Strides for Change

Recently I noticed that the busy intersection just West of our home looked different somehow. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the large lights on all four corners of the intersection had been replaced. Instead of the traditional yellow blaring orbs they are sleek new lights, slim in design and with white light (led?) that is directed by a hood to go straight down where it is needed.

This intersection crosses a very busy 6 lane road, and a moderately busy 2 lane road. The majority of street lights on the 6 lane road have been converted as well, but on the 2 lane road, they have not. This creates an amazing first hand view of the significant difference in the design and effect of the two different styles, side by side essentially.

The old style lights are extremely bright and harsh to look at, even from a distance. The new lights are much more subtle, yet the ground is definitely saturated with light directly below the fixtures.

I wish the city would replace all the lights in our city with these new style fixtures. We have two of the old style ones adjacent from our house, and the rooms are flooded by the sickly colored, constant light. I HATE it. And you can forget about seeing anything more subtle than the constellation of Orion.

Sometimes I think about all the children whose parent's aren't "out-doorsy" and may never see the Milky Way because of it. You can not see it at all from within the city.

Last fall we camped out on the Great Salt Lake, on Antelope Island. I was saddened to see the great glowing orbs across the Eastern horizon indicating the tremendous light pollution issuing from both Salt Lake City as well as another to the North, Bountiful, Layton, Ogden. There was no chance of seeing any subtle astronomical features.

Perhaps the worst part is, not many people seem to notice or care. Where will it stop?

I came across this site today:


Awareness, care and implementation of changes are necessary to preserve the delicate beauty of night.


Examples of good vs bad street lights | LED Bulbs | Light Posts

I noticed on one of the major streets in my area they replaced them with LED bulbs and the light is directed down at the ground instead of glaring in all directions. This was a great opportunity to see good vs bad side by side.

Look how absurdly bright this light is!

Notice how the LED light stays below the light post and not going into the sky. They replaced this busy roadway with LED lights and it's very noticeable how much darker it is compared to the orange lights, but yet the street is still visible.

Another example, I hope they replace more of the traditional orange lights you see everywhere with these LED bulbs


Taking Back the Night: New Zealand

The little town of Tekapo, New Zealand (pop. 830) is fighting to preserve the night sky.

In 1965, officials of this pristine lakeside town recognized the importance of protecting the skies around the nearby Mount John Observatory and began putting controls on outdoor illumination. According to an AP report, the ordinances require that, “low-energy sodium lamps are shielded from above, and household lights must face down, not up.”

Their goal? To obtain designation from UNESCO designation as the world’s first starlight reserve. Currently, none of UNESCO’s world heritage sites include the sky.

Tekapo’s efforts to preserve dark skies has begun to generate “astro tourists,” people in search of the experience of seeing stars under genuinely dark skies. Current estimates suggest that more than 2/3 of Americans are unable to see the Milky Way from their homes as a result of careless outdoor lighting and over-illumination - itself responsible for approximately two million barrels of oil per day in energy wasted. In Europe, there are almost no places left where the sky reaches its natural darkness.

Taking Back the Night: New Zealand


Check out this review for a LED Light Bulb

This site called SlySpyder had a user review this:

CC VIVID Plus LED Light Bulb

I think when more lights eventually switch to LED. It may actually make light pollution worse. Because people may be more willing to use lights more at night since it's cheaper to run.

What do you think?


How to Take Action to Prevent Light Pollution

Non-light-efficient city lights spray up to 60% of their light into the sky, and all that light is wasted. Now, the lights of cities are brighter than that of the stars, so at night our eyes aren't adjusted enough to see that many stars and birds are migrating off course. Luckily, it's never too late to take action.

1. Minimize light from your house at night. Your own home usage of light can be a massive source of light pollution. You can make a big difference in these ways:

* Only use lighting that is needed. The whole house does not need to be lit up; your home is not a showpiece.

* Have lights in use in rooms that are in use. Other rooms should be kept dark.

* Direct light to where it is needed. A lamp is better than an overhead light for giving light on a book or meal; always opt for the more directed and lesser light options where possible.

* Install motion detector lights. These can be placed on garden paths, near garages, around dark spaces and even in hallways etc. to only turn on when a person walking past is detected. If you have family members who need to use the bathroom frequently, these lights are much better than leaving one on all night.

* Pull down the blinds. Having a brilliantly lit party? Keep it inside and don't let the light glow out. Pull down the blinds, pull across the drapes and dim the switches just a bit to add to the mood.

* Use low pressure sodium lights. These are the types used for street lighting and have the least impact on sky glow. They are also energy efficient and will save money.

2. Keep some activities for daytime only. Activities that require decent lighting, such as painting walls or artwork, sewing, cleaning etc., are best left to when the sun provides a light source rather than trying to do work under intense lights at night.

3. Spread the word to your family and friends, and tell them to pass it on. Many people either don't know or don't understand a lot about sky glow and the negative impacts of too much light at night. Be an ambassador and explain the issues to others. You will then hopefully have growing ranks of night sky protectors. Show them the famous NASA photos of the Earth at night - these are available on the NASA site or from poster stores. They shock many people unfamiliar with them.

4. Write a letter to your city council suggesting that they change their street lights. They should have all the floodlights pointed down and replace the infamous Cobra Head lights with Box Design lights. Point them to the site listed in external links.


* Luckily, light pollution is 100% short-term and reversible. If there was a worldwide blackout, we would immediately be able to see the stars just as our ancient ancestors had.

* Do you really need all your porch lights on? Instead, you can get an alarm. Porch lights do not offer security, only a sense of security.

* Smog can also impair our view of the stars, but is not the only culprit.

* After you think you have done a lot to save the night sky, buy a telescope to look at the stars from your backyard. There may not be a big change, but you will feel like there is because of how much you helped.

* There can be natural light pollution in the snow, because the moonlight gets reflected and sprayed back into the sky.