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How much does it hurt?

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#1 Erik and family

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 05:51 AM

I don't have a telescope yet, but I was wondering how much light pollution hurts visual observation. From what I read on here so far, I'm pretty lucky... I live in a bortal 5 and my parents live 2 hours away in a bortal 2. There's a noticeable difference with the naked eye, but how much of a difference is there with a telescope?

#2 MikeTahtib

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 06:37 AM

A big difference on most objects.  Not much difference with planets & the moon.  Galaxies suffer the most.  You may not see some at all in a bright sky that are easily visible but faint in a dark sky.  Even if you can see somethign in a bright sky, you will likely see more of it in a dark sky.  You will see much more of hte outer reaches of galaxies and nebulae in a darker sky.  Filters help with many nebulae.


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#3 happylimpet

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 06:41 AM

Hugely. Try reading a laptop screen under bright sunlight compared to a dark room. It's like that, only sadder.


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#4 N3p

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 07:04 AM

The problem is, the more you will gain the experience, the more the light pollution problem/obstacle will grow. And at the same time, more lights are being installed.

 

So..


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#5 sg6

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 07:37 AM

I would suggest entirely personal.

We live in a town/city/village for the sheer convenience of shops, medical, recreation, roads and with that comes lights. Seems that we cannot have one aspect without the other. But on a small percentage of the year that is what we want.

 

Small percentage as when cloudy we don't care, good TV we don't care, out for a drink we actually like the lights, driving to friends we don't care and like the lights. Walking the dog lights are again useful. Then we forget all that get on CN and complain. ranting.gif

 

Learn to accept whatever the situation is, improve it if reasonably possible - a friendly conversation with some relevant person helps. Will say asking here is pointless - Yes, we would all like it to be darker. Well except the solar observers (why is there always one lot? question.gif )

 

It is not difficult to select targets, subtle hint - avoid the dim ones.

 

Our lights go off around midnight, then it is darker. Dark enough that I cannot easily walk along the pathment without stumbling on the unevenness. So I amble along the road, and hop back on the pathment what a car is heard/seen.

 

Usally I decide on a 12 mile drive and set up on the access road into a nature reserve that is out of the way and dark.

 

I console myself with the thought that if I had to rush wife/family/friend (or someone rush me) to hospital do I want a drive along well lit roads or a completely dark one. That could be the choice. shocked.gif


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#6 RyanSem

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 08:38 AM

It makes a huge difference, to be sure. That said, I have lived in three high-Bortle areas in my life and still get out under the sky as often as I can. 

 

For some perspective, I drive about an hour just to get to Bortle 4-5 skies. So if you live in that Bortle zone right now then you're already starting in an area that most of us dream of. 


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#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 11:35 PM

Emission and planetary nebulae are enhanced by nebula filters but with widespread broadband LED lighting cropping up everywhere that may not be the case for much longer. 

 

The image with the Bortle Scale at the bottom of the Artificial Night section at https://skyglowproje...light-pollution is pretty striking.



#8 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 05:11 AM

Emission and planetary nebulae are enhanced by nebula filters but with widespread broadband LED lighting cropping up everywhere that may not be the case for much longer.


No, I don't think that's true at all. Narrowband filters are quite effective at reducing broadband glow, both natural and artificial. The idea is that 100% of the nebula's light gets through, while only (say) 10% of the broadband glow gets through.

Theory aside, I don't find that the switch to LED in my area has reduced the effectiveness of nebula filters at all.


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#9 Prima Luna

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:09 PM

No, I don't think that's true at all. Narrowband filters are quite effective at reducing broadband glow, both natural and artificial. The idea is that 100% of the nebula's light gets through, while only (say) 10% of the broadband glow gets through.

Theory aside, I don't find that the switch to LED in my area has reduced the effectiveness of nebula filters at all.

 

Is it possible to make noise pollution filters that also filter out LED light?



#10 rhetfield

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 02:56 PM

The best suggestion would be to buy the biggest thing that you feel like carting back and forth to your parent's place.  That scope will give you better views than whatever the biggest thing you can afford to mount in your back yard will.


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#11 Eddgie

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 11:42 PM

How bad does it hurt?   That depends on how bad the light pollution is closely related to that is the transparency of the sky. Bottle 5 is (as these things go) considered dark for the vast majority of observers east of the Mississippi River and Bottle 5 still allows relatively  decent observation of many thousands of objects but a great many of those objects and in particular galaxies and nebula, while still possible to see, are often only threshold objects visible with averted vision, or when seen directly give up little structure or detail.

 

Double stars are perhaps the class of object that fare best, and nebula and dark nebula fare the worst (in my opinion.)

 

Bottle 5 though is good enough that you can still do very solid unassisted observing.  There should be several hundred galaxies within reach, many brighter nebula, a huge number of clusters and a huge number of doubles.  Globular result is very much aperture dependent and the bigger the aperture the more you will see.

 

As the problem gets worse thigh, more and more people will move to assisted astronomy.  For example!e, I live in a white zone, but using my image intensified eyepiece, I can see tho vs from my back yard that you would not be able to see even from Bottle 2 skies. Image Intensified is one of the fastest growing observing  technologies on Cloudy Nights and the change to LED lighting will have no effect on us.

 

But Bottle 5 is still decent If you go to at least a 10" or 12" scope. At least for now.


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#12 Eddgie

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 11:54 PM

And not that it will do us much good now but the number one issue with !ight pollution is atmospheric particulates and the primary source of that is carbon fueled vehicles.  As electric vehicles rep!ace these the transparency over  cities and suburbs will actually improve.  I will be 90 before half of the new vehicles sold will be electric, but in time, things will improve. Light by itself does not cause light pollution.  There has to be something to reflect it back at us.

 

Even in my white zone, after a very strong cold front scrubs the pollution some from over my city, I can get close to Bortle 5 results with glass, and with image intensifier, better than Bort!e 1.  On such nights the Horse Head Nebula is like a photograph.

 

But Ed will be dead before things get better so that is why I went image intensified almost four years ago.



#13 grif 678

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 02:14 PM

Really, a lot depends on your obligation to the hobby, how serious are you, how much money you want to spend, which is probably the biggest facto, and what you want to see. Those things can determine what scope you may want to start with. But we are all different, and what works for me may not work for some one else, but from what I have read, and heard others say, over many  years, that certain scopes may be better in certain light conditions than others. A good refractor would work well at both places, but for nebula at the darker area, you would probably see more with a bigger dob.

I kind of have the same situation, my in-laws home about 100 miles away, way out in the country away from lights, I can see so much more stars there , that it seems scary at times, that is how much difference a darker sky makes. Maybe a good pair of binoculars would be a help also. It is amazing what a difference a dark sky makes with binoculars too.



#14 N3p

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 08:41 PM

Is it possible to make noise pollution filters that also filter out LED light?

From what I understand (and hopefully I will explain it correctly), not really possible because the white LED's full spectrum passes over the specific nebula spectrum we want to see. Example, we want to isolate the emission lines 495.9 and 500.7 to look at a nebula in our telescopes, the full spectrum LED will emit the same wavelength.

 

Fatal error....

 

While the orange sodium lights it's an entirely different part of the spectrum, isolated away from the the important lines, those are possible to cut with a filter with less damages to 495.9 and 500.7

 

I have confidence that humanity will correct that problem eventually.

 

https://www.forbes.c...-see-the-stars/

 

Same thing with the Coronavirus.. the country of Canada is shut down.. right now and the quality of the air at home.. is literally outstanding after only 1 week... it's freaking incredible. I am not saying I wish for a total black out to do astronomy only one night.. but well.. yeah. wink.gif



#15 MikeTahtib

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:52 AM

That's a positive development.  But people also need to limit brightness whatever the color, and stop lighting up stuff that doesn't need to be lit.  I don't know if you've seen the latest highway lights, but ther are poles with multiple big LED heads arranged i a ring, to illuminate a huge circle very brightly.  They are putting these at on-ramps. They light up the whole approach to the merge, mostly lighting up the grass.  Or they light a whole cloverleaf, again, mostly grass.

But if a blackout were to occur, it would be a good chance to take the scopes out.



#16 George N

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 02:25 PM

...

But if a blackout were to occur, it would be a good chance to take the scopes out.

Maybe..... The last time there was a 3 night "black out" in my area -- it was full moon! cool.gif 



#17 George N

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 02:37 PM

….

 

I console myself with the thought that if I had to rush wife/family/friend (or someone rush me) to hospital do I want a drive along well lit roads or a completely dark one. That could be the choice. shocked.gif

 

There are always trade-offs. From my rented camp on Indian Lake in NY's Adirondacks I get SQM readings of 21.7+ on good nights. On the flip side - no cell phone service, and it is a 90 minute drive - on a good day - to the nearest *small* hospital - on mostly unlit 2-lane mountain roads that go for miles without a single dwelling. In a snow storm -- "forget it". Back in December 2019 there was a major flooding event that cut **every** road in/out for about a week or more. So no driving in or out at all. There is a small clinic staffed by some nurses and a PA - some days - and an ambulance service.



#18 SonnyE

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 03:37 PM

I don't have a telescope yet, but I was wondering how much light pollution hurts visual observation. From what I read on here so far, I'm pretty lucky... I live in a bortal 5 and my parents live 2 hours away in a bortal 2. There's a noticeable difference with the naked eye, but how much of a difference is there with a telescope?

Say your naked eye is zero. Now begin multiplying. It takes you beyond the light pollution.

 

But say you decide to never try. You stay at zero. And you will always wonder what you missed.



#19 Erik and family

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 06:52 AM

Say your naked eye is zero. Now begin multiplying. It takes you beyond the light pollution.

But say you decide to never try. You stay at zero. And you will always wonder what you missed.


I want to get a telescope bad! But with I'm considered an "essential employee" and so are all of my coworkers. There were too many of us here and the company I work for refuses to lay us off so I'm voluntarily staying home. The money I had set aside for a scope may end up going towards food. I'm ****ing ****ed! My family really could use that for a distraction. **** this virus!

#20 Delta608

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 09:36 AM

Feeding you family would be the prudent thing to do....The star and planets will always be there....


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#21 Erik and family

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 10:38 AM

Feeding you family would be the prudent thing to do....The star and planets will always be there....


I agree, that's why I'm so upset. I'm just going to learn as much as I can for now.
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#22 MikeTahtib

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 09:24 PM

I agree, that's why I'm so upset. I'm just going to learn as much as I can for now.

It's good that you're doing the right thing.  You don't have to like it, and it's better to vent your displeasure here than toward your family. 



#23 lemonade

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 03:44 AM

If I can enjoy it from bortle 9, you can surely do even better from bortle 5 especially with occasional bortle 2. No rush, once the pandemic is more under control, M42 will still be bright. If you're not happy with what you can see, there's always astrophotography.




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