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General Astronomy >> Light Pollution

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jtrevino
super member
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Southwest AZ Desert
It Never Hurts to try!!
      #5664516 - 02/06/13 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!!!!


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: jtrevino]
      #5664517 - 02/06/13 12:03 AM

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

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EverlastingSky
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 09/12/06

Loc: Vancouver Canada
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5665256 - 02/06/13 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?


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kenrenard
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: EverlastingSky]
      #5665395 - 02/06/13 02:28 PM

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

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magic612
Post Laureate
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Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5665457 - 02/06/13 02:58 PM

Nicely done!

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jtrevino
super member
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Southwest AZ Desert
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: EverlastingSky]
      #5665710 - 02/06/13 05:31 PM

Quote:

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.


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Dark Sky Scott
super member


Reged: 01/06/12

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: jtrevino]
      #5666732 - 02/07/13 09:53 AM

Good job jtrevino!

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


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jtrevino
super member
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Southwest AZ Desert
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: Dark Sky Scott]
      #5689607 - 02/19/13 07:59 PM

Quote:

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.


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leviathan
sage


Reged: 11/29/11

Loc: Azerbaijan
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: jtrevino]
      #5690085 - 02/20/13 01:09 AM

Nice story !

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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: leviathan]
      #5690461 - 02/20/13 09:28 AM Attachment (31 downloads)

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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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5690467 - 02/20/13 09:30 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

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

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5690516 - 02/20/13 09:59 AM

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

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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5690620 - 02/20/13 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:)


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5690727 - 02/20/13 11:59 AM

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

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Pak
super member
*****

Reged: 09/15/12

Loc: The Great Arc
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5690729 - 02/20/13 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.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: Pak]
      #5690750 - 02/20/13 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.

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Pak
super member
*****

Reged: 09/15/12

Loc: The Great Arc
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5690769 - 02/20/13 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.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: Pak]
      #5690873 - 02/20/13 01:15 PM

Quote:

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.


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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5691049 - 02/20/13 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.

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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: jtrevino]
      #5714727 - 03/05/13 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


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5714792 - 03/05/13 04:16 PM

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

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jtrevino
super member
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Southwest AZ Desert
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5715595 - 03/05/13 11:18 PM

Quote:

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.


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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5716629 - 03/06/13 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.

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"


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jtrevino
super member
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Southwest AZ Desert
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5716643 - 03/06/13 03:22 PM

Quote:

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!!


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: jtrevino]
      #5717513 - 03/06/13 11:23 PM

Great work!

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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5718736 - 03/07/13 04:12 PM

Well, the truck didn't show up today. I'm off to florida on Sunday. If it is not in by then I will call when I get back. I'm hoping they did not have a shield in stock. Probably never had one in stock! I have not by any means given up.

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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5718809 - 03/07/13 04:54 PM

Good for you! Take some before and after when you get a chance.

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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5719341 - 03/07/13 08:55 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

Quote:

Good for you! Take some before and after when you get a chance.




Yep, Here is the before:


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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5735907 - 03/16/13 10:31 AM

Wheres the after?

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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5736852 - 03/16/13 06:32 PM

Wow! That thing's shining in every window.
Good on you for talking to them.


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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5750568 - 03/22/13 08:39 PM

Quote:

Wheres the after?




Well, after talking to the service truck driver, he said he would be back with a shield. It has been two weeks and he has not shown.

I just emailed First Energy just now and also sent them the picture.

Cross your fingers!

(twenty two light disabler leaning against the wall)

turk


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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5751519 - 03/23/13 10:41 AM

Got a new email back from First Energy. They say they are coming out within 3 days. They gave me a new work order number so here's hoping.

Turk


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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5751785 - 03/23/13 12:29 PM

Here's hoping that someone knows what to do this time.

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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: richard7]
      #5753478 - 03/24/13 09:43 AM

Quote:

Here's hoping that someone knows what to do this time.




I guess it is too much to ask for what you want. I heard a noise out front at about 9:30 pm last night. It was the service truck! He hopped out of the truck, looked at the pole number, hopped back in, and left.

What? Did that just happen again? I sent off another email to first energy and ask that a supervisor get involved. I asked them if it is regular policy to send trucks out on calls with no orders, no paperwork, and just assuming a light is out.

They responded with a supervisors name and said she would call me on Monday. The story continues.

Turk


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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5759316 - 03/26/13 10:30 PM

Well, the supervisor called me and said the truck driver said the streetlight is the same as the other one on the street. I ask her when it was up to the truck driver to determine the light pollution policy of your company. She was a bit belligerent but finally agreed to talk to the service department about a shield. I don't have much hope. I even offered to pay for the shield. She said she didn't have a procedure for that.

They really don't care.


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orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5762202 - 03/28/13 11:11 AM

I used to have a next door neighbor who had a sewing room facing my back yard, she was older and the lights were so bright to help her see we used to call them her Landing Lights.. I asked them to put on a shade to pull but they said they liked to look out the window and didn't want to bother.
They said they would turn off the lights if I asked..
They did.. for about an hour .. She also played an Organ
in the same room.. same lights..
Nothing like observing in glare, to Lawrence Welk..
Father time finally resolved my issue.


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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: orion61]
      #5762617 - 03/28/13 03:45 PM

I just got a call from a regional manager from First Energy. We talked a bit and I found out I worked with him before on a land project. He said they do not have any shields at all. He did offer to move it though. Here's the catch; I have to get permission from city council for the new location.

I called our mayor and he listened to my plea. He thinks it is a reasonable request and will visit my site tonight to see what it looks like. He said I should talk to my neighbors to see if the move would be OK with them, and also suggested, I ask them if they would object to removing it altogether. That sounds encouraging! Anyone have any statistics that say "Lit streets are a bigger target for crime"? I'm hoping this all works out. Guess it is up to my neighbors!

Turk


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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5762839 - 03/28/13 06:01 PM

Oh yes...
How many bureaucrats does it take to change a light bulb????


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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: richard7]
      #5763106 - 03/28/13 08:16 PM

Quote:

Oh yes...
How many bureaucrats does it take to change a light bulb????




That is funny! I can use that if I have to go to city council for final approval!


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: turk123]
      #5763116 - 03/28/13 08:21 PM

Frankly, they really don't need a specific shield. When I had a yardlight, the power company simply spray-painted it, to lower the glare. Would be much less expensive than the cost of moving it; and one neighbor objecting, will bring the move to a halt.

Perhaps suggest the painting to them.


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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5763511 - 03/29/13 01:21 AM

also read of workers making a shield out of aluminum foil and sticking that inside the glass of the fixture.

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turk123
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5763813 - 03/29/13 08:05 AM

GE makes a shield that fits INSIDE the glass and restricts the angle of the light similar to the suggestions posted. If you do a search on streetlight shield you find lots of options available.

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REC
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5763961 - 03/29/13 09:19 AM

I thought about that with the foil, makes sense I would think?

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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: REC]
      #5765971 - 03/30/13 12:08 AM

I'm not sold on the foil idea. If something goes wrong then there will be one large flash and a few fire fighters arriving.

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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: richard7]
      #5765992 - 03/30/13 12:28 AM

I wouldn't be so worried about that happening. My other hobby is indoor gardening using bulbs much hotter than an LPS that have aluminum reflectors within two inches of the bulb without any problems(UL rated even). Some streetlamps even use plastic shielding around the bulb(often the glass on the bottom is plastic. LPS bulbs also have a high surface area making hot spots less likely. They are also the most efficient kind of bulb(at least before leds and magnetic induction technology) and that means less loss of electricity in the form of heat compared to even common household florescents. Also the wattage of streetlamps is usually 250 watts(not much) and sometimes 150w.

I welcome other opinions though.


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buddyjesus
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Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5765996 - 03/30/13 12:35 AM

oh yeah, btw, aluminum has a burning temperature of over 4000 Celcius. And that is elemental Al. In the real world, Al forms an oxidized coating that is even more resistant(alumina). The alumina is also the product of burning aluminum. Curiously enough, elemental aluminum is an ingredient in rocket fuel even though at normal temperatures Al is considered noncombustable(MSDS).

Now I have seen it burn, but generally that is when oil drips/spills off pans and this while under heat from a lit unsupervised burner will light up. So in other words, even though it is generally safe, not a good idea to line your trays under your burners with aluminum foil.


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richard7Moderator
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Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5767154 - 03/30/13 04:49 PM

I was thinking, kind of tongue in cheek, about somebody in a bucket truck tearing off a piece of al. foil and fashioning a shield, not realizing it was too close to the electrical contacts until the lights came on.

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buddyjesus
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Re: It Never Hurts to try!! new [Re: richard7]
      #5767708 - 03/30/13 09:57 PM

gotcha

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