Fighting Light Pollution in the Front Range of Colorado to Regain the Night Sky

Washed out Sagittarius from Light Pollution along the Front Range of Colorado

   November 2010 new moon at the Keota, CO star party site.  Several of us
were doing astro-photography. This 15 minute piggyback exposure is a last
glimpse of Sagittarius for this season.  The constellation pointing to the
center of our galaxy, The Milky Way, and many bright nebula, globular
clusters, even a star cloud or two, none of which are visible due to Light Pollution.

The reason we now have to travel some 60-90 miles to a dark site is the the
extreme degradation of the night sky due to the Light Pollution from the
Front Range, which runs down the central longitude of Colorado and can
now be seen from Wyoming to New Mexico and almost to the Kansas border.

   The image above was centered on Sagittarius and had the unfortunate
coincidence of also being in line with the Denver, Longmont, Greeley light
dome, 90 - 40 miles away.  As is evident in this picture the full 25* of the sky
is obscured by light pollution (a tiny bit of of haze). At the bottom of this image,
the 'Gamma' was detended 90%  to show the radical difference LP causes.
The light streaks are from jets coming and going to Denver International
Airport as well as the streaks of several street lights.  With the center of the
'D-L-G' light dome being closer to the left (south) side of this image.

    In the last 10 years local amateur astronomers have had to travel eastward
to find dark skies to view the heavens, at about the rate of 2 miles/year.
As it stands now, we are 6 miles closer to Sterling to the east, than we are
from Ft. Collins to the west.  If this situation continues, in another 10 years
or so we will be observing under the Sterling light dome which will obscure
the sky to the east.  Many astronomical clubs are experiencing the same
problem and are working with the  International Dark-Sky Association, to
fight Light Pollution, which also has monetary, health and crime considerations.
   The increasing interest is not only due to the effects on the sky, but effects
it has on migrating and indiginous wildlife and dirunal health issues on people.
Also contrary to popular belief, there seems to be no decrease in crime when
more unshielded illumination is used at night in urban areas.
 

   Also making strides in awareness and compiling data to document the change in the Night Sky for the last
ten years is The National Park Service, they have been Monitoring U.S. parks, within the Natural Lightscapes
project, in an effort to make the public aware of the problem, as well as recommending light pollution
abatement strategies for parks and some nearby concerned towns, that recognise a dark night sky is a virtue
in attracting tourist trade.

 So if you would like to see the Milky Way again or for the first time, the recommend to your cities that measures
be enforced so that proper luminaries are used, that these lights be shielded and pointed level with the horizon,
and used only where and when needed.
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Light Pollution Horror Story about  a   Golden, Colorado Auto Dealership

  What could be worse than living next to a car dealership that lights up dozens of blocks of residences at night and has the
blessing of the local city government backing their flagrant disregard for city code, even to the point of changing the law in
order to protect businesses and car dealerships rights to light pollute the area.  Read about the action when 1 man did the
city's job and fought this injustice, even to the point where he had to mortgaged his own house.
 

U.S. Light Pollution Measures

 Do We Need 8000 New Street Lights in Colorado Springs?

Colorado Springs & surrounding area residents,

There is a major lighting proposal that will definitely affect many communities around Colorado Springs. This proposal
includes an installation of 8,000 new street lights around the Colorado Springs area. Even though the proposal is local,
many cities and towns 20-50 miles away will be affected by this measure if it comes to light.

AS OF DECEMBER 18TH, 2009 THE CITY COUNCIL HAS APPROVED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THIS PROJECT.
With the e-mails of mayor, city council memebers and commisioners.

European Light Pollution Measures

Many councils switching off street lights to save money     BBC News - UK, 10 November 2010
Many councils are turning off street lights as a means of saving money, BBC Newsnight has learned. Of 75 councils it
spoke to in England and Wales, 32 said they would turn some lights off, nine are dimming lights and 14 considering
street light cutbacks.   There are is no statutory obligation for councils to light the streets and flicking the switch is a
cost-effective option in a time of austerity cuts...

                                                                                               We Live on the Earth......so why light the sky?
                                                                                               Fight Light Pollution.....shield your lights !!
 

     Think cosmic !!  Nov. 17, 2010 Re-editted Jan 13, 2011