Possability of more light pollution?

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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davep
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Possability of more light pollution?

Post by davep »

'Makeover' plan for alleyways
Operation Gate-It has made £1.2 million available to improve lighting, design and add new gates in an effort to stop anti-social behavior.
When I was a kid I used to observe from the back-yard of my parents' terrace house in York. While the light pollution was pretty bad at least there were no lights in the back-alley.
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Post by joe »

Ok. Here is a nationwide policy initiative and involves directly the issue of lighting. As one who hasn't yet made any practical efforts to "fight back" in the war against light pollution, I will commit myself here to contacting the Home Office with a letter detailing my concerns. (I'm obviously not against the initiative itself) Does anyone else want to do the same? I will maybe copy my letter to the forum. There might be something on the CfDS website, I haven't looked yet and they might/will be better at this sort of thing. But it would be nice to hear from people here about this which is something concrete.

Thanks Dave for bringing it to our attention.
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davep
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Post by davep »

I've been considering the same thing: seeing if the CfDS are aware of this and/or finding out more about what the government are intending to actually do.
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Post by davep »

I've just had a look on the CfDS website but couldn't find any mention of this on there. I've now dropped them a line to see if they're aware of it.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear DaveP and Joe
I recommend some caution on this one.
The lighting fraternity (eg manufacturers and Institution of Eighting Engineers) are a powerful lobby. They have"right", fighting crime, safety and security on their side. On top of that the general public want a 24 hour glitzy life style.
Amateur astronomers genuinely concerned about light pollution are a minority. The armchair lot could not care less about light pollution. Indeed it provides them with an excuse for not observing.
When the Parliamentary Science & technology Committee finalised their paper about Astronomy and Light Pollution, they held launch meetings in the various regions around the UK. I went to the North West England launch meeting, held at Manchester. Dr Brian Iddon, a Bolton MP, presented the report and did an excellent job TOO! I reckon that lessthan 30 people attended the meeting (held on a mid-evening). The meeting was open to anyone in the NW England. I ask you 30 out of "ALL" the supposed astronomers in the NW. Manchester Astronomical society alone gets as many as that their ordinary regular weekly meetings held in the same building.
When the Light Pollution was mentioned in Prime Ministers Question Time at Parliament, the Prime Minister's response was XXX (when I commented about this at the time on this forum my comments were censored).
I could go on and on. however, to get more directly to the point. If leters of objection about the "backpassage" lighting are being proposed. Bare in mind how many of the people objecting (ie us astronomers) actually live adjacent to the actual passages. I personally do live in quite a modest terrace house. Although there is no back passage between the houses. There is though some security lighting (one on all night and several others on infra red sensors). S leylandi were chopped down recently which has not helped my light polluton problems. Fortunately my closest neighbours are generally simpathetic eg turn kitchen lights off when not using the kitchen at night. One next door neighbours are moving soon though ??
Any letters sent expressing concerns about the "back Passage" lighting will need a lot of thought. A million photocopied letters would not likely be any good. Likewise I think petitions tend to get scant attention by the authorities. To be honest I think if astronomers objected to "security" lighting which most local residents directly adjacent to the back passages affected, it could do astronomy more harm than good.
I am afraid as far as i am concerned UK astronomers make no general concerted effort to fight light pollution - TO MANY amchair astronomers more interested in pholosophiseing about astronomy at astro soc meetings.
Best wishes from the Extremely Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
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Post by joe »

Point taken Cliff and I won't be sending off a rant to whoever it may concern, but perhaps a constant reminder is needed for these people that a bit of thought about the TYPE of lighting they are proposing would be beneficial to all. It may not have any effect but I certainly don't have any intention to inadvertently turn amateur astronomers into publc enemy number two.

Regards,
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Post by joe »

Just been thinking about your response a little more Cliff and find myself a little bit surprised that you are not more supportive considering that you have been expressing annoyance that more of us don't become more active. I agree that it's hard to have an input to a local planning decision but while this proposal by the Home Office may have the smallest effect (hopefully none) on light pollution it is a national one and any opportunity therefore to talk about a national "lighting" decision is a golden one. Your warning is useful and perhaps a letter that refers to the kind of lighting rather than not having it at all is the best approach. If you think, as someone who has experience, that it would be better not to get involved in this particular one then please let us know.

Regards,
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davep
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:Amateur astronomers genuinely concerned about light pollution are a minority. The armchair lot could not care less about light pollution. Indeed it provides them with an excuse for not observing.
Hmm, that one again eh? If this is the case how do you explain the concern I've had about light pollution during my many years as a member of the "armchair lot"? That concern didn't just start and finish at "aye, t'is bad, I'm annoyed, ooo, look, more pretty pictures in Astronomy Now!". My concerns included finding out more about the issue, keeping up with the information on the CfDS website and, on one occasion where it was appropriate, writing to the CfDS (for more information and guidance) and also getting in contact with the potential polluters in question to find out more about what they were proposing and seeing if they'd taken the issue of light pollution into account.
Cliff wrote:If leters of objection about the "backpassage" lighting are being proposed.
While it's nice that you're concerned I think you might have read too much into what Joe and I have said. I can't speak directly for Joe but I get the impression that his intent is the same as mine: get more information from the likes of the CfDS first (if they're "on the case" already then there's little point in diluting the effort if any effort is required) and, if necessary, write to the Home Office seeking more detail about the proposed lighting improvements. I would, of course, declare my background and interest in this matter (as I did in my first post) and would ask my question based around the issue of light pollution but at no point would I be writing in outright objection; that would be silly because I'd be objecting to something that I don't actually know anything concrete about yet.
Cliff wrote:Any letters sent expressing concerns about the "back Passage" lighting will need a lot of thought.
Rest assured: lack of thought isn't something I'm into. I doubt Joe is either. I'd no more write such a letter assuming that the light will be polluting and should be stopped than I'd have written a post here assuming that those concerned want it stopped or want to enguage in a mass letter photocopying or petition filling campaign. My approach would be and will be to ask first and then act on the information.

I'm sure your concern was well meant (although it's a shame that you decided to use it as another oppertunity to besmirch in a divisive way those of us who did or do engage with astronomy from an "armchair") but I think, at the moment, it assumes too much.
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Post by mark_smith »

Could we possibly create a new section within the spa? This could do a great number of things such as

•Keep people in the know about future light problems/law
•Set up meetings
•Tell people what they can do to help
•Most of all encourage people to have special lights i.e. security lights.

Even if it’s not a national help some people have had success with there local councils and had special lights put in there street and other ways of decreasing light pollution.
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Post by davep »

mark_smith wrote:Could we possibly create a new section within the spa?
Wouldn't that just duplicate the effort of the CfDS?
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Post by mark_smith »

Probably would but doing it as a group "SPA" may have a slight effect. The cfds people are a national problem I was looking more of a local problem for individuals. Plus 2 groups making noise about a problem might have an effect
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Post by joe »

While not wishing to upset the SPA I do think that the CfDS is the best place to go for information and advice on light pollution. All efforts should be made here though to promote the campaign. The stronger it becomes the more leverage it will have .... hopefully.
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davep
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Post by davep »

mark_smith wrote:The cfds people are a national problem I was looking more of a local problem for individuals.
As I understand it the CfDS operate at a local as well as a national level (I personally know my local officer -- he's the Chairman of the AS that I'm a member of).
mark_smith wrote:Plus 2 groups making noise about a problem might have an effect
But it could just as easily dilute the effort.
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Post by mark_smith »

Good good points Joe and davep. Does anyone else have any thoughts? I personally don’t have a problem except from some factories along the Humber but cant really complain as they give my family a living including me. The only other light pollution is one street light but that’s hidden behind my house.
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Post by mark_smith »

anyone :?:
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