Society for Popular Astronomy

Road Lighting Could be dimmed.
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Author:  nigeljoslin [ Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Here in Newton Stewart, Galloway, I am fortunate to be able to see the Milky Way from my back garden. My observing is good from the garden, which is elevated above street light top level, but there still has been some interfering skyglow from the street and town lights, particularly under certain conditions such as partial cloudiness, which reflects any skyglow.

However, I'm delighted that now Newton Stewart is in the process of a complete changeover to the LED lights. The powers that be say that a major factor for doing this is to make the Galloway Dark Sky park even darker and further boost tourism, though I'm confident that reduced running cost is a major factor, too! But, I do find the mention of their role in sky darkness heartening, as it does suggest that the directional properties of the LEDs will be benificial to us.

As yet, I have been unable to witness the effect, as there is very little darkness in Galloway at this time of year! However, one person I spoke with informed me that, when they awoke at 1 a.m., the light near their house was shining just downwards and it appeared completely dark above it!

One interesting fact about the LED streetlights is that they are remotely controllable, via wireless networking. Allegedly, the plan will be to dim the lights a little during off-peak hours.

So, I believe that things are looking rosier for astronomers. I await the next `season' with hope!

Author:  brian livesey [ Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

The march of the LEDs brings its own problems. Skywatchers exposed to LED light are going to find that their light pollution and other filters are rendered useless.
So I've heard on the grapevine. :roll:

Author:  David Frydman [ Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

From Marvin Gaye?

ATB, David

Author:  Cliff [ Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Dear David and Brian
I ain't seen any of the new LED street-lighting myself yet but a friend tells me there is an increasing amount of LED lighting in Salford (quite near here) and he thinks the city policy is to go totally LED eventually. So it looks as if UK amateur astronomers might have to get used to coping with LEDs for good or bad ?
Best wishes from Cliff

Author:  nigeljoslin [ Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

As I said, it will be for good.

Author:  nigeljoslin [ Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Had to have a wee in the night last night and I peeped out the living room window; the lights are superb! It is completely dark above them, with a focused light cone below.

No need for paranoia!

Author:  David Frydman [ Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. The problem is that although high quality LED lighting has obviously been specified here, other local authorities and highway agencies will probably go for the cheapest LED light fittings available.

This is what seems to happen in an effort to supposedly save money by some misguided local councillors.

Also my experience with local authority surveyors has been unbelievably negative.
I don't know what kind of agenda they are working to but it is not for the benefit of people who actually live where they make their decisions.

In addition some of the edicts that overpaid local councillors make just defy common sense.
How on earth they got their jobs I don't know.

Occasionally, good decisions are made but not often.

It takes a brave soul to stand up to them but it is worth making the effort as once exposed they take flight. But it takes a lot of persistence.

Anyway I hope I am proved wrong and all the LED lights will be wonderfully situated and of the highest quality. Here's hoping.

Regards David

Author:  nigeljoslin [ Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Oh....I see, David. I cynical in that I can easily believe your experience with councils? :twisted: I'm a bit more surprised at the surveyors, but I suppose they are in the hands of the councils. Of course, one factor is that the LED units are favourably (properly, downward) mounted on the light poles, and not done in such a fashion as to save labour time!

I can imagine some councils being less bothered about the fact that the cheap ones would be more expensive in the long run, due to light wastage, than they'd be bothered about damage limitation to this year's budget, yes? Such are the hard times that we live in.

I hope that it all works out in everybody else's regions, anyway. From what I've read, it does seem that complaining is sometimes an effective option, should standards not come up to what they should be.

However, the post on page 1 from Guy is encouraging, too. Best of luck!

Author:  David Frydman [ Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. Our local council put up parking permits 4 times last year. i.e. 300% increase.
We are fighting this in the High Court.

They tried to close a vastly busy main post office and farm it out to the local stationers.
I don't advocate anarchy but a group of locals threatened to burn down the stationers.
We still have our vastly busy main post office.

They allowed a drinking gambling and worse establishment run frankly by gangsters.
This is in a residential area and they allowed it to open all hours.
Weapons including those that would not look out of place in Baltimore and gang fights resulted.
It took myself, and one other individual with a video camera to convince the police who then had the place closed down.
we were told by the council not to be racists against East European criminals.
then we were told by the council that because we don't live within 100 m from this establishment we could not object.
To say these councillors have a warped political agenda is to put it mildly.

The local surveyor even when presented with my accurate laser rangefinder measurements accurate to 2 mm tried to refuse to accept the data.
Despite clear guidelines as to the allowable distance regarding planning permission he said that it was only a little bit out.
I carefully calibrated both rangefinders
He refused to accept his own legal requirements..
we narrowly won by one vote.
we put in a vast amount of work and it cost quite a bit for expert witnesses.

The councillors here ' earn' more than the Prime Minister.

The light pollution here is so bad birds sing all night and frankly there's not much difference between night and an overcast day. The waste is enormous.

Luckily the local library still exists but many neighbouring ones have either closed or luckily the locals have been allowed to run it themselves unpaid with donations of their own books.

Our wonderful overpaid local councillors lost £30 million to the Icelandic casino monetary system.

I'm not sure that we even rate as a Third World country now.

Fewer police, fewer firemen, fewer soldiers, fewer pilots.
I hope that we don't become like New Zealand where I think their obsolete but effective Skyhawk aircraft that were flown at 100 feet altitude by the enormously skilled pilots were scrapped and they have no air force now saying they will rely on Australia.
perhaps some pirates will take over New Zealand.

We gave up our fishing rights and scrapped our very good fishing fleet.
We've sold our water and energy companies to foreign companies.
We are nuts.

Health and safety is also crazy as are many other edicts from Brussels.

Most people don't bother but if you are determined enough you can stand up to these people.
They are definitely not working for you but for their own unknown agendas.

So, although I do hope that the new LED lights will work I am not sure that our local council is up to it.

However, when they installed the last set of new lights about three years ago I asked for a shield to be put on the one outside my bedroom window and it magically was fitted two days later so at least this part of the system works.

Anyway a lovely day today 28°C.
And who knows we might even succeed in tennis tomorrow.

Regards David

Author:  nigeljoslin [ Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Hmmmm... your council are being deemed as racist for reporting criminals!

But, goooo on, Andy! Mind you, it's a tall order.... :oops: Great to have him on the final, though. At least Wimbledon is one thing that is not sub-3rd World, unless a new `grass slipperiness' directive slithers out of Brussels!

At the moment, the birds here sing all night, too, but that's because we never lose the natural light, apart from a short interlude around 1 o'clock. Sunset is only about 20 minutes later than in London (for example), but it is followed by an almost interminable twilight, which is then greeted by a similarly extended morning twilight. I presume this is due to ice reflection from the pole and noctilucent clouds, as well as the low sink of the sun below the horizon, because I'm only about 3 degrees north of London, in southern Scotland.

It does sound encouraging for your future situation, the way you had such prompt fitting of a light shield! Late August onwards will tell!

Author:  David Frydman [ Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

So he won.

Regards David

Author:  nigeljoslin [ Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Yes! The bright light of fortune is beaming on the good ol' UK!

Best wishes,


Author:  brian livesey [ Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

A problem with council lighting, Sodium, Mercury vapour or LED, is that shielding is only part of the solution.
Some lamps are too high for the shielding to be effective for skywatchers living nearby.

Author:  David Frydman [ Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. The shielded streetlight where the shield is at the rear of the lamp is magnitude -12 from the kitchen window. It is partly side on from this direction.

The shielded streetlight from the bedroom window is about magnitude -9.5. about 90% of the streetlight is hidden by the shield which is perhaps 6 inches wide curving behind the lamp and maybe 4 inches deep.

The streetlight on the other side of the road and well to the left is about magnitude -16 from the kitchen window.
This is almost directly due West and when planets are at low elevation then if they cannot be seen with the unaided eyes using binoculars is often a waste of time.
This is because the ghosts and veiling glare almost completely obliterate the sky.
in fact it is amazing to me that with my unaided eyes there is almost no glare at all of the sky just above the magnitude -16 streetlight. I think our eyes are pretty amazing. I mean that you really do not get The string of multiple reflections in a long line coming from near the centre of the image as you do when you watch movies where the sun is more or less directly into the lens. How our eyes avoid this I don't know maybe they are multi-multi-coated or just better designed.

I find that Porro prism binoculars suffer the worst even if they are of the best quality.
Roof prism binoculars usually do much better maybe because the light path is more shielded.
With the traditional binocular the front of the prism is is completely exposed especially with the lower magnification ones.

I think a solution at least an obvious one would be to make long Ray Shields to attach to the two objectives. I.e. very long lens hoods.
I think these can actually be bought in the US. I am not sure if anyone sells them in the UK but it would be pretty easy to make them.
It is just that I've never bothered.

Regards David

Author:  David Frydman [ Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. Regarding the two-year legal battle to overturn the 300% increase in residents car permits and visitors vouchers.
Amazingly, despite dirty tricks by our council leaders which resulted in one of them being disbarred for physically attacking a resident who filmed him parking illegally, we won against all the odds.

It took incredible resilience for the group to fight our council.

No doubt the dictators on our council will appeal but if they are unsuccessful they will have to return £1 million in the illegal charges that they heaped upon residents.

If they are unsuccessful on appeal it may mean that £1 billion has to be returned in total in the UK for illegal charges.

I say bring back the stocks. I have a good supply of tomatoes.

Regards David

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