Is there any hope ?

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

Moderators: joe, Brian, Guy Fennimore, JohnM

Post Reply
Posts: 1168
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:53 pm
Location: Somerset, UK

Is there any hope ?

Post by Vega »

Is there any real hope of winning the Light Pollution battle ? Judging by the number of posts in this section, most ppl think it's too large a battle to fight.

OK, we've come a little way what with council's installing better angled street lights, but it just takes a new floodlit footbal pitch or new fancy lighting effect on a building to reverse the effect totally.

I wish I could go back 100 years (with todays equipment of course!) just to have a peak at the urban skies back then.

Evostar Skywatcher 120/1000mm Refractor, Motor Driven EQ3.2 Mount.
Skyliner 250PX, EQ6 GOTO Synscan Mount
10x50 Bressner Bins, Canon EOS1000D, Canon S30
Total Lunar Eclipse 2018 | Comet Watch | My Astro-photography |
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:04 am
Location: Derby/Burton upon Trent

Post by Gregger »

wish I could go back 100 years
Not half . One of the amazing things I think of when viewing a dim Messier object is how he found them in the first place! He must have had wonderful clear skies.

When I was in the Pyrenees last year at about 1000ft max, the sky was fantastic, with clear air and no lights. Milky Way was incredibly bright and to be honest I struggled to find any constellations as there were so many stard on show!
Posts: 411
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:37 pm

Re: Is there any hope ?

Post by A »

Vega wrote:I wish I could go back 100 years (with todays equipment of course!) just to have a peak at the urban skies back then.

Don't forget that back then, there was no clean air act.
The amount of suspended matter in the air must have
been awful, remember the smog that London had back in
the 50's.

I once read some observing logs from 1905, even then the
astronomer was complaining about town lights and smoke
from the houses and factories.

Sidgwick was wrote that the suspended matter in the air
was a bigger problem to seeing conditions than light pollution,
but that was written back in the 40/50's.

Now we have cleaner air but increased light pollution.
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 3:10 pm
Location: London/Kendal (51.5157N,-0.1215E)

Post by KendalAstronomer »

Smog wasn't the only problems fifty or so years ago, as this observing log shows:
"...started exposure at 21h 44m GMT. Flying bomb exploded very close and shifted star in declination out of the field. Star recovered and exposure restarted at 21h 47m GMT. Just after starting the second time, a second flying bomb exploded. This was more distant and though it shifted image from the (spectrograph) slit, star did not go out of field and was quickly recovered. Exposure ended 22h 07m GMT."
from here

I suppose it depends on where technology goes from here. In the sixties and seventies, I'm sure people thought bringing more punch card computers into the office would've created filing and punching horrors, but technology moved on. Streetlights can be shielded and directed more efficeintly and there may come a time when this view takes hold.

Prefer to look forward than back... though going back home over christmas brought some lovely super clear nights. Stars like diamonds, smudges where clusters lie and all sorts.
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:28 am
Location: U.K. Midlands

Post by Bunny »

I remember listening with envy to my mother describing the pristine skies in semi-rural and suburban Scotland during the blackout in World War II.

These days apart from the street lights being on all night, shops and offices are often illuminated all night too.

It's typical that somewhere a neighbour will install an in-security light intended to dazzle everyone within half a mile.

A couple of weeks ago I read with dismay in my local free paper that Conservative County Councillors were considering allowing illuminated advertising on lamp posts!

Thankfully this ridiculous idea has since been rejected with environmental concerns being one consideration.

Unfortunately I fear that illuminated advertising or not, it will make little difference considering any redundant commercial premises such as hotels and shops, as well as larger houses are being snapped up by developers (and plans going through on the nod) in order to create apartment blocks with presumably all night external lighting. :(

End of rant.
Posts: 6598
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Location: Manchester

Post by Cliff »

Dear Vega
Hopefully YES!
See the Stockport SkyBeam post which I thought worth a seperate mention even though I also said we should not cheer too loudly yet.
Best wishes from Cliff
Post Reply