Society for Popular Astronomy

Road Lighting Could be dimmed.
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Author:  David Frydman [ Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. According to the Campaign for dark skies regarding the appearance all over the UK of LED lights.

The spectra of these are suspected of being harmful to living things, including us!

Regards David

Author:  brian livesey [ Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Would that be because of light at blue wavelengths being emitted?

Author:  David Frydman [ Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. Dear Brian,
I don't know the reason I was just informed about this a couple of days ago.
There are probably research papers concerning this but I haven't read them.

Regards David

Author:  brian livesey [ Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Can you be certain that it isn't just hearsay?

Author:  David Frydman [ Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. No Brian,
this is from the top.

Regards David

Author:  nigeljoslin [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Hello again, chaps!

Following a glorious late night observing the Perseids, I can now report on the impact of our new LED lighting.... :) It is mainly good news, I must say at the outset.

I am fortunate, in that my observing sight is `up the top' of my steep back garden, which is...prrr...I would say some 15 feet above the top of the street lights. However, I can do a report that is also meaningful to people who observe from lower levels by virtue of comparing what my experience is like now and what it was with the Sodium lights.

Prior to observing, the first thing I noticed, as darkness fell, was that I could see lots of stars out of the living room window (which is at streetlight bulb level). Previously, with the Sodium streetlights, I would only see the odd bright star, or Jupiter. This was a good sign!

As it darkened, plenty of stars came out, with the Milky Way clearly visible. It wasn't one of the better nights in the year, as the cooling that followed the summer humidity of daytime was resulting in some variable haze near my horizon. However, I did notice that, despite the haze, I could see more low elevation stars than previously. I also noticed that the side-on impact of the distant lights that I could see directly was much less. Sadly, there is one road to the north of me that has not yet had its lights changed, so a direct comparison was possible, before I swung out my interference shield from its mounting on the side of the shed.

On the negative side, as true darkness arrived, I could see that light from the new LED streetlights was bouncing back off of the road surface (they ARE quite bright at street level) and dimly illuminating the adjacent trees, so this was a bit of a flaw in the `dark skies' plan. However, despite this, the sky WAS improved on the skies of the Sodium days, so that's good news. It could be better, with better light management; perhaps that will come, but I won't hold my breath!

Towards the end of the session, I did wander down to street level and was surprised to see some semblance of the Milky Way just struggling its way through!

So, concluding - some ground reflection, but an overall improvement, which I rate qualitatively from my elevated site at about 15%. Based on my walk down to the street, this figure could well be higher at street level, as my sight was even good in the Sodium days.

Best wishes,


Author:  brian livesey [ Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

On my road the lamps where moved from their original positions, making the situation worse than before, and they're higher and can't be shaded.
When I first moved in there was a lamp outside of the garden gate that was considerably lower and less bright than the new ones.
I was able to deal with the backglow from the lamp ( look away now Officer ) by painting the back of the lamp's cover glass with thick, black paint; it worked like a charm.

Author:  David Frydman [ Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

2013 November 20 1148 UTC.
Suddenly from nowhere a mini typhoon. Much of the remaining leaves blew off the trees. A garage door flew open. Large cardboard boxes flew out of the garage spewing their contents into the car park. 30 seconds later it was over.

After about 20 minutes I decided it was safe to go out and although it was wet it was no longer raining.
then I noticed that the next but one street light was shining brightly at midday and I took quite a few photos of it thinking it strange.
When I got back in as I was making some tea I noticed a cherry picker outside with a maintenance engineer working on the open lamp outside my bedroom window. This has a shield.
anyway I opened the kitchen window and shouted that the next lamp was lit. He said he couldn't hear as he had ear protectors but eventually said yes it's working. Again I thought this strange until I saw after he had descended and driven off that my lamp was starting to get brighter. Why?
I took photos of this and then noticed that the sensor now had what I think is an aerial on top of it. It looks like a whip antenna about 4 inches long. I then noticed that a third lamp was also lit. All these lamps now have antenna which I don't think they had before.

Are these lamps now being radio controlled? If so by whom?
With a bit of luck maybe we are copying Paris and will be switching them off after midnight. If so hurray. On the other hand Big Brother may have other plans.

Things get curiouser and curiouser.
Has anybody any ideas what is going on?
I suppose that the lamps will be on all day and will switch themselves off sometime, but why the antenna?

Regards David

Author:  David Frydman [ Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. Looking at photos I took of the lamp fitting it would seem that they are Harvard engineering Wi-Fi units where 256 leaf nodes can be connected in a 1 km radius in an urban environment. Although maximum range is 8 km line of sight.
It works on 868 MHz FM narrowband pseudo random channel hopping system.

This system is made in the UK and supposedly reduces carbon emissions.

I will look tomorrow with a telescope to see what is actually written on the unit as I may have got this quite wrong.

I don't think the lamps themselves hop around the streets at random, rather the wireless signals.

Regards David

In the cherry picker van the sliding door was open and a photo shows a cardboard box with 70 W arc written on it. This may be 70 W twin tube high-pressure sodium lamps. The photo I took of the first lamp shows a lit possibly twin tube lamp.
I will do some more detective work as this is all tentative at the moment.

Author:  brian livesey [ Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

They do it David to torment us :wink: .

Author:  David Frydman [ Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. Had a look this morning.
The sensor units have written on them Harvard engineering plc.
Remote streetlighting.
Made in UK.
Leaf mode or maybe Leaf nut I'm not sure I'll have to look more closely.
It says -20°C to +55°C rather than -40°C and +70°C as in the literature. Maybe these are a bit cheaper.
EN 300 220.
Regional classification class 5.

I wonder if my air conditioning unit remote control works on 868 MHz?
Oops! Honest guv it was just an accident. I didn't want to turn all the lights off around here and make it so dark that we can actually see the stars.

Regards David

Author:  brian livesey [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Officer: "Worry not Sir, we'll soon have 'em blazing out for you."

Author:  David Frydman [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

. The strange thing is that at about 1930 UTC yesterday there was a complete power cut and I couldn't see anything indoors. We get these about twice a year and all sorts of things start ringing. The lift shaft today is completely lit up with fluorescent strip lights so the timing must've had a fit. These were recently fitted as they are now required in the current regulations.

Anyway, the power cut was not unfortunately very extensive perhaps covering several hundred metres. The stars in Ursa Major were very nice and I think the sky became about five times darker. A few years ago there was a power cut over one square mile and I reckon the sky was 10 times darker and began to look reasonably okay perhaps as it used to be in the 1960s.

The strange thing is that the nearby mansion block about a hundred and 50 yards away had lit hall lighting but the residential lighting was out. They must have some kind of emergency generator or battery system.

Bring back the gas lamps.

Regards David

Author:  brian livesey [ Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

And little Nell, selling her matches.

Author:  David Frydman [ Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Road Lighting Could be dimmed.

Birds, Shield, WiFi Sensor

File comment: Birds
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File comment: Shield
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File comment: WiFi sensor
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