Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Radar

Street Lights For and Against

Recommended Posts

Well its obvious I am against it. Most kids these days can't point out and name one constellation due to our local governments allowing the sky to be polluted. I know streetlights also mess with animals mating and feeding times. And I did read that some streetlights could cause cancers due to the melatonin levels we should have during sleep being incorrect.

I've been told by my local council that streetlights give people a sense of security. My response is, if you are scared, get some sensors and cameras installed, they are super cheap these days, and we shouldn't have to pay for people's fears. 

IMO, streetlights are a huge waste of money and waste huge amounts of energy as well, because 99% of the light is never actually seen.

What is better, streetlights that have sensors which are pretty cheap and easy to use, or turning them off at 10pm? What's the solution? How do we convince councils and local governments to take this seriously? 

Ray,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a tough task Ray, getting reduced lighting is a BIG movement worldwide by several organisations and it is taking decades to get anywhere.

One of the main excuses councils, town planners, communities, and businesses use is the feeling of safety and security, which has now been proven to be the opposite. I totally understand the necessity for lighting along dark pathways and back lanes for personal safety, but almost all lighting worldwide is poorly designed and implemented.

With correct lighting design we would ALL see the sky, anywhere!

 

Some of the organisations attempting to make a difference are:

Australian Dark Sky Register (Australia)

Australasian Dark Sky Alliance (Australia/NZ)

International Dark Sky Association (Worldwide)

ANPCEN (France)

Astronomitaly (Italy)

CieloBuio (Italy)

Niue Dark Sky Initiative (Nuie)

Campaign for Dark Skies (UK)

Canadian Geographic (Canada)

National Dark Sky Week (USA)

 

Cheers, Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/27/2021 at 11:09 PM, Dragon Man said:

which has now been proven to be the opposite

Ken do you have those findings? Be handy to show my local councilor (whom I know very well). 

Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ray, I can't remember which sites I quoted each time I approached council but there was a lot of them. It was a few years ago. The internet is full of information to assist us in fighting light pollution.

I googled all the ones I used by searching for papers on subjects like: Light Pollution, streetlighting effects on wildlife, Light Pollution causes breast cancer, preserving dark skies, etc

But also be aware, I was given some great info from council staff that at council meetings they don't really listen to facts about how we can't see stars, or how it is damaging our hobby, or that possums can't sleep. They will say these are important to them (just rhetoric). What really makes them consider reduction, or controlling further development is when you speak Dollars! Show them proof that they can save a LOT of money annually on their streetlighting power bills and then you've got their interest. That's what finally helped us. There are figures on the net showing how much less power the LED streetlighting uses. It is such a major difference that councils all across Victoria have switched over. They have take  down the old power hungry streetlights and fit new LED lights.

You will hear astronomers across the world complain about LED lighting because it is brighter and their wavelength is hard to filter out for astrophotography. But they hadn't done any tests with the actual lights in place. They only read specs.

Why LED lights are far better for us (besides council saving big dollars) is that despite their brighter light, and multi-wavelength spectrum, they are shielded! That means that although below the light is brighter and multi wavelength the light only goes down, not upwards into the sky as most lighting does, and after many teats we don't have ANY problems with any multi-wavelengths because the light doesn't get up to the sky.

At our Clubsite/Observatory our sky has gone noticably darker since the new LED lights have been fitted and we have a streetlight right out front of our observatory.

Photos show a major difference. This is the streetlight out front of our Observatory. Notice how far up the trees (and sky) the 'before' light goes, compared to the light cut off completely half way up the trees and the darker sky in the 'after' pic:

streetlights-before-LED.jpg.1cef06a88c00ca2ca21b76890fd9dff8.jpg

streetlights-after-LED.jpg.245dc26ea0daafee3efea8595872ac15.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guru. I am going to see if I can get my council to turn lights off a few nights a month (around new moon time) to save energy and assist kids with learning the sky (a forgotten art).  

Ray

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have some very impressive before and after shots too. Before was Sodium street lighting and the sky was a BRIGHT sickly yellow. After, the sky (to the eye) looked much darker and you could see many more stars. Here's the rub. Astroimaging wise the sky is WORSE with the LED lighting than it was with the Sodium lighting!!! Has Parker lost it? How can it possibly be worse when you can see far more stars by eye - and that of course is the argument the local Councillors use when convincing the plebs that LED lighting is so much better for the night sky. Well the problem is that manufacturers made really efficient light pollution filters which took out ALL the Sodium light pollution. You cannot have a filter for the LED lighting as it is broadband. So what you find is that Sodium filtered skies are DARKER to the CCD than the skies where LED street lights are fitted. So even though the LED lights are better shielded, enough bounces back off the ground, trees, whatever to actually make the skies worse than they were before.

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh - and by the way. It was excellent here for a while when the LED street lights were turned off around midnight - then my skies were pretty dark indeed. But what happened? Enough people complained that they didn't feel "safe" and so the Council kept the lights on all night. You just can't bloody win here :(

Greg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, wingeing Pom said:

people complained that they didn't feel "safe" and so the Council kept the lights on all night

This is interesting Greg. I know my council have infrared cameras everywhere, so hopefully if people complain, they may be able to use that as a comeback.

Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone who is up all night and sees what's going on - the only thing the street lights help at 1 in the morning are the foxes to find their way home. I have never seen anyone walking around at that time.

Greg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here Greg. I have heard some drunks talking loudly as they were walking home from the pub at about midnight probably 3 times in the 20 years I have lived here. Being out in the country we don't even have footpaths, so what do we need streetlights for?  :lol:

 

Ken

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spoke to my local councilor this week about doing an energy saving initiative combined with a kids chance to see some stars around new moon. My councilor is very accepting of the idea. I also discussed how artificial light is causing disease in animals and humans and needs to be looked at. I'm going to compile and make a small dossier for her fellow councilors to see if they can progress forward. Stay tuned. 

Ray

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was at a Council meeting where they were discussing changing all the Sodium street lights over to LED. And the only question that came from one of the local councillors was "Would the new lamp posts be the same colour as the old ones". That was the depth of their understanding.

Greg 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, wingeing Pom said:

That was the depth of their understanding

Ouch. Unfortunately most leaders are completely scientifically illiterate. The universe is governed by the laws of science, certainly not gods or prophets from the stone age, iron age or bronze age. I guarantee most leaders can recite paragraphs from religious texts from 1000's of years ago, but would struggle to quote most well known scientific principles. Ouch again. 

Ray

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×