. Light Munchers.

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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David Frydman
Posts: 5341
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am

. Light Munchers.

Post by David Frydman »

. Are there any creatures that live on a diet of external light fittings?
They could have a varied diet of low-pressure sodium, high-pressure sodium, Mercury, tungsten, halogen or LED light fittings.
They could munch away on bulkhead fittings, Rottweilers lights, spotlights and so on.
And the odd burglar or three would give them extra nourishment.
perhaps signs saying ' burglars will be eaten ' might deter some.

I ask this because the battle for my night sky seems over after fighting for it for perhaps 15 years.
The bullies here are installing dusk to dawn external light fittings en masse.

Yesterday they installed 2 spotlights.
The electricians assured me they had chosen low intensity lamps to meet my requests.
They are indeed not the 300 Watt Rottweilers variety.
I thought they might be 75 W halogen.
But the electrician says they are 20 W LED.
But there is a problem with these as the light beam is not controlled.
The electrician said they have a 70° controlled beam but this clearly does not have a cut-off as the LED source is large and the reflector is small.

Anyway, I showed him photographs taken at 3 AM this morning BST. Firstly of the two lamps taken through the window. He said that the lamps were not powerful enough to affect me and he accepts that the lamps can be seen very bright.
Next, I showed him photographs of the curtains drawn with both lamps clearly visible right through the curtains.
The exposures were handheld and sharp. One second at F2 .8 at 400 ISO. Canon a 720.

I'm still weighing my options.
I may take legal action against the bully seeking costs and maybe damages.
I think that the thought of his having to pay costs may be effective.
But I prefer of course to somehow negotiate.

It is illegal in English law to shine lights into people's windows at night.
It comes under think the law of nuisance.
It is not up to the victim to defend himself by my bully's suggestion that I fit heavier curtains.
It is up to the offender to remove the intruding lamps.
There is clear case law here and I'm pretty sure I would win but it is a lot of hassle.

Furthermore, in the near future new developments nearby will have very detrimental effects on my remaining sky. I faught this successfully for maybe seven years but of course eventually the developers win.

I understand that North Korea has very dark skies but I'm not sure that I want to emigrate there.

Perhaps, after WW3 the few survivors might have dark skies, although they may have mutated into three headed creatures with nine eyes. And the sky may have a green glow for 10,000 years.

Anyway, David the best thing is to have patience and a cool head and think logically.

Sorry for the moan. But if you have any dark skies left fight to keep them otherwise you may end up with my situation.

Regards David

brian livesey
Posts: 5363
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Re: . Light Munchers.

Post by brian livesey »

Well David, maybe it's time to get a rose cottage deep in the countryside :wink: .

mike a feist
Posts: 3303
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West

Re: . Light Munchers.

Post by mike a feist »

A very sorry state of affairs, David. It seems an endless battle and a battle of attrition...I think that is the right word......a gradual nibbling away of any darkness left. I imagine that eventually we will be left with daytime astronomy (incl the Sun), dawn and dusk astronomy (before the lights come on) and planets + Moon at night.......but even the latter can be lost if drowned out by direct illumination..... and not to mention the annoyance of not being able to sleep with the curtains open. ....and being told that you could get thicker curtains is the ultimate insult. What else can I say?! regards maf

David Frydman
Posts: 5341
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am

Re: . Light Munchers.

Post by David Frydman »

. Thank you very much Mike for the sympathetic reply.

Much of the problem lies with Brussels and their continuing interference with the way people live their lives.
As I said before if closer ties with Europe means less military conflict, I'm in favour.

I used to run this block of flats for about seven years, but the ever-increasing legislation means that it is almost totally impossible for anybody to successfully manage a block of flats without breaking the law or without employing managing agents.

I feel very lucky to have lived my life in relative peace, and in my work I have travelled extensively throughout Europe and have absolutely nothing against other countries. But the way it has turned out is frankly obscene.

I was born in one of the heaviest air raids and was lucky to survive that.
Then my aunt's house, which was a quarter of a mile from me, had a direct hit by a V 2.
My aunt and uncle and baby cousin survived with the baby's very heavy duty wooden cot supporting the whole roof of the demolished house.
The crater in the front garden was perhaps 40 foot deep and 30 foot wide but somehow in the dark nobody fell in.
The neighbours were killed.
And all our windows were blown out a quarter of a mile away.

Then our house burned down and in middle age I smelt burning or melting glass again, and this immediately triggered memories of our fire. We again survived.
my other aunt was an air raid warden kicking incendiaries off roofs.

So I am pretty robust, but unfortunately when poor health and lack of mobility arise one can no longer travel to dark sites to enjoy astronomy.
If I were to move to the countryside as Brian suggests I'm pretty sure that almost immediately light pollution would strike.
It is like the British couple who moved to the Falklands to have a totally peaceful and quiet life away from hassle only to be immediately invaded.
You cannot really escape from modern life and the approximately 7.4 billion humans taking from the Earth more than it can provide.

Despite all the best intentions of the campaign for dark skies and their successes, the truth is light pollution continually gets worse. It will only be when disaster strikes that we will have dark skies again, but then we all will have other difficulties.
And most people couldn't care less about dark skies and just want more and more light, which actually damages their health, and damages the health of our fellow creatures.
but apparently youngsters from the age of two cope Perfectly well with their digital devices and go on to be continually connected to their mobile phone in one hand and the other computer in the other. Chatting away to who knows whom and yet connecting with nobody socially face-to-face.

It is actually to me quite funny as I was using a room size Pegasus computer in the late 1950s but I have no idea how modern computers work or operate.

Anyway, with regards to our new lighting.
The lamp facing me on the left was angled almost flat down in the photograph of it shows a quite tolerable image. The one on the right was only angled a few degrees and I'm going to employ guerrilla tactics and quietly angle that flat.

But in addition to these we now I think have obscene bulkhead fittings on dawn to dusk facing outwards. These are I think called maintained emergency lights, which are horrible to work on over time. The bully dealing with this really thinks that Blackpool illuminations is what we need for safety.
I and the other person who were dealing with this previously chose non-maintained emergency lights which are only on in emergencies and are much easier to deal with over time.
she was ousted illegally in a coup d'etat.
if you have such angst with a small number of individuals, no wonder running countries and Europe is an impossible task.

Anyway the white building opposite is now fully lit all night long but will soon be overtaken by what will look like her Majesty's prison next door when the final bit of sky will disappear.
but maybe that will not be white possibly a dull grey.

All good fun I suppose, but the depression of a couple of days ago is over and I will see what observations are possible from living in an urban jungle.

Blade Runner living has come to town.

All the best, David

Posts: 3650
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough

Re: . Light Munchers.

Post by Brian »

Dear David,

I'm sad to hear of your problems with light-pollution/trespass from the newly-fitted lights. As you say, the only scenario going forward is for things to get steadily worse, at least until fossil fuels run out or become restrictively expensive. Then we may see a change in attitude to wasteful lighting. And of course eventually Man will fizzle out and his lights will follow him, but that certainty won't help us just now.

It's good to hear you say that you are beating the initial depression you felt,

With Best regards,
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
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Ro-Ro roof shed

David Frydman
Posts: 5341
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am

Re: . Light Munchers.

Post by David Frydman »

. For some reason the new lamps were off last night. I think they still have not finished installing all of them.
There was just one light fitting under a balcony which is not connected to the others.

Taking photographs and visually it is clear that the immediate scene in front of me is about six times darker with the lights off.
Or in other words with the lights on the scene is six times brighter. It may end up even brighter when all the lights are installed.

The sky was clear and transparent and I would say that the sky is about 1.5 times brighter with the lamps on compared with the lamps off.
However, the real problem is with the glare and reflections in the window glass.
It will be necessary to remove the net curtains which are white.

In the semidarkness I saw that there was creature on the grass which I presume to be a cat but which I could not identify.
In the 10×25 binocular it was seen to be a fox who was quite happy to sit there for at least several minutes. I suppose they must have quite good night vision may be better than mine.

This was at about 3:30 AM BST or 2:30 AM UTC.

Both last night and the previous night I looked for noctilucent cloud but I saw none either in a 10×42 binocular or with the unaided eyes.

For several weeks now the streetlight in front of me has been off and the sky has been quite a bit darker.
But today I saw that the streetlight and a neighbouring one up the road were on all day long, so maybe tonight the streetlight will be back.
Any extra darkness is useful but it doesn't last long.

The future looks bright but not in the way most people mean it.

Regards, David

brian livesey
Posts: 5363
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Re: . Light Munchers.

Post by brian livesey »

With the changes you've mentioned David, the frustration you experience isn't likely to go away entirely :x . The problem at my site is mainly tall, encircling, trees - an unwanted gift from the borough's Politburo.
Before you get too old for a move, you could shop around to see what kind of alternative suburban accomodation might be available to you :D .

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