Arch rival to the sky

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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Robin Scagell
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Arch rival to the sky

Post by Robin Scagell »

I happened to be near Wembley last night and found that the new Wembley arch is now floodlit -- presumably in an attempt to persuade people that London is the place for the Olympics in 2012.

A year or so ago I wrote to Ken Livingstone's office asking that when the arch was finished it should not be floodlit in such a way as to shine lighting upwards. I got a reply from a minion to say that while the lighting had not yet been decided upon, they would take into account all such considerations.

Although the arch is not lit in the worst way possible (as are so many country churches) by just throwing light at it from the ground in the hope that some of it will hit the arch, the method chosen is still far from acceptable. There are large numbers of individual lamps in the structure, each shining on the spars. And of course a lot of the light spills upwards.

People may say 'what does it matter, when London is a lost cause anyway'. But the trouble is that the lights in London upwards to illuminate the atmosphere throughout the Home Counties, helping to spoil the skies out here in Buckinghamshire, in the wilds of the Essex Marshes, in the Weald of Kent -- no getting away from it.

I can't expect something like this damned arch not to be lit, but it could have been designed so much better so as to shine the lights down into the eyes of the faithful to the gods of sprot -- pardon me, sport -- rather than into the sky.

Robin

Hugh
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Post by Hugh »

Unfortunately, with the debacle of the Olympics high on the agenda, the requirements of a 'minority' like us, will always take a back seat! I saw the arch on the local London news last night and cant say I'm surprised!

Is it not just a tad ironic that at the same time, the carbon trust are advertising for us all to cut down? One of their lines is 'does it matter if I leave one light on?' - ?!?!?!!!!
Hugh

TAL 2M reflector, 150mm (6"), 1,200mm f/8; Soligor 152mm (6"), 750mm f/5; Bresser 10x50 and Opticron 8x42 bins (and desperate for clear skies!)

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Robin and Hugh
I can only totally agree with you.
I worked in local government for 40 years as a highway engineer and so had many dealings with architects, planners and lighting engineers. They were totally clueless about light pollution. I have been retired now for ten years and that situation is apparently no better.
Best of luck to you but I'm afraid it's back to being the Grumpy Old codger Cliff again!

Hugh
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Post by Hugh »

The pesky arch is also visible as far south as Surrey. Look out for it as you come up the A3, just before the Hook under pass where the A3 cuts down from 3 to 2 lanes (and mind the speed camera! But that's a differnt subject...)

At least Suttons United's flood lights only light up my garden on a Wednesday and Saturday.
Hugh

TAL 2M reflector, 150mm (6"), 1,200mm f/8; Soligor 152mm (6"), 750mm f/5; Bresser 10x50 and Opticron 8x42 bins (and desperate for clear skies!)

Brian
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Post by Brian »

It seems to me that the Carbon Trust's strategy is to get the domestic user to cut down on energy usage (and hence emission of greenhouse gases) so that the balance can be used to put more aircraft in the sky and more proliferate lighting schemes on the ground.

Having said that, our local council have just replaced our old mercury vapour "flowerpot" streetlights with twice the number of full cutoff sodium lights. Now the light goes onto the road and we don't have to wear sunglasses in bed for the first time in 25 years :) . Light escaping above the horizontal is very much reduced, and I may even be able to see a bright aurora in the future. The downside is that the sodium lighting makes our pleasant housing estate feel like an industrial estate at nights now.

Still, maybe it was worth writing to my MP when the new legislation was being considered a couple of years ago - even if I did just get the standard reply :?

ATB,
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

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Kaustav
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all night?

Post by Kaustav »

Do they leave the arm turned on all night? I live in Harrow right next to Wembley and there used to be a time where the arch was turned off after 11pm. Things must be changed now. Oh drat.
Kaustav Bhattacharya
>> http://kaustav.uk.com/unisphere/ - An online magazine about Astronomy, Science, Social Media and Society.
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