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General Astronomy >> Light Pollution

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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Canít blame them
      #5964007 - 07/10/13 12:48 PM

Our family cottage is at ski resort in a blue zone north of Ottawa. In the winter, with all the cottage owners there, the outdoor lighting can get pretty annoying. But in the summer, the place is almost deserted and the area near the cottage becomes very dark. This allows me to set up in the yard and enjoy the sky late into the night. Well things changed this spring. A rash of break-ins has forced some owners to install high powered security on their properties and these lights are on 24/7. I was up last weekend only to discover that my neighbour had installed some of these lights around his property. I felt like I was in town I could not get dark adapted no matter where I tried to hide. There was always a light somewhere that would kill my night vision (either from his property or another). It seemed that no matter where I went there were lights! However, I canít blame the cottage owners; I too would hate to have my place broken into. So much for a dark yard in the Country; I will simply have to look for a secluded field to setup when I am up there (which takes away the convenience factor ).

Eric


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5964023 - 07/10/13 12:59 PM

Build light blockers, and use them if politely speaking to your neighbors is of no avail. If your neighbors ask about them, tell them I put them up to block their lights. I compare bright lights shining into my eyes and telescopes at night to blaring loud music where people are trying to sleep, as in an unwelcome intrusion. Since you own the property, you have a right to screen out other's bright lights if you wish. I would plant trees and bushes that get tall enough to block out unwanted light too. Short of driving 100 miles to a national forest, there is no place in my area devoid of 1,000 watt flood lights, street lights and passing vehicles with ultrabright headlights. I can sympathize with your situation, that is why I have used and are using light blockers to take back a small piece of the night.

Taras


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brianb11213
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/09

Loc: 55.215N 6.554W
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5964034 - 07/10/13 01:05 PM

Quote:

However, I canít blame the cottage owners; I too would hate to have my place broken into.



OK, so tell me how any amount of illumination prevents breakins at an unoccupied property.

In fact, the way "security lights" are usually fitted actually makes it easier for a miscreant to approach the property unseen, by hiding in the shadows ...

The best solution here is motion detector triggered infra red lights, linked to infra red CCTV and, most important of all, an actively monitored alarm system.


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: brianb11213]
      #5964216 - 07/10/13 03:00 PM

I also wonder the same thing. For 45 years we have never kept lights on and have relied on an alarm system. So far we have not been broken into (touch wood).

As for the screen idea, it would not be that simple. The cottage is in the mountains so I often have to move my scope to see various parts of the sky (no one perfect location). So I would find myself moving the screens all the time also. I think that I may try going to the golf course a few miles away and see if I can set up there (unless they use their sprinklers at nights ).

Oh, one other thing. Those damn garden lights!!!! they may not seem that bright in town, but at a dark site, man do they light up and kill night vision. They are popping up like crazy here. Even my parents use them (their driveway looks like a landing strip ). I have to turn them off one by one before I observe. The things we go through for darkness

Eric


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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: brianb11213]
      #5964295 - 07/10/13 03:45 PM

Quote:

OK, so tell me how any amount of illumination prevents breakins at an unoccupied property.





Exactly. I have always said that if lights prevented theft then why are most bank robberies in broad daylight?

obin


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5964361 - 07/10/13 04:34 PM

All it does is provide the criminals enough light to see by to break into your house.......

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Diana N
member


Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Nebraska
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5964542 - 07/10/13 06:35 PM

As brianb11213 has said, your neighbors have NOT done anything that truly increases the security of their property (especially when it's unoccupied). Why not discuss the matter with them, and suggest at least switching to motion-detector lights and adding some CCV cameras instead of their current setup? It would be a win-win all around: they'd get better security (at least a motion sensor light might actually scare off an approaching would-be burglar, which the current lights won't do), and you'd get your dark skies back.

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Jeff Phinney
super member


Reged: 02/20/13

Loc: CA
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5964560 - 07/10/13 06:46 PM

Quote:

All it does is provide the criminals enough light to see by to break into your house.......




Gives a new and literal meaning to "Lights on, nobody's home".


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Diana N]
      #5964587 - 07/10/13 07:14 PM

I agree that these are great options, unfortunately I will not see them until the ski season starts . But rest assured that I will have a chat with them then.

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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5965535 - 07/11/13 11:22 AM

I never cared for Sartre's philosophy or works, but Garcin's conclusion from No Exit seems more apropos with each passing day.

Fred


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5965551 - 07/11/13 11:35 AM

Quote:

Quote:

OK, so tell me how any amount of illumination prevents breakins at an unoccupied property.





Exactly. I have always said that if lights prevented theft then why are most bank robberies in broad daylight?

obin




....and yet the police and other "authorities" continue to advise leaving on "security lights". You even see it recommended in articles on the major news websites.

I'm a volunteer at a local "public observatory". The institution could not obtain property insurance that did not require "nighttime security lights"! At least they turn them off to observe.

There has been a rash of break-ins in a town near me and the police advise (quoted in the local newspaper) "the best thing you can do is leave your porch light on". One reason the police seem to like lights: it makes it easier for them to see a property when they ride by in their patrol cars.

While it may make a little sense to leave a porch light on in a town, it seems to be a worthless idea to do so with an unoccupied vacation cabin in the middle of the wilderness.


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5965614 - 07/11/13 12:24 PM

l'enfer, c'est les autres

Unfortunately, we have a tendency of avoiding conflict with others and tolerate more than we should. The trick is to balance being firm with being diplomatic.

Eric


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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5965711 - 07/11/13 01:38 PM

"....and yet the police and other "authorities" continue to advise leaving on "security lights". You even see it recommended in articles on the major news websites."

this message brought to you by your local utility company; "Light up the Night (and be sure to pay your electric bill)"


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mak17
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/08/11

Loc: Central Florida
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5965842 - 07/11/13 02:51 PM

Motion detecting lights offer the only security a light can offer bc a criminal may think theyve been spotted by a homeowner who might be coming out with a shotgun. A light that is on all night only makes it easier on a burglar. Now he doesnt need to use a flashlight. Your neighbor has unknowingly installed non security lights.

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mak17
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/08/11

Loc: Central Florida
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: mak17]
      #5965847 - 07/11/13 02:55 PM

Utility companies claiming light pollution helps with security is like tobacco companies saying cigarettes are good for your health. Crime ridden places usually have one thing in common. Outdoor lighting, and lots of it.

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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: brianb11213]
      #5967342 - 07/12/13 12:39 PM

Quote:


OK, so tell me how any amount of illumination prevents breakins at an unoccupied property.

In fact, the way "security lights" are usually fitted actually makes it easier for a miscreant to approach the property unseen, by hiding in the shadows ...

The best solution here is motion detector triggered infra red lights, linked to infra red CCTV and, most important of all, an actively monitored alarm system.




Our relatively "safe" suburban neighborhood is subject to occasional rashes of car break-ins or minor vandalism at the neighborhood swimming pool, and far more rarely, a daytime house burglary. This subject recurringly comes up at the semiannual HOA meetings (please let's not go off on any tangents about HOAs, there's another thread about that). During these discussions, I'll always chirp up that the effective element in theft/burglary/vandalism deterrence isn't whether an area is lit, but rather the perp's assessment of the likelihood of quickly drawing unwanted attention to themselves. Lighting + no one watching only helps, rather than deters the thief; else there would never be any daytime burglaries. The essential ingredient is something that both alerts you to someone's possibly unwanted presence, and alerts the perp that they've likely tripped off drawing attention to themselves, like a motion-activated light or a dog barking. The problem is that after dark, there are relatively few people about outside in our 'hood, and then only very occasionally, with long intervals with NO ONE about on any given street. Light only helps with deterrence where there's plenty of people frequently about or monitored security cameras on the relevant area, otherwise it's far more help than hinderance to the perp (for example, they don't have to use a flashlight to case your car).

You probably anticipate what the rebuttal always is from a member of the HOA board: "lights are what the police recommend". ARRRRRGH! If the police advice was so great, why do car burglaries, occasinal vandalism, and once in a great while, daytime house burglaries continue to happen in our neighborhood?

Edited by FirstSight (07/12/13 01:03 PM)


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5967473 - 07/12/13 02:01 PM

Often what we were told by police is that if it takes them more that a few minutes to get in, then they will go eslwhere. In other words, having storm doors, bars in basement windows and anything that will make it harder for them, they will not even try. What has worked for me is not lighting the outside, but the inside. I use timers going on and off at various times (whether we are home or not) and we leave a car parked in the driveway when we are gone. If they are not sure, they won't try.

Now, in the country at a cottage where the people are away during the week, lighting or no lighting will not make a difference. In that case a monitored alarm system is best because it will draw attention to them and they know they have limited time.

Eric


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5967565 - 07/12/13 02:45 PM

"Now, in the country at a cottage where the people are away during the week, lighting or no lighting will not make a difference. In that case a monitored alarm system is best because it will draw attention to them and they know they have limited time."

Yea, like till next week before the county sheriff can get there. There's a reason large dogs exist.........


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Achernar]
      #5967575 - 07/12/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

I would plant trees and bushes that get tall enough to block out unwanted light too.




Sadly that takes decades and can still let light thru. I used to have a neighbors mercury vapor light over 1/4 mile away and behind a couple of layers of Juniper evergreens. There where places where the light would still bore thru. Once I noticed it was out for a couple of days. I sent then a very nice letter thanking them and explaining what a nusiance it was. Haven't seen it since. Still have another neighbor with one.


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5967638 - 07/12/13 03:19 PM



Now, another good option, which I think is why our cottage has never been broken into in 45 years, is hire locals to maintain it! WE have a local elderly fella who cuts the grass for us once and week and he drives by everyday to check on the place. Another local does renovation work for us when we need it and yet another does snow removal in the winter. I think the words get around that either this place is closely monitored, or that we are OK because we hire locally.. so back off

If I were to build an observatory in the country, I would find a local person to help maintain it. These guys know everyone around! Best security money can buy.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5967651 - 07/12/13 03:25 PM

Quote:



Now, another good option, which I think is why our cottage has never been broken into in 45 years, is hire locals to maintain it! WE have a local elderly fella who cuts the grass for us once and week and he drives by everyday to check on the place. Another local does renovation work for us when we need it and yet another does snow removal in the winter. I think the words get around that either this place is closely monitored, or that we are OK because we hire locally.. so back off

If I were to build an observatory in the country, I would find a local person to help maintain it. These guys know everyone around! Best security money can buy.




Lived in the country, and it boils down to being neighborly. When my neighbor (about 1/2 mile away) was gone, I'd stop by his place occasionally to check it out, and he'd do the same for me. If you own dogs, and most people living in the country do, it's always neighborly to ask someone to drop by and feed them while you are gone (depends on the dog and if it knows you or not). I had horses, so somebody had to come in every day anyways to feed/water them. I don't believe I was ever gone more than 2-3 days tops.


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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
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Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Canít blame them new [Re: Eric63]
      #5967783 - 07/12/13 04:50 PM

Quote:


Now, another good option, which I think is why our cottage has never been broken into in 45 years, is hire locals to maintain it! ! Best security money can buy.




Our beach cottage at Sunset Beach is 180 miles and 3 hours away from our primary residence in Raleigh, and it's sometimes weeks (especially in winter) beween times when we or a guest is at the house. HOW-EVER we have the fortunate benefit of having had an eccentric couple living immediately next-door who are long-time permanent year-round residents who are well known in the local area, and are frequently visibly active around their house. Over the years, I've been careful to cultivate friendship with them. I've never suffered any break-ins, and the couple of instances when something notable has gone nefariously missing from the house were 99%+ certain to have occurred during rare instances of misplaced trust in allowing someone to use the house while I was not there, and in neither case were the items of substantial financial value. In one case, I suspect that the son of an adult friend whom I'd let have a key may have borrowed or cloned dad's key without permission and made surreptitous day-use of the house, and it was the pals they brought with them who did it. (This friend's kids have been guests at the house a few times while I was there, which is why my neighbors probably thought nothing of it). I changed the locks, and haven't had that particular problem again.


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