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Protecting Dark Skies for Astronomy and Life

6 Jan 2017, 15:43 UTC
Protecting Dark Skies for Astronomy and Life
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PROTECTING DARK SKIES FOR ASTRONOMY AND LIFE
Grapevine, TX – Artificial light at night is a threat to astronomical research, personal safety, and the health of both humans and wildlife. The problem is worsening with the proliferation of LED billboards and blue-rich white light LEDs as an option for street lighting. Within five years, LED technology will take over as the dominant type of outdoor lighting technology. With this in mind, scientists and lighting engineers say now is the time to implement strategies for reducing light pollution. By working together, they are identifying the best type of LED to use while suggesting actions that minimize intrusive lighting.
Meeting in Grapevine, Texas at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), representatives from several western United States observatories led a workshop with other dark sky advocates, including a lighting engineer. The workshop showcased successful outcomes with real “before” and “after” examples and an expectation that going forward, cities can achieve good lighting outcomes.
Addressing the inevitable increase in the use of LED lighting, participants identified three factors that are important to minimizing sky glow: shielding, brightness, and color of the light. Ideal fixtures direct light downward—to sidewalks, for instance—but block ...

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