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Purchase Lighting for Neighbors?

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#1 tmiddendorf

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 05:38 PM

I did a search, albeit not extensive, to see if anyone has discussed the practice or idea of buying your neighbor(s) astronomy friendly lighting. 

 

Personally I have not done this, but I would definitely do it. Has anyone had any experience doing this? How was it received?

 

 


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#2 organge

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 05:52 PM

Interesting idea. I assume it will go well with most of them once they hear you out why and how. I am sure some will even offer to buy it themselves. Would be a nice social experiment. I like the idea since it starts from the lowest level. I might try and do something like this as well. Thanks for a reminder that small steps.....!


Edited by organge, 19 March 2019 - 05:53 PM.


#3 bridgman

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 05:59 PM

I haven't tried it myself (my neighbors are pretty good about light control, it's the city 15 miles to the south that drives me crazy) but it seems like a reasonable thing to do.

 

I would certainly do it if neighbor's lighting was a contributor to night sky seeing. Unfortunately in my case neighbor's lighting was trivial in comparison to the street lights. I have asked neighbors to turn off their outside lights when I was observing/imaging though, and all seemed OK with that if they weren't in the middle of an outdoor party.


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#4 barbarosa

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 06:36 PM

All 15,000 of them?

 

Actually the few homes that could be a problem were very cooperative when I asked them to make some adjustment.

 

Private homes, even those with bad lighting are not the major problem. The major light sources in town are a shopping center and a private college fixated on more light and noise to attract students. I can understand the desperation, the most current published estimates of the acceptance rate tend toward 90%. Money, always money and power always power. The town mothers and fathers have difficulty grasping modern ordinances and like to attend sporting events and get free meals. My experience is that most of them fall into a coma when asked to consider any technical issue what so ever or they reduce issues to the peripheral. Should we allow a 55' high building becomes should the parapet be 3 or 4 feet high.

 

Meanwhile the more urban areas nearby are adding whiter brighter lights, buildings, bridges

 (not the roadway the bridge itself), brighter lights for "social justice". That last being almost an hilarious inversion of fact. The upper income, upper elevation neighborhood complained about has many tall trees and few street lights. But let's not weep for the upper half, LED fixtures are going in even now.

 

Folks we either preach to that famous singing assembly or fix on the trivial aspects of a huge issue. In the immediate future only politicians and organized citizens can make a change on area, one town, one county at a time. The urban area is already lost, the best one can hope for there is to influence the exact nature of the newer brighter safer lighting, perhaps by pushing for lower levels after 10pm or the some other thing that takes advantage of the newer lighting tech.



#5 Migwan

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 07:40 PM

The vets office across the street put up 8 very bright LED wall lights.  I asked them politely both verbally and in a letter to place shields on that lighting and offered to either buy or make them.  Enclosed in the letter were some pictures and info demonstrating how shielding would eliminate the blind spots that their non shielded lights were causing.   One of those being right at their main entrance. 

 

Having no luck with the vets last year,  they will soon be getting a sign and drum (subwoofer) protest.   That worked on the church next door last year after they ignored several polite requests.  Hope it works on the vets this year.  

 

Another church around the corner responded quite quickly by putting a timer on the offending light.   It goes off at 10PM and back on at 7AM.  I never even offered to buy shielding for them, so I guess it all depends on your neighbors.  jd



#6 vsteblina

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 08:35 PM

buying lights for your neighbors is the cheapest way to improve the quality of your sky (if that's an issue).

 

I have done it in the past....this last week I bought a rain gutter so my neighbor could put his "pack rat" lights in it and just light up the underside of his vehicle instead of my lot.



#7 stargazer193857

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 03:15 AM

I did a search, albeit not extensive, to see if anyone has discussed the practice or idea of buying your neighbor(s) astronomy friendly lighting.

Personally I have not done this, but I would definitely do it. Has anyone had any experience doing this? How was it received?


Offer to install it for them too. If they say no, return it to home Depot.

It won't change sky brightness but will help many other ways. Also consider a tent observatory. Every bit of good shade helps and could avoid their lights.

Edited by stargazer193857, 20 March 2019 - 03:17 AM.


#8 tmiddendorf

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 05:39 AM

buying lights for your neighbors is the cheapest way to improve the quality of your sky (if that's an issue).

 

I have done it in the past....this last week I bought a rain gutter so my neighbor could put his "pack rat" lights in it and just light up the underside of his vehicle instead of my lot.

That is what came to mind to me as well that it would be the cheapest and quickest way potentially to reduce direct lights. 



#9 tmiddendorf

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 05:43 AM

Offer to install it for them too. If they say no, return it to home Depot.

It won't change sky brightness but will help many other ways. Also consider a tent observatory. Every bit of good shade helps and could avoid their lights.

Yes and getting them involved in choosing since it is their home. Installing it seems like the way to go for a neighbor to agree to having it. And who knows word spreads and others may join in getting better sky friendly lighting. Every bit helps.



#10 39.1N84.5W

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 11:38 PM

I bought and installed an outdoor light on my neighbor's house. I was very polite, it didn't cost them a penny, and they learned that they live next to an astronomer. Which was fun!
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#11 Geo31

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 08:12 AM

I would tread VERY carefully here.  You could seriously offend some people.  Now, you might wonder why that is, but think about it...  It's kind of passive aggressive.  If a neighbor asked me something like this where they would buy and install something on my house I'd think they were WAY out of bounds, AND I can afford to buy and install whatever on my own home, thank you very much.

 

I realize you're trying it make it as easy as possible for them, but they could see it VERY differently.  Again, I'd tread very carefully.

 

You may want to simply start with a general discussion about the fact you're an astronomer and would they consider helping you keep lighting to a minimum when you are observing/photographing.  THEN if you get a favorable response you could segue into the possibility of even purchasing lighting that would be mutually beneficial.  But, I would NOT open with that.


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#12 csrlice12

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 01:16 PM

I'm more a "Why does this light keep burning out" kinda person.


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#13 WoodyEnd

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 02:50 PM

I agree with George.  Peoples homes are their castle.   If someone came to your door with a can of paint and said they did not like your house color would you be receptive?  

 

If the neighbor was a friend and they told you they wanted to reduce the light pollution but could not afford new light fixtures then a gift would be appropriate.


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#14 BFaucett

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 11:56 PM

I would tread VERY carefully here.  You could seriously offend some people.  Now, you might wonder why that is, but think about it...  It's kind of passive aggressive.  If a neighbor asked me something like this where they would buy and install something on my house I'd think they were WAY out of bounds, AND I can afford to buy and install whatever on my own home, thank you very much.

 

I realize you're trying it make it as easy as possible for them, but they could see it VERY differently.  Again, I'd tread very carefully.

 

Exactly.  That would probably be my initial reaction.  

 

Cheers!  Bob F. 



#15 Reid Nelson

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 04:14 PM

This is important, on approaching neighbors.  I’ve had it go both ways, and really kind of dread it, because we are not in control, we are asking a favor and may get denied. 
 

My success has been with neighbors that I’ve had some kind of previous speaking relationship with.  I think they saw in the moment I asked that the issue was important to me, and simply decided to help me out.

 

My failures were the reverse.  The neighbors I didn’t know were a bit hesitant and suspicious, and then perhaps their egos became engaged.  In each case I asked it as a favor, explaining its importance to my astronomy.  Based on this, I’d say before a problem arises, hopefully years before, grab the opportunities to talk with neighbors, just friendly and conversational, maybe mentioning during those conversations your astronomy activities.  

 

 I’d like to see this group or forum develop a “script” for starting a conversation with a neighbor.  A plan.  We need a focus group of non astronomers to tell us what to say and how to say it!  I suspect the problem is what George said... it can easily be taken as criticism of their house, their aesthetic choice, or their judgment on safety.

 

So, what exactly worked for you?  What exactly did you say, and how did you say it?  Did you have a prior friendly relationship with them?

 



#16 xtrmfit

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:51 AM

I would tread VERY carefully here.  You could seriously offend some people.  Now, you might wonder why that is, but think about it...  It's kind of passive aggressive.  If a neighbor asked me something like this where they would buy and install something on my house I'd think they were WAY out of bounds, AND I can afford to buy and install whatever on my own home, thank you very much.

 

I realize you're trying it make it as easy as possible for them, but they could see it VERY differently.  Again, I'd tread very carefully.

 

You may want to simply start with a general discussion about the fact you're an astronomer and would they consider helping you keep lighting to a minimum when you are observing/photographing.  THEN if you get a favorable response you could segue into the possibility of even purchasing lighting that would be mutually beneficial.  But, I would NOT open with that.

obviously it depends on what kind of relationship and what type of neighbors you have.  I live in a duplex with a fenced-in back patio, light pollution is pretty bad already but direct lights from the neighbors back porch lights can really adversely affect things like polar alignment and autoguiding.  I mostly just do narrowband from the back patio and that's really affected by a nearby light shining directly at your OTA (even with a light shield).  I gave my attached neighbor, who I was on friendly terms with a nice shielded light that matched mine and included a low wattage 2500k led bulb  and explained why, he installed it and thanked me.  He said it made his patio more enjoyable because there was less glare.  I have to admit I went gorilla when my other neighbor moved out across from my patio and replaced the old crappy light with a nice new one that matched mine.  I know the landlord and could have asked him but knew he would never notice and figured better to ask for forgiveness than permission in this case.  Of course all my evil plans have not worked out because i now have new neighbors catty corner to me that still have the crappy light and love to sit out and smoke constantly with the light on. frown.gif


Edited by xtrmfit, 28 November 2019 - 11:57 AM.


#17 Delta608

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:20 PM

Invite them over for some observation, they may notice their own light is intrusive....



#18 tmiddendorf

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 08:33 AM

Inviting them over to observe is the way I will approach it. It will definitely open their eyes (no pun intended) to what their lights are doing. Plus getting to know my neighbors is a good thing. At least the conversation can start.



#19 SonnyE

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 03:38 PM

My next door neighbors were told by a deputy that light was the best burglar deterrent. So they have several outside lights on all night long. Can't change that.

I used to have HPS streetlights directly to my West. The Power Company recently changed ALL street lighting to LED fixtures. Surprisingly, the new fixtures shine down, and the orange glow is now gone.

I can see more stars and the night sky than I could last year.

 

But my first line of defense has always been my Light Pollution filter. I always have it engaged in my AP rig.

I find the Atmosphere has been my hardest foe to conquer. Various clouds shut me out most often.

Since I often image from inside my home remotely, things start getting dull, or PHD2 begins alarming, and I wonder out back to find clouds mucking things up.

 

But "Security Lights" have to be the stupidest waste there is. I say, turn them off. If it's dark, the burglar's will trip and fall on their butts. Put out bear traps in the dark.




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