Light Pollution - The Unwanted Menace

The continuing fight against light pollution has led really nowhere fast, but no one said it was going to be easy. The more people that write to Councillors, MP?s and MEP?s the better, the fight is being won slowly but surely as the latest from Bob Mizon in Astronomy Now demonstrates but with your support more could be done.

Some arguments that could be used in correspondence
about light pollution.

May I bring to your attention a growing problem through out the country that I believe needs to be addressed as soon as possible , that is the growing menace of the bright light syndrome. You may already be aware that sky glow is caused by dust and moisture particles illuminated by unguarded lighting seeping into the night skies, thus causing the horrible glow over our cities.

Quite a lot of street lighting is wasted by going upwards in to the night sky, where as all the light is needed down near the ground. This could easily be achieved by fitting better reflectors, hoods, shrouds and/or skirts. Thus directing the light downwards, with this done maybe a smaller wattage light (tube or bulb) could be used. This would cause less dazzle and be cheaper to run. I am not suggesting for a moment that all lighting should be switched off as that would be foolish to say the least.

The security lighting that can be bought relatively cheaply from the high street are becoming more common in back gardens etc. These could be fitted with passive infra-red, heat and/or motion sensors to detect/deter any anti-social elements on the prowl. If security lighting must remain on during the hours of darkness simply by directing the light below the horizontal would help.

Astronomers lighting needs are the same as everyone else?s. We are not a special breed that shy away if caught in bright lights. What we really are, are ordinary people with a hobby or past time that takes us out side during the hours of darkness to gaze at the wonders of the cosmos. Do you realise that the light from the nearest star has taken years reach to us, so really we are looking at history unfolding.

The reason for my writing is an article is photographs showing England and Europe lit up like a Christmas tree during the hours of darkness.

I am an amateur astronomer who enjoys the company of the stars, but, because my hobby takes me out side during the hours of darkness to observe the richness of the cosmos only to find the night skies an orange colour and most of the faint glories beyond my grasp. I am not the only one suffering this problem, in fact most if not all amateur astronomers do suffer this problem.

The natural resources of OUR PLANET will not last forever, so is it not logical to conserve them now. Meaning the fossil fuels with which each of us use to warm our homes, cook with and light our surroundings when needed. My point being is in 1992 Britain spent £150 million operating 5.5 million street lights and as much as £40 million was wasted lighting up the night sky.

May I bring to your attention the Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) who are trying to save our night skies now before it is too late and our children's children miss out on the glories to be seen. Would you add your voice to ours in asking the people who matter to act now.

City Engineers 
MP House Of Commons London SW1A 0AA