Jump to content


Photo

Christmas lights

  • Please log in to reply
46 replies to this topic

#1 aatt

aatt

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012
  • Loc: CT

Posted 21 November 2013 - 08:01 PM

Has anyone formally assessed the impact of Christmas/holiday lighting on sky quality? I noticed tonight that lights are going up everywhere around here and started to wonder about the overall impact of these lights.

#2 Illinois

Illinois

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2230
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2006
  • Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA

Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:52 AM

I think not much but snow increase light pollution!

#3 aatt

aatt

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012
  • Loc: CT

Posted 22 November 2013 - 02:17 PM

Yes I know snow does and they come, at least for me, at the same time-hard to parse it out.

#4 MessiToM

MessiToM

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 886
  • Joined: 21 Dec 2009
  • Loc: Huntingdon PA

Posted 23 November 2013 - 07:06 PM

Well if you live next to the Griswalds as I do then YES it does lol.

#5 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11522
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 24 November 2013 - 02:11 PM

I wanna emp pulse generator for Christmas....... :help:

#6 Kfrank

Kfrank

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1834
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Northern Colorado

Posted 24 November 2013 - 02:44 PM


Here comes the annual Christmas Grouse!

#7 choran

choran

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2360
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2012

Posted 24 November 2013 - 08:07 PM

Not much effect at all. They are everywhere in the neighborhood where I live
(including on my house) and I noticed no difference at all last year. Anyway, Santa needs 'em to navigate.

#8 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:01 PM

Our electricity rates are 2 cents a kilo-watt hour.

Everybody and their brother strings Christmas lights everywhere. The local paper prints maps to the most over-the-top displays.

Then it snows.....and reflects.

Yes, it does affect the sky. I always look forward to the darker skies after the New Year.

#9 StarStuff1

StarStuff1

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3904
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:11 AM

Yep, other than the Moon, planets and Sun, I just give up this time of year for viewing here in the yard.

#10 nytecam

nytecam

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11545
  • Joined: 20 Aug 2005
  • Loc: London UK

Posted 28 November 2013 - 09:41 AM

Yep, other than the Moon, planets and Sun, I just give up this time of year for viewing here in the yard.

I share my sky (unwittingly) with 12 million Londoners but get by fairly well by swapping the EP for a tiny camera + laptop screen - assuming the sky appears clear then virtually no deep sky object escape me in typical exposures from 2s - 2m - see links below :grin:

#11 BigC

BigC

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3337
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2010
  • Loc: SE Indiana

Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:38 PM

Our electricity rates are 2 cents a kilo-watt hour.

Everybody and their brother strings Christmas lights everywhere. The local paper prints maps to the most over-the-top displays.

Then it snows.....and reflects.

Yes, it does affect the sky. I always look forward to the darker skies after the New Year.

Wow! 2cents a kwh! Our was that in the 1970s but is now 12 cents kwh.

#12 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 09 December 2013 - 09:56 PM

About 70 years ago the local counties condemned the dam on the Columbia River owned by the out-of-area utility since they would not extend power lines to the rural areas.

After that they built five more dams and sell the excess electricity out of area. That funded a state of the art fiber optic system well over a decade ago.

So 2 cent electricity and 100 Mbps standard service internet.

#13 penguinx64

penguinx64

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1495
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2013
  • Loc: Holland

Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:40 PM

I remember in the 70's when Nixon banned Christmas Lights. It was a cold and dark Christmas, thanks to the Grinch!

#14 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:56 PM

I remember that!!! I was living in Canada and drove down I-5 to UC Davis during Thanksgiving.

It was dark!! All three Governors turned out the lights along I-5. The only business lights were open gas stations and restaurants.

It was great.

#15 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42897
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:30 PM

Not much effect at all. They are everywhere in the neighborhood where I live
(including on my house) and I noticed no difference at all last year. Anyway, Santa needs 'em to navigate.


Same here in Tucson. I see no noticeable change in sky darkness during the holidays. I get the same SQM reading in December that I get in January. YMMV

#16 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 918
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:56 AM

There can be a most definite noticeable rise in sky illumination from Christmas lights if you live in certain areas.

Highly developed urban areas show little obvious impact since their skies are already overwhelmed by "normal" lighting. In most cases rural areas are too sparsely settled to create much of a change.

However, get caught in the suburbs, or developing areas of a residential nature and the increase in sky illumination become very obvious. It is, of course, dramatically compounded if there is a snowfall (as has just occurred where I live).

Now I decorate outdoors for Christmas myself, but my lights go up in early December and come down the first week in January. The trend I'm noticing in the local population - mostly recent city transplants and young families - is the putting up of Christmas lights earlier and earlier and leaving them up, and on, into February. The neighbor just to my north decorates before Thanksgiving and has them lit until AT LEAST the first week of February. A couple of years they left the lawn decorations up so long they became frozen to the ground and remained in place, although unlit, until April!

BrooksObs

#17 brianb11213

brianb11213

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9047
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2009
  • Loc: 55.215N 6.554W

Posted 18 December 2013 - 11:21 AM

I decorate outdoors for Christmas myself, but my lights go up in early December and come down the first week in January. The trend I'm noticing in the local population - mostly recent city transplants and young families - is the putting up of Christmas lights earlier and earlier and leaving them up, and on, into February. The neighbor just to my north decorates before Thanksgiving and has them lit until AT LEAST the first week of February. A couple of years they left the lawn decorations up so long they became frozen to the ground and remained in place, although unlit, until April!

Yeah. Where I was brought up, the etiquette associated with Xmas decorations (including lights) was that they went up on Xmas Eve and came down before Twelfth Night (Jan 6th). And nobody, but nobody had those awful flashing garish monstrosities that create a light dome visible for miles around.

Have festive lighting indoors by all means but don't inflict it on those that would rather do without.

Time for strict planning laws relating to the erection & operation of all outdoor lighting! This is not only a sky quality issue: festive lighting near roadsides can be distracting & badly installed security lighting can and sometimes does cause hazards by dazzling drivers. To say nothing of the huge waste of energy caused by inappropriate, unneccessary or excessive lighting.

#18 choran

choran

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2360
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2012

Posted 18 December 2013 - 01:47 PM

Laws against Christmas lights? Seriously? Quickest way to derail serious efforts aimed at light pollution would be to propose that. Would make us real popular.

#19 brianb11213

brianb11213

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9047
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2009
  • Loc: 55.215N 6.554W

Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:04 PM

Laws against Christmas lights? Seriously? Quickest way to derail serious efforts aimed at light pollution would be to propose that. Would make us real popular.

Not specifically against Xmas lights. Against any light visible outside the boundaries of the property on which it's installed.

And not a ban. Just going through the normal planning process, which gives those affected an opportunity to object.

I really don't see any issue here.

A dark sky is a human right, and light pollution affects the whole of the natural world, not just astronomers.

#20 choran

choran

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2360
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2012

Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:31 PM

Yes, let's pass a law that says all of us have to tramp down some bureaucrat to have our Christmas lights OKd lest a photon escape. Since absolute darkness is now a "human right", I assume violators should be tried in the world court? Just teasing, but there is a real difference between reasonable efforts at staving off light pollution by requiring down pointing lights and so on, but sounding like extremists on the issue will not help. Just my two cents.

#21 StarStuff1

StarStuff1

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3904
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Posted 18 December 2013 - 05:14 PM

Hey, most of the lights are taken down/turned off by the first of January anyway. Besides, it's COLD around here these days! I am definitely not for any form of light pollution but the grandkids certainly like them so.....

#22 pstarr

pstarr

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3048
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2004
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 18 December 2013 - 05:18 PM

I notice a increase in sky brightness when the leaves are off the trees. Add snow on the ground and it is much worst.

#23 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42897
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 18 December 2013 - 05:47 PM

A dark sky is a human right...


I wonder how many human being would even remotely relate to that concept? Certainly none of them live in my neighborhood (except for me, of course. ;) )

We should ignore seasonal decorations. That's a fight we can't possibly win. Best in my opinion to remain focused on educating people into effective use of the lights that will be on all year long. :cool:

#24 izar187

izar187

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1725
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2006
  • Loc: 43N

Posted 18 December 2013 - 07:12 PM

Suburbia is definitely brighter outdoors during christmas.

But I really enjoy the christmas lights around the horizon, when out under rural sky.
It's kind of a seasonal treat.

#25 seryddwr

seryddwr

    Innocent Bystander

  • *****
  • Posts: 3392
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2010
  • Loc: La-la land.

Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:43 AM

People really enjoy putting up and viewing Christmas lights. Telling them to take them down would be received very badly, methinks.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics