the preponderance of ill-designed lighting in this region; the offer is appreciated, nonetheless. However, I maintain that is not so much the <em class="bbc">type of lighting but the sheer <em class="bbc">volume of it that is the problem, and this is directly linked to a burgeoning population and the pathological fear of darkness with which most of it has seemingly become afflicted. Fixtures were very poorly designed 40 and 50 years ago, yet I enjoyed a ZLM of 6.5 or better, along with the visibility of obvious structure in the Milky Way, while residing a scant 25 miles from Manhattan. Even with full-cutoff lighting there would still remain the issue of ground reflection, which is not inconsiderable (particularly in winter), and auto headlights are indeed a major source of light pollution (perhaps as much as  25% to 30% in urban/suburban areas) whether one cares to believe it or not; I proved that to my satisfaction by correlating local road-use with my own varying ZLM in the mid-1990's, and the phenomenon has been noted by many others since that time (incidentally, Sunday night into Monday morning, the time of lightest vehicular traffic, continues to be the darkest period due to this effect).This from my own observing career, which in terms of length is now at the half-century mark and thus similar to your own.

laycacdownsell

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2018, 09:42:16 AM »
I did mention previously that lighting output in those old fixtures 50 years ago did not use the output (wattage-lumens) of these same fixtures today. Those bowling alley lights were twelve 1000 watt HPS (each). A total of 12,000 watts of non-shielded lights.

The current shoebox lighting is 150 watt each. The low reflection of the black top, compared to the direct lighting is enormous. Look at my images again. Also read again what I wrote about M-31 and it's visibility.
 
I'll certainly agree about the snow, which is bad, and that's one reason I despise it.

Car lighting may be more of an issue in the urban areas of observing, certainly not in the more distant suburban and rural areas, particularly in higher terrain, since car head lights are mostly directed out and down.

Again if all bad light applications was changed to proper shielded and illumination a serious difference would be seen. Particularly in the many dark sites that are used by many of us in the northeast would have darker skies.

If you are a NEAF attendee, talk to the IDA.

Karl
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David Knoll

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2018, 04:17:53 PM »
Quote
I did mention previously that lighting output in those old fixtures 50 years ago did not use the output (wattage-lumens) of these same fixtures today. Those bowling alley lights were twelve 1000 watt HPS (each). A total of 12,000 watts of non-shielded lights.
But wattage is simply not the issue: the modern lighting has a much greater efficiency in terms of lumens per watt: a 1W LED bulb is likely to have about the same visible light output as a 60W incandescent bulb. The benefit here is that you can save big time on energy bills ... even if you increase the light level in the area you need to illuminate, the better shielding reduces overspill &amp; that more than compensates.

<p class="citation">QuoteCar lighting may be more of an issue in the urban areas of observing, certainly not in the more distant suburban and rural areas, particularly in higher terrain, since car head lights are mostly directed out and down.[/quote]
Not so. The issue here is that, in built up areas, headlights are almost invariably dipped, whereas on quiet country roads, they're on full beam. One set of full beam headlights two miles away can wreck observing for half an hour.

<p class="citation">QuoteAgain if all bad light applications was changed to proper shielded and illumination a serious difference would be seen.[/quote]
I agree wholeheartedly.

Rodney Slater

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 07:46:29 PM »
It would appear that we will have to agree to disagree on these points, Karl.

Brandon Hughes

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2018, 08:45:46 AM »
Quote
Quote
<p class="citation">QuoteI did mention previously that lighting output in those old fixtures 50 years ago did not use the output (wattage-lumens) of these same fixtures today. Those bowling alley lights were twelve 1000 watt HPS (each). A total of 12,000 watts of non-shielded lights.
But wattage is simply not the issue: the modern lighting has a much greater efficiency in terms of lumens per watt: a 1W LED bulb is likely to have about the same visible light output as a 60W incandescent bulb. The benefit here is that you can save big time on energy bills ... even if you increase the light level in the area you need to illuminate, the better shielding reduces overspill &amp; that more than compensates.<p class="citation">QuoteCar lighting may be more of an issue in the urban areas of observing, certainly not in the more distant suburban and rural areas, particularly in higher terrain, since car head lights are mostly directed out and down.
Not so. The issue here is that, in built up areas, headlights are almost invariably dipped, whereas on quiet country roads, they're on full beam. One set of full beam headlights two miles away can wreck observing for half an hour.<p class="citation">QuoteAgain if all bad light applications was changed to proper shielded and illumination a serious difference would be seen.[/quote]I agree wholeheartedly. [/quote]My point on the type of lighting used, whereas the use of old non cut-off fixtures 50 years ago are being applied or paired with obsessively bright modern lighting. It’s a total fixture problem, and not just the efficiency of type of light. The image below is one of twelve of the old lights that showed just how much light went directly above the horizontal. This type of direct lighting is by far the biggest cause of glare, light trespass, energy waste, plus of course to us sky glow, and there’s a whole heck of a lot of it in the northeast part of the USA.  What we want and do have is both efficient lighting being used with non-glare and full cut-off lighting. This is what the IDA and POLC preaches.I disagree with your single car light in the country compared to lots of vehicles, unless you’re looking right into the headlight (don’t want to do that of course). From a good dark site a car with high beams and moving may impact a dark sky for only seconds, so I don’t get you there. Our darkest local observing site would have a car or cars pass in the valley below at night, but never noticed.   Anyway, there are solutions, but it takes more than a few astronomers and lighting experts. Over 30 years ago there was literally nothing in the media or the general population about light pollution or sky glow. My open letters to local large newspapers rallied support in the general community, plus the presentations I do at our large public star parties (pictures do say a lot). At that time there was no IDA to offer support.The POLC (started almost 20 years ago) at first would request to present at township board meetings and a like. Soon after they were calling the POLC requesting both presentations and best of all a good lighting ordinance for their respected township.   The advocates started in the astronomy community and today have branched into the environmental and medical arena, plus a number of lighting experts willing to help.Not sure if in my lifetime I’ll see a big change, but doing nothing but complain accomplishes nothing.Karl E.O.H. Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565 Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/ HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob Vixen 5.1" f/5 reflector TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good oneCelestron Omni XLT 102 refractor. Celestron 10x60mm Binos

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John Robertson

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2018, 11:56:32 PM »
Karl, I appreciate your belief as a light pollution advocate that better shielding of lights and a switch to LED fixtures go a long way to minimize the problems increasingly faced by amateur astronomers. My two friends who are heavily involved in the same pursuit voice like opinions.

However, I must side with amicus sidera in that no amount of shielded lighting is going to correct, or even have a major impact on the prevailing light pollution problems encountered throughout southern New England, much of New York State, New Jersey and innumerable other densely populated regions beyond the Northeast. As amicus points out, population density (which, counter to what Tony likes to suggest, is still on the rise and spread every where I look) and its lighting "needs" are far beyond any point of real hope of reversal to any useful degree. Lighting ordinances have little or no effect in controlling residential lighting and it is this aspect that has overwhelmed darkness throughout most rural regions in my experience. New transplants often festoon their residences with outdoor lights. Those newcomers I'm acquainted with wish to be able to fully illuminate their property at any whim, often amounting to 1-2 acres locally. For the most part, short of individual lawsuits, that cannot be curtailed.

In your post you note that the new shielded lighting situation near you has resulted in taking the visibility of M31 from "not very clearly" seen to now "pretty easy". Now you, as a DSO, as well as I, know very well that under any reasonably good skies M31 spans at least a couple of degrees to the naked eye and is a very obvious and distinct naked eye object. So please don't take offense when I say that the gains you report don't seem all that much of an overall sky improvement, nor truly significant from the point of view of experienced observers.

BrooksObs

bijstentetal

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2018, 04:07:48 AM »
Sorry, but my vast experience in this says different.

I believe I did say the greater impact of darker skies would be mostly seen in less populated areas and dark sites that many in the northeast use. There is still many abound. It’s simple logic, unless you disagree with the IDA and the POLC, and with the lighting experts within? Direct unshielded high intensity lighting as seen in the images put “up” far more sky glow then fully shielded lighting. I’m not sure why that is so hard to comprehend? Most commercial lighting you see would not pass a good lighting ordinance, hence most of our light pollution. Also good ordinances grandfather these situations. 

True that some sky glow (actually very little) can come from residential lighting, but more of a very local thing, whereas much brighter commercial lighting can do damage (sky glow) much further away. Oh, and yes many ordinances do have light trespass in residential areas incorporated.   

As for M-31 in my backyard, well we are talking about a suburban area, and not any of our dark sites. So any sky glow as much those lights put out diminished contrast to the point that M-31 was hard to see. When the change was made the contrast (even seeing the Milky Way in Cygnus) was more apparent.

I may (though not sure)still have photos taken years ago prior to the change, that was taken by then our (CAS) resident astrophoto guru, whom since moved to CA. We were doing photos of the lighting of the Limerick Nuclear plant from about 5 miles away on a hilltop in neighboring Chester County. The bowling alley lights (and glow) were on those widefield photos. If you feel the IDA and POLC are wrong, well I guess I’m wrong to   
Karl
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John Weiland

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2018, 01:24:43 PM »
Quote
Those living in the urbanized/heavily light polluted east, which undoubtedly has more amateur astronomers per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. ...

Good data on this is hard to come by, but I'm almost sure that the largest concentration of amateur astronomers -- certainly largest per capita -- is in the Southwest, including the southern half of California.

That's partly because light pollution is relatively easy to escape in that area, due to the fact that most of the land is government-owned and protected. But it's due even more to the fact that they get a much higher percentage of clear nights, especially in the summer and early fall.

Astronomy of one kind or another can be pursued even in the presence of heavy light pollution. When the sky is covered by clouds, as it usually is in the East, the possibilities are limited to radio, which is highly specialized and has a very large barrier to entry.

<p class="citation">QuoteThe sad truth is that really good skies are, in most instances today, hours and hours of driving outside populations centers in the eastern states.[/quote]

That's certainly true -- especially so in the New York area, but true to a lesser extent in smaller cities. From the center of Boston, it's a 2-hour drive to Bortle Class 3 skies -- and you have to pick your spot really carefully. Most 2-hour drives get you to Class 4 or even 5.

To get to really dark skies, Bostonians have to drive at least 4 hours to the Great North Woods. Or New Yorkers that distance or even farther to the Adirondacks.

Compare that to Jon Isaacs in San Diego, who can drive to Class 3 in an hour.

compstifcolpai

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Re: Interesting article
« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2018, 07:41:03 PM »
Quote
From the center of Boston, it's a 2-hour drive to Bortle Class 3 skies -- and you have to pick your spot really carefully. Most 2-hour drives get you to Class 4 or even 5.

To get to really dark skies, Bostonians have to drive at least 4 hours to the Great North Woods.

Actually, I might have to revise those driving distances down a smidge. I now remember that BrooksObs  rated Stellafane as between Bortle Class 2 and 3, and closer to 2. That's a useful measuring stick -- something we both saw at the same place on the same night.

As I said in that thread, Stellafane seems pretty mediocre to me by Northern New England standards. It's certainly possible to get to spots darker than Stellafane with a (carefully selected!) 2-hour drive from downtown Boston -- and not much more than 2 hours from midtown Manhattan. So maybe Bortle Class 3 is closer than I estimated above.