To See The Stars

Can you remember the last time you looked up at the night sky and marvelled at the heavens above? I can, it was at Easter this year when I was staying at the Lizard in Cornwall. For several nights I was treated to clear dark skies and fantastic views of the constellations and Jupiter and several of its moons.

I took the opportunity of taking my telescope with me and gave my kids a tour of the night sky. However depending on where you live you may hardly see any stars at all let alone a dark night sky.

Have you ever wondered who’s paying the energy bill????

51co-ot9ptlOne of the greatest man-made menaces today is that of the so called “security” light, you know… the one that you have fixed to your house, or that of your neighbours which goes off through the night every time a cat walks past it and not only illuminates their back yard but also your bedroom. While an easy solution would be to have blackout curtains so you can sleep in peace. The problem is not only confined to homeowners keen to try to deter thieves and other undesirables from trespassing on their property. It is also that of your local authorities and large companies who think its a great idea to bathe their all-important buildings with poorly designed light fittings with no thought to the effect they are having on our environment.

Now before you think “there goes another tree-hugging eco warrior” (or whatever it is that you choose to call them, I leave that to you…) banging on about “light pollution” and saving the planet I want you to take a long look at the picture at the top of this article for a few moments.

The picture above was taken by Major Tim Peake from the International Space Station which is in orbit above us at approximately 400km and shows the view of the United Kingdom at night. Quite a spectacular sight isn’t it? Even Universal Studios uses an animated version of the earth with the major cities lit up. It also kind of explains why you can see no more than a handful of stars on a clear night if you live in or near a city. Where I live the sky is frequently orange in colour because of the use of low pressure sodium lighting.

It’s because all the light from your security lights, floodlights, streetlights etc. is being wasted by lighting up the underside of passing aircraft and the nation from space.

But here’s the thing… Have you ever wondered who’s paying the energy bill???? Well guess what… it’s YOU!!! You pay your electricity supplier for it, you pay your local government through taxes for it.

Now some local authorities have begun initiatives to replace old streetlights with modern efficient LED designs that reduce the spill of unwanted light and direct the light to where its needed, on the ground and not in the sky! It’s a step in the right direction but more needs to be done and this is where you can do something.

Adjust your security lights

It’s a 5 minute job with a set of ladders and a screwdriver/pliers. Just follow the guide below for an idea of where your light needs to stop. I set mine to just cover the top of my fence in my garden.

floodlight-angles-goodbad

Support the petition below

At the time of this article there is a petition before the United Kingdom Government to acknowledge that this form of pollution/energy wastage is a growing problem that needs legislation. To gain acknowledgement from the Government 10,000 signatures are needed, 100,000 signatures will get a full Government consultation (something that can’t be ignored/fobbed off). All it takes is to click on the link below or type it into your browser if you are security conscious and register your vote with your email address. Verify your account by clicking on the link in the return email and job done! It’s that simple!

Petition to Introduce Legislation to Combat light Pollution in the UK

So go on and make your vote count! (Applied to UK residents only)

Remember “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” but bad lighting is!!!

Want to know more? Click on the links below:

 

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