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It Never Hurts to try!!

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#1 jtrevino

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:00 AM

This is my success story in my quest for darker skies in my neighborhood. The community college by my house started leaving thier stadium/field lights on a couple of years ago. I finally decided to e-mail them. Here is my e-mail to them


My email to them:
I am writing you to ask if there is a reason why Arizona Western College keeps
the Super bright Stadium lights on all through the night and into the morning.
I can't recall when exactly, but probably close to 2 years ago I noticed that
the stadium lights (near Otondo Dr., on the east side of campus) where
continually on during the night. At first I figured that there were activities
being held, but as time went on, I noticed that they where never turned off.
These lights unfortunatley shine up and out in addition to down on the fields
and produce unnecassary stray light. The reason why I am asking is because I am
an amature astronomer, and the lights cause me viewing and photographing issues
when I reach that part of the night sky. I've lived out in the Tamarack Area
since 2002 and have enjoyed many dark beautiful nights, but the stadium lights
cause the night sky to dull with stray unwanted light. I have been up all
through the night viewing or photographing the night sky only to see the lights
on at 11:00pm, midnight, 1, 2, 3, 4 and until sunrise. I'm sure that no
activities are being held during those times. So why do the lights need to stay
on? I would hope that with AWC's green stance they would like to conserve
electricity that is not necessary. If there is a reason why the lights need to
remain on, please tell me. Thank you for your time.

a couple of weeks later I got a response from the facility director. He basically told me that the previous director had retired and he was the one who instructed them to leave the lights on. However the new director checked the timer on the light and noticed that it was malfunctioning. The new director told me that they would fix the timer and begin turning the lights off at 11pm and back on again at 5pm. I immediately noticed the lights being turned off at 11pm, so I sent another email, thanking the new facility director.

My thank you e-mail:

I just want to thank you again for your assistance in this matter. I have
noticed that the stadium lights have been turned off after 11pm. because of
this I have been able to get some pretty good Astrophotography shots from my
backyard. Here is a recent shot that I took from my house.
(I sent a shot of the flame and horsehead that I took with the lights off)
Again, thank you.

here is a summary of his response:

He loved the photo, and thought it was amazing. He also indicated that because of the college's position on saving energy, they were looking at ways to save electricity. and will be turning the lights off more often, when the fields are not in use.

I Noticed this last weekend that the lights did not get turned on over the weekend. Unfortunatley, believe it of not, it was overcast in Arizona..

it never hurts to ask!!!!

#2 csa/montana

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:03 AM

That is great news! You're absolutely correct, it never hurts to ask. :)

#3 EverlastingSky

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

Nice success story!

So for about 2 years the lights were on unnecessarily most nights... I struggle to imagine their power consumption. It must be huge. Can you imagine the cost to the College for these past 2 years? Smart huh?

#4 kenrenard

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

It really is a shame how much light and energy is wasted. Good Job getting them to turn off the lights.

#5 magic612

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:58 PM

Nicely done! :waytogo:

#6 jtrevino

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

Nice success story!

So for about 2 years the lights were on unnecessarily most nights... I struggle to imagine their power consumption. It must be huge. Can you imagine the cost to the College for these past 2 years? Smart huh?


Funny thing.... is they put in a major solar array around that time. This massive array powers most of the college now. I guess they figured it wasn't costing them anything, so they left the lights on.

#7 Dark Sky Scott

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:53 AM

Good job jtrevino!

Nice Coulter Dob for your avatar too - I've got one just like it.

#8 jtrevino

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

Good job jtrevino!

Nice Coulter Dob for your avatar too - I've got one just like it.


Thanks, I actually sold it a while back. needed room for another scope. :smirk:

#9 leviathan

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:09 AM

Nice story ! ;)

#10 REC

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

Well I'm in the asking mode now and actually getting some interest from the City to help out. I had asked for some shielding as the lights in front of my house really light up my rooms. Had someone come out from the city to discuss and I also showed him some pictures taken at night to show him how bright they really were. He agreed and told me that the type of lights we have on the street did not have basic shields available, but he had some other ideas about blocking some of the light from another project and the might fit these lamps.

Ok, so he installed one to test out. It does block some of the light and throws a a narrow shadow. Looks like it could reduce some of the stray light, but has to be positioned just right. He is looking into a wider shield to see if he could improve on this solution.

I can't believe hoe helpful and sincere this guy is!! What an attitude from City worker, this guy is amazing and also timely. Here's a pic of the shield if you can make it out. Stay tuned for more on this project, hope it helps some and your right, never hurts to ask!

Bob

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#11 REC

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

Here's another picture of the street lights we are working on.

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#12 csa/montana

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:59 AM

Be sure to post a picture after the shields are installed! :)

#13 REC

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:51 AM

Actually this is the first test. You can see the shadow that on the lawn and driveway that the light is blocked by the shield. Picture of the lamp is a little overexposed and I facing it directly. The idea is to not having all the light shining directly at me, just the portion in front of the lamp.

Ideally it would be a type of shield that blocks all the stray light coming out the sides and the top, but they don't make them for these types of street lights. Just trying to minimize what we can. Also it helps reduce the light in my backyard where I do most of my observing. No streets behind me thank God:)

#14 csa/montana

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

Oh, ok. I hadn't noticed the darker area.

#15 Pak

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:01 PM

Tinted opaque white glass paint.

Paint the top and whichever sides of the glass street lights you want to block. Leave open sections to shine where needed (street/ sidewalk).

You could do it yourself even. Google opaque glass paint.

#16 csa/montana

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:12 PM

Since this light belongs to the city, it is not advisable to make any modifications without permission from the city. He can recommend this to the worker & see if he agrees, but not doing it himself, without permission.

#17 Pak

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

Give the city the chance sure but if they refuse I'd just do it myself. Their light doesn't have permission to come on my private property. You can live by the rules if you'd like. Personally, I wouldn't.

#18 csa/montana

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:15 PM

You can live by the rules if you'd like.



Actually, it's more the rules of CN; we do not allow discussion of activities that are illegal; and modifying equipment that does not belong to a person, could be considered vandalism.

I'm quite sure the OP will get a nice solution with the kind gentleman he's fortunate enough to be working with, and that keeps any modifications above board.

#19 REC

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

Just and FYI...someone did paint one of the backs of a light with black spray paint and I pointed that out the to fellow I'm working with and he said it looked like *BLEEP*! Hope his shield idea works and it does look better in the daytime as you wouldn't even it is there.

#20 obin robinson

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:46 PM

Our neighbor behind us must be afraid of the dark or something. Last summer they put up a light probably 20 feet in the air that shines on their backyard and it floods our backyard too. It is so bright that literally I can be in bed with ALL the lights off in our house but still be able to read a magazine. It was completely absurd. After being annoyed that they had it on all night long I complained to them and simply said "I can't sleep with that light on. It is shining into my bedroom window and the guest bedroom window. Can you please shut it off when you aren't outside?"

They were apologetic and lo and behold they don't use the light anymore. They could see how this light was directly aiming in our windows at night. This greatly improves our view at night. The next challenge is the YMCA a mile away. They have field lights which they keep on very late. I am going to find out when they close and ask if they can turn these lights off. I am sure if I ask nicely they will help out.

The funniest thing I notice about Texas in general is just how bad the light pollution is here. People seem to love to leave lights on all day and all night long. They must have stock in the electrical company.

obin ;)

#21 csa/montana

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:16 PM

:bow: to your neighbor for turning the light off! Glad they were so cooperative!

#22 jtrevino

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:18 PM

Well I'm in the asking mode now and actually getting some interest from the City to help out. I had asked for some shielding as the lights in front of my house really light up my rooms. Had someone come out from the city to discuss and I also showed him some pictures taken at night to show him how bright they really were. He agreed and told me that the type of lights we have on the street did not have basic shields available, but he had some other ideas about blocking some of the light from another project and the might fit these lamps.

Ok, so he installed one to test out. It does block some of the light and throws a a narrow shadow. Looks like it could reduce some of the stray light, but has to be positioned just right. He is looking into a wider shield to see if he could improve on this solution.

I can't believe hoe helpful and sincere this guy is!! What an attitude from City worker, this guy is amazing and also timely. Here's a pic of the shield if you can make it out. Stay tuned for more on this project, hope it helps some and your right, never hurts to ask!

Bob


Just keep asking... as long as the city is working with you you are making progress.

Is the light on your property? It looks like it is in your yard.

#23 turk123

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:13 PM

I live in Ohio and we have Ohio edison as our power company. They also take care of the streetlights. I live on a side street and , of course, the only street light on our street is out front of my house. :bawling:

I went on the internet and did a search on "street lights ohio edison". I found an area that you could report a streetlight problem. The default is "light out". I choose "other" and told them that the light is an older cobra style and that it shines into out bedroom window. I also told them I was an amateur astronomer and that the light interfered with my ability to take pictures of the night sky. I filled out the pole number and address and contact info. To my surprise i received an email that they would be taking care of the problem within 3 days. I figured it was a form letter. The same afternoon my wife called and said an Ohio edison truck is out front. I told her to go talk to the guy. She did! She called later to tell me that the driver did not understand the work order and after she explained it to him, he said he would be back tomorrow with a shield. Could this really be happening? Film at eleven (or maybe tomorrow.) Kinda follows the theme " It never hurts to try"

#24 jtrevino

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:22 PM

I live in Ohio and we have Ohio edison as our power company. They also take care of the streetlights. I live on a side street and , of course, the only street light on our street is out front of my house.

I went on the internet and did a search on "street lights ohio edison". I found an area that you could report a streetlight problem. The default is "light out". I choose "other" and told them that the light is an older cobra style and that it shines into out bedroom window. I also told them I was an amateur astronomer and that the light interfered with my ability to take pictures of the night sky. I filled out the pole number and address and contact info. To my surprise i received an email that they would be taking care of the problem within 3 days. I figured it was a form letter. The same afternoon my wife called and said an Ohio edison truck is out front. I told her to go talk to the guy. She did! She called later to tell me that the driver did not understand the work order and after she explained it to him, he said he would be back tomorrow with a shield. Could this really be happening? Film at eleven (or maybe tomorrow.) Kinda follows the theme " It never hurts to try"


AWESOME!! 1 light at a time if we have too!!

#25 GeneT

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:23 PM

Great work! :jump:






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