Proposal to eliminate Light Pollution

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2004 11:02 am
Location: London, U.K.

Proposal to eliminate Light Pollution

Post by Simon »

As a regular night time observer living within 20 miles of the British capital, I am constantly shocked at how hard it is too see anything beyond a 3rd- 4th magnitude star on some nights.

I have noticed several campaigns to reduce the effects of light pollution in our skies, and wholeheartedly support them all, but was very surprised that nobody seems to have addressed the biggest polluter of them all.
The moon!

Can't we find a way to drag this useless hunk of rock out of our orbit so we can all have clear skies all month round? (I'm not being serious, just taking the rise out of some of the rants about light pollution, before anyone replies thinking I'm suggesting we blow up the moon)

But in all seriousness, just how much does that old moon effect our viewing?
I've been lucky enough to see the milky way unaided on a moonless night away from the city.
I doubt that would be possible under the full glare of Dianna.
In your experience, how would you rank a moon compared to light pollution?
What phase of the moon do you think compares to the light pollution in your area compared to a totally unspoilt sky?

I reckon that London equates to a quarter or cresent moon at all times of the month. Having a full moon seems to more than halve the amount of feint stars I can see.

Would you rather view stars from a polluted site, or under full/nearly full moon conditions?
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Post by Orchard47 »

You have to take air pollution into account to make any sense of this argument. In a clear-air sky, the effect of the moon is actually quite negligible, but the air quality in the UK is pretty bad now and this scatters the moonlight to obscure all but the brightest stars. Just compare this effect near London, and then do the same from somewhere like northern Scotland and you will see what I mean.

I have looked at deep sky objects through my scope which are just a few degrees from the full moon, and strange as it may seem, they look almost the same as they do with no moon. With planetry observation, it makes no difference as far as I can tell.
Regards, Chris.

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Post by Mike Feist »

You really have got it in for the Moon.
You would not write jupiter or sirius so why write moon?
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Post by DeepSkyObserver »

I have been fortunate enough to observe from Australia's Outback and the skies are so clean and dry that I could observe faint objects even under a full moon.

I would be more inclined to concentrate on curbing man-made pollution (light and particle) than moaning about the moon - yes, ok, it is a confounded nuisance but at least it's out of the way for nearly a fortnight.
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Light Pollution

Post by Asteeleleith »

Hi All

You know i am beginning to realise the greatest way to win the light pollution problem is to see if we can get the press interested. How much has press power managed to achieve?

Maybe be should get them behind the campaign, anythoughts?

Engineer, businessman, and Astronomer
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