Help Noreen!This morning my local Mercury News added a problem to my plate with a front page picture of a space shot of the USA at night .With it was a headline that read "On the lookout for light pollution" I am not sure I can cope with Iraq,Global warming ,Political Ranting and now this.It seems that we are likely to have a shortage of astronomers if city kids are not able to be inspired because they "can't see the big dipper because of the light pollution"etc etc ! I live in San Jose which is near to Lick Observatory and some years ago our city switched to street light of low pressure Sodium to reduce the affect on Lick.(Distorts colors but livible.) "We want people to go outside and look up,to appreciate the night sky" said Dennis Ward ,an educational technologist astronomer with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder ,Colo. (I am very familiar with Boulder and it is surely a place that comes up with these FANTASTIC ideas and solutions) . They want everyone with a computer to look up and count the stars and report the count so progress or lack thereof can be tracked'here come the "light police'(Shades of WW2)This is being taken very seriously by many.I checked light pollution in Google and Slovenia passed a light pollution law in Aug. 07 Many of you will probably,also, take this very seriously and say "Hubba! Hubba! Hubba!" I refuse to add it to my plate ! my solution........................ "HUBBLE !HUBBLE ! HUBBLE! PS This subject is now blaring from my radio as I type this post !
Interesting Adam but I can't bring myself to think of it as a problem of great importance.I can see the concern for todays astronomers but even the buggywhip makers had to adjust.Hubble will lead the way.In the meantime ,if others are needed, built them away from most light sources.I was born in Brooklyn ,NY but moved as a kid to Beacon , NY a little city of 15,000 and could see all the stars my heart desired.Now in California I can drive a few miles to see Yosemite and enjoy the landscape by day and the stars by night. I guess my concern is that we have another chance for a "almost religous" start to something that could take on the flavor of global warming.It now has a measuring group in Boulder.hang onto your hats here comes the flood!I Quit smoking many years ago so I am not outsde looking up or down any more . Regards, John
It now has a measuring group in Boulder.hang onto your hats here comes the flood!
Ya, this pretty much sounds like the type of cause Boulder people would rally behind. I think I'd go nuts if I lived there, but it sure is a fun place to party! (and don't forget the CU football games!)
#7. "RE: More than my plate can handle !!!!!" In response to npmcl (Reply # 5) Tue Oct-02-07 03:57 PM by Shelly
It's a very old problem. It's not just light pollution either, it is atmospheric industrial pollution.
The Royal Greenwich Observatory near London, responsible for our Prime Meridian astronomical time reference is today about useless. Fortunately, we now depend on atomic clocks. Once far from the lights of London, the growth of the city has brought light pollution there.
The same is true for the old Naval Observatory in Washington DC, which has been converted into the home of the vice President.
Mount Wilson with its 100 inch telescope, and Mount Palomar with its 200 inch telescope are suffering from light pollution caused by California's population growth.
In New York City, only the Sun and the Moon are visible in the sky.
I have seen great changes in my life long amateur astronomy work. In Jacksonville I have to travel with my telescope about 30 miles to the Great Okefenokee Swamp to find dark skies for any serious observation, sharing my night with alligators and snakes.
Much of the light pollution is caused by inefficient street lighting, and parking lot lighting which sends its light upward as well as down.
I remember even 30 years ago during visits to the Florida Keys, seeing brilliant night skies, a very visible Milky Way spilling from horizon to horizon. It was like being on a ship in mid ocean. I could read by the starlight. Now, even that paradise, has been reached by air pollution then unheard of, dimming the stars.
The problem is not so much for astronomy. We have been building new observatories far from civilization all over the world with instruments we could not have dreamed of 50 years ago. the Hubble Space Telescope will be replaced by a much larger one in orbit, in 2013. Soon we will be building a huge observatory on the far side of the Moon that always faces away from Earth.
What bothers me are the generations of children who will live their entire lives without ever seeing the grandeur and beauty of the universe with their own eyes. If that fails to move anyone, they have no soul.
I was born and raised to age 21 in West Texas...where the stars at night are big and bright...then moved to the Detroit, Michigan area...where I kind of forgot about the stars at night. Then one day I made a trip in my new van to Boulder, Colorado...sleeping along the way at rest stops. At the rest stop in Nebraska, I got a large cup of coffee in the middle of the night, and was on my way to Boulder. In the middle of the night along that route, I suddenly became aware of the stars...couldn't believe what I was seeing! I pulled over, parked the van, and got out in the middle of the "star show". My God! It was a true moment of epiphany...I'll never forget it.
Thanks Noreen ,You just solved a problem for me.For years these birds have been showing up in my yard and staying for a couple of months.I thought they were crows from Russia who had strayed too close to Chernoble (Hence the red beaks).Call off the search, and get these nutty scientists out of my garden!
A few years ago the Ontario Government looked into creating a huge area of darkness in northern Ontario. As far as I know it never got beyond the 'looking into' stage because there was concern for the landowners already in that part of the province.
Probably not too many political points to be gained either
I flew over the weekend with one flight being after sundown. Even at 29,000 feet the amount of light and lights that I was seeing on the Midwest landscape was a lot! The glow over cities from a distant was very evident.
#13. "RE: More than my plate can handle !!!!!" In response to JP (Reply # 12)
I remember once I flew, at night from St. Louis to Springfield, MO, 217 miles. Driving can take about 3 hours, but the flight was 25 minutes. I remember keeping my eye on St. Louis the whole time during the flight. Before my soda was even gone we began our descent into Springfield.
From how ever high up we were I could see the HUGE glow of St. Louis all the way in Springfield. I thought it was going to be the longest flight the world, because I felt we were still in the St. Louis area.