Streetlights in Reading to be upgraded

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droseman
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Streetlights in Reading to be upgraded

Post by droseman »

Hi

I heard on the local news this morning that Reading council are investigating proposals to upgrade the streetlights in Reading to 'more efficient' alternatives. I am assuming that this means LED based solutions.

The article mentioned that it would improve the lighting of the streets in many areas as well as reducing the energy footprint.

AFAIK the LED technologies are much more directed lighting than the old sodium discharge tubes, so this could well be a win-win situation for both worried residents and astronomers alike.

Dave
Celestron C6-N
CG-4 mount
20mm Plossl
2x Barlow

Mike Clarke
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Post by Mike Clarke »

Hi Dave

In the last year, I have had two mega schools built at the back
of my house. They have an enormous floodlit area of car parks
and sports fields which are being used every single night of the
week. The car park on its own has 110 floodlights.

On top of this the council have replaced all the road lights.
To give you some idea, they have replaced 4 lights with 14
over the same length of one bit of road.

You would think that this is terrible, but I have to say that I've
been very impressed by how well it has all been done.
On Saturday night I was still able to stars down to magnitude 5.6
with the unaided eye.

The worst culprit for light pollution here, is the railway station
who are using these 500w lights from Focus stuck on top of very high
poles. Several of them don't even point down.

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Droseman and Michael
Droseman; I'll keep my fingers crossed for you about the new "LED" proposed Reading Street-lighting.
I know that now even streetlighting engineers are getting worried about the cost of energy used to power streetlights. However, I personally I not yet convinced that lighting engineers consider light pollution as a big priority that astronomers might like.
A few years back streetlighting was king - for such simple corny reasons that putting up more brighter streetlights was an easy way for town councils (and councillors) to be seen to be doing something for the publics benefit. At the other end of the local authority engineering work scale, constructing a mile of new sewer might really be more important than streetling the same road but all the the general public and town councillors noticed was the traffic holdups the sewer works caused.
So streetlighting has been a very popular sometimes for wrong reasons.
Hopefully this situation is changing.
Michael; with regards your points. I have to say that sunday night was something of an eyeopenner. We had some strong squally weather all day and most of the evening. As I have said elsewhere about midnight there was a break in the clouds and I was amazed with the excellent transparency. I could see Holmes by unaided eye for the first time sine before the previous strong Moon. I made a 15x70 binocular observation but unfortunately the cloud closed in before I could make a sketch. The pity was in the short time available I could not assess the basic limiting star magnitude. However, I am convinced that between the clouds the sky was much more transparent than for a very long time. Next night there was a three hour clear spell but the sky was less transparent the comet was back to being just a fuzzy blob in my same 15x70 bins and not seen by unaided eye.
So basically I am saying what we have all known for a long time, air pollution is a significant factor with respect to the light pollution problem.
Best wishes from Cliff

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Michael
With regards your new lighting problems, I assume being related to schools the new 100 lights are not switched on all night, I HOPE!
One problem as I see it with regards increased night lighting it often seems to result in more traffic. The result is that over a period of time this causes increased air pollution and this pollution makes light pollution even worse. I have noticed that on the rare occasions my local atmosphere seems relatively clean the light pollutio seems less than usual even though there is the same amount of lighting.
Best of luck from Cliff

droseman
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Post by droseman »

Hi Cliff,

I absolutely agree with that - on a recent observing trip to a rural area, I noticed that the seeing was vastly improved. Light pollution and air pollution do go hand in hand. Problem is, you may be able to get people to switch their lights off, but they are not going to stop using their cars all the time.

--dave
Celestron C6-N
CG-4 mount
20mm Plossl
2x Barlow

Cliff
Posts: 6589
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Location: Manchester
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Dave
I must confess I worry when I hear a local authority suggesting they are intending to install more efficient street lighting.
All too often I suspect more efficient to most folk (including town councillors and officials) tends to mean "brighter" street lights. Although I do accept that "efficiency" in a perhaps truer sense is tending to be appreciated and the message getting through slowly.
Even so from a vague report in our local rag, it seems to suggest that our Bury council have just turned down a proposal to make financial economies on Bury's street lighting, not surebut I think the idea was to turn off lights after midnight and\or turn of a proportion of streetlights, maybe every other one ?
Best of luck from Cliff

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