Doing my bit for light pollution ...

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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brian livesey
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Doing my bit for light pollution ...

Post by brian livesey »

Many people would agree that this is the most trying time of the year, but we can still do our country walks in the stimulating cold air. I’m fortunate to be close to a wood with a huge variety of boreal trees.
The old railway line was tarmaced years ago and serves as a woodland footpath. People who like dogs will see every imaginable breed being walked along there, some growling and straining on the lead to sink their carnivorous teeth into us; others yelping to play and be patted.
As Nature closes down for winter, she released a final glorious splash of colour in the Autumn leaves.
There’s a depressing dirth of colour now. My solution is to have the tree outside the front window decked out in seasonal lights for the whole of December. For me it’s a Solstice tree, promising lighter, warmer, days to come. Yes, the tree radiates light pollution, but none of the neighbors are dedicated skywatchers, except to moan about the weather, and I can always retreat to the back garden to see starlight. :D
Last edited by brian livesey on Wed Jan 19, 2022 7:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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michael feist
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Re: Doing my bit for light pollution ...

Post by michael feist »

I go for your idea of celebrating the Winter Solstice (which I feel is important ) but dislike the idea of x-mas lights outdoors (or indoors really). I guess the x-mas tree business seems horribly wasteful in many ways, including those millions of trees cut down and then, rootless, thrown away, probably incinerated. Regards grumpy old mike f.
brian livesey
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Re: Doing my bit for light pollution ...

Post by brian livesey »

Many years ago Mike, I saw a tiny sapling sprouting from a pavement and carefully drew it out. I planted the sapling near the front window, then watered it and left it to fate.
As it turned out, the sapling thrived in its new home and became identifiable as an elderberry tree.
Every Winter Solstice, I give the tree its mantel of “fairy lights” to brighten up the seasonal gloom and cheer up passers-by. The energy used is minuscule. Mind you, I wouldn’t say no to powering the lights from solar panels. :wink:
Last edited by brian livesey on Fri Dec 17, 2021 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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michael feist
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Re: Doing my bit for light pollution ...

Post by michael feist »

Elderberry trees really survive and spread. Once I planted a small cutting and by goodness it really spread with no help from me, even escaping from the garden. I now have a yew-tree, which I often mention in my reports, which was given to me by my father as a sapling. It is useful to hide the Sun, when observing Venus by day. Yews are often to be found in church yards where grazing animals are not likely to be, as the foliage and the seeds in the red arils are very poisonous. Yew trees were probably in these gardens before Christian Churches were build. The outer part of the aril, the red freshy part, are really stick like snot to your fingers. In Sussex at least, they are called 'snotty gogs' . Blackbirds love them, presumably they swallow the aril and pass out the seed. The other astronomical advantage of this tree it that it hides the upper window lights of nearby houses. The celebration of the Solstice and the very long living yew were no doubt very important for our pre-Christian ancestors. Regards mike f.
Last edited by michael feist on Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
brian livesey
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire
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Re: Doing my bit for light pollution ...

Post by brian livesey »

My elderberry seems to be slowly dying now. In late summer I pruned off quite a few dead branches and there’s moss spreading over the trunk and branches. I’ll miss the tree when it goes, as it must, as we all must:

As leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground. Homer
Last edited by brian livesey on Sun Dec 05, 2021 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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