Astronomy The Problems
TrueToad / Sunday, March 20, 2016 / Categories: Astronomy, Solar Imaging

Astronomy The Problems

What We Face

What a life we live as Astronomers - In a time of emerging technologies, smart devices and information flowing at the speed of light. Some of the biggest challenges we face is our worry about what we have and use.   In the reality we live our environment and location dictates our ability to enjoy our craft.

Our Challanges:  

Light Pollution - the way of the world is to light it up, regardless of the impact to the environment or thoughtless considerations for viewers of the night time sky.  A friend and his daughter came to visit me while I was in Oregon and while out during night fall, his little girl pointed up and said "wow" I can see the stars, and yes she could indeed see the stars for the first time in her life.  Both live in NJ and dont often get a chance to see what is left of the night sky without too much light pollution.

Not only does light pollution reduce the visibility of objects in our night sky it also plays havoc on some migratory birds, who use the visual cues for orientation.  All animals depend on the wavelength characteristics of lights for direction.  Birds require the blue-green part of the spectrum for orientation, not to mention the nocturnal animals such as bats, and Owls.

We all have our part to help reduce un-necessary night lighting, it could be writing to your local zoning commission or sending a letter to your home owners association to encourage "proper" lighting measures.  As an example, my HOA was developing into an area with the plans of adding individual lamps at 100 foot intervals, but the lamps were a globe, sending light into all directions.  I notified the HOA and eventually they modified the lighting to have a reduced wattage and directional light characteristic, points down, not up.

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