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General Astronomy >> Light Pollution

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aatt
sage


Reged: 07/26/12

Loc: CT
Christmas lights
      #6208275 - 11/21/13 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.

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Illinois
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/18/06

Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: aatt]
      #6208865 - 11/22/13 07:52 AM

I think not much but snow increase light pollution!

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aatt
sage


Reged: 07/26/12

Loc: CT
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: Illinois]
      #6209547 - 11/22/13 02:17 PM

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

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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: aatt]
      #6212023 - 11/23/13 07:06 PM

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

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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: MessiToM]
      #6213384 - 11/24/13 02:11 PM

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

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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6213434 - 11/24/13 02:44 PM


Here comes the annual Christmas Grouse!


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choran
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Christmas lights new [Re: Kfrank]
      #6213965 - 11/24/13 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.

Edited by choran (11/24/13 08:08 PM)


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vsteblina
sage


Reged: 11/05/07

Loc: Wenatchee, Washington
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: choran]
      #6214157 - 11/24/13 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.


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StarStuff1
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: vsteblina]
      #6214424 - 11/25/13 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.

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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #6220987 - 11/28/13 09:41 AM

Quote:

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

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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: vsteblina]
      #6241653 - 12/08/13 09:38 PM

Quote:

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.

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vsteblina
sage


Reged: 11/05/07

Loc: Wenatchee, Washington
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: BigC]
      #6243732 - 12/09/13 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.


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penguinx64
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: Holland
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: vsteblina]
      #6247446 - 12/11/13 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!

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vsteblina
sage


Reged: 11/05/07

Loc: Wenatchee, Washington
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6258866 - 12/17/13 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.


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desertstars

*****

Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: choran]
      #6258915 - 12/17/13 08:30 PM

Quote:

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


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Christmas lights new [Re: desertstars]
      #6259526 - 12/18/13 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

Edited by BrooksObs (12/18/13 06:58 AM)


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brianb11213
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/09

Loc: 55.215N 6.554W
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6259888 - 12/18/13 11:21 AM

Quote:

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.


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choran
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Christmas lights new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6260146 - 12/18/13 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.

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brianb11213
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/09

Loc: 55.215N 6.554W
Re: Christmas lights new [Re: choran]
      #6260172 - 12/18/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

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.


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choran
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Christmas lights new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6260225 - 12/18/13 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.

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