Category Archives: Light Pollution

Dark skies and ignorance

The local paper, the Isle of Wight County Press, has finally caught up with the Isle of Wight Dark Skies story and published a piece about it today (better late than never!). However, if one of the comments, by regular commenter ‘Lee Majors’, is anything to go by, it shows what VAS, DfDS, the IDA and amateur astronomers are up against because I have heard and read this type of ill-informed comment before in the media. I’ll address each point (the original comments are in italics).

Liam, it sounds nice having all the street lights turned out, but let us for one moment imagine it shall we?
Old people walking back from bingo, mugged in the darkness or falling over ill and not seen.

Get a torch and take care. But we are NOT saying turn all the lights off! Besides, highly unlikely that someone will be mugged in the pitch dark. They’ll probably get mugged in the full glare of a badly-directed light, though, when the would-be mugger lurking in deep shadows caused by badly-directed and over-bright lighting gets an opportunity to size up his or her victim yet the victim can’t see the potential assailant.
I can speak from personal experience here, I was assaulted (not mugged) in Southampton in early 2004, in the full glare of the city’s street lights, which has made me wary of brightly-lit places.

Old people tripping over potholes and loose kerbstones.

Again – Get a torch and take care. But we are NOT saying turn all the lights off!

People tripping over outside of shops and suing the shop owner for compensation.

Get a torch and take care. But we are NOT saying turn all the lights off! Can you see a pattern emerging?
 I’m getting deja vu, here. :/ 

Pitch black streets, ideal for breaking in to cars, nobody to see you.Pitch black front and rear gardens, ideal for breaking in to houses.

Rubbish. Funny as it may seem, criminals are human like the rest of us. They also need lights to see by and don’t have superior night vision to the rest of us. According to the CfDS, there is no evidence that lights lead to any change in crime levels and could, in fact, actually increase crime.  CfDS: Lighting and Crime.

You mention accidents, ok, yes drive slower, but how are you meant to see that small guy dressed in black around a dark blind bend when once there was light?

Errr….headlights on cars? Yep. And the pedestrian needs a high vis vest (dead cheap at your local builders’ merchant or DIY store) plus the aforementioned torch. And drivers taking care is a pretty radical thought, too.

If the island stopped building new estates in fields and the countryside then, we would have less light pollution!

True!! Very true, in fact. I 100% agree with him! But we still need existing lights to be replaced by full cut-off fixtures and the light to only go where it is needed.

Try turning every other street light off at night. or have only two in a road on.

I don’t think it is possible to turn every other light off. Or, a far better idea, have lovely new LED road lighting, and that is exactly what we’re getting, which is full-cut off and shines only where it is needed. Therefore, the general public still get their lighting and we astronomers still get dark skies.
That said, NO ONE is saying turn all the lights off. We don’t want to alienate people. All that is being said, is shine the light where it is needed, i.e. downwards and not up into the sky or onto other people’s property.

Isle of Wight Dark Sky Initiative

Vectis Astronomical Society is launching the Wight Dark Skies Initiative next Friday, May 24th, where it is trying to get International Dark Sky Status for the western part of the island, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The VAS website explains it, so to save me attempting to do so, here are the details in full from the VAS website:


Vectis Astronomical Society (VAS) is pleased to invite you to:
The Public Launch of
The Isle of Wight Dark Sky Initiative
Newport Parish Church Centre, Town Lane, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1JU
7.15 pm on Friday 24th May 2013
Bob Mizon – a senior member of the British Astronomical Association and Campaign for Dark Skies, and Martin Morgan-Taylor – board member of the International Dark Skies Association will give a presentation entitled
Dark Skies – Dark Future?

This will be followed by a short presentation outlining details of the VAS application for International Dark Sky Status for the Isle of Wight

Our Island is already well known for its dark skies, as celebrated each March by the “Isle of Wight Star Party” attended by around 100 observational astronomy enthusiasts and professionals. This event has featured in recent editions of Sky at Night and Astronomy Now magazines.
Professor Bill Martin of the University of Hertfordshire Centre for Astrophysics and Atmospheric Instrumentation Research has operated a dark sky monitoring station on the Island for several years, and has stated:
“with the data we have from the Isle of Wight you potentially have the best combination of dark skies and clear weather in the UK.”
Most types of pollution are being tackled but, so far, light pollution seems to have had little attention even though it can affect all our health and well-being.
VAS is committed to reduce light pollution on the Isle of Wight and believes that achieving International Dark Sky status for the island through the International Dark Sky Association will:
Strengthen the island’s tourism industry Improve the well-being of the population Reduce environmental impact Enable further education and scientific research projects Recognize our Island as one of the most environmentally friendly and enjoyable places to be on earth.

Please send letters of support to:
Isle of Wight Dark Skies Initiative, 35 Forest Road, Winford, Isle of Wight, PO36 0JY

Please support VAS’ initiative and go along, if you’re on the island that evening or, if not, please send a letter of support to the above address, thank you.

On the Wight have also got an article (much the same wording).

Now, for the clouds to sod off, so we can actually see something…


If you look at the foot of the page you’ll see a drop down menu, titled ‘Blog post archives’, this will make it easier to find posts from previous months and years.

A light screen

I live in a reasonably dark area with fairly good, although not great, skies by most standards (certainly UK ones) but there are still some annoying lights to contend with, such as the lights from the couple of neighbours whose houses and gardens border the north of this one. These houses are not that close to us and there is a footpath between the end of their gardens and the side of ours but there is still a significant degree of light trespass from them. One set of neighbours’ lights, in particular, is irritating, simply because they encroach onto my observing space. They have an outside light they put on when they let their dogs out but this, while a bit aggravating, isn’t so bad as it goes off again ten minutes later, but an upstairs window is really annoying because the light is on all evening and they have no curtains at the window, resulting in light spilling across the garden, and the whole place is lit up like Crystal Palace. Yes, I *could* ask them if they wouldn’t mind doing something about the lights but I don’t know these people and I’d feel awkward asking them, they might think I was some sort of crank and tell me to get stuffed. I know some people do approach neighbours but I am not that forward, although I would be if their house was right next to this one and we were being totally blitzed.
The light trespass situation was made worse last week when the hedge, an evergreen one of mixed species, was cut and a foot of foliage was removed from the top and a foot from the side, meaning that the light now comes right through as well as over the top. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off when I found out what had been done. The hedge belongs to us but my aunt gets a bloke in to cut the hedges and mow the lawn and he took too much off. ‘Well, it’ll grow back’. Yes it will, but not for two or three years and it’s now nearly winter when nothing grows anyway.
To be honest, my observing site is really in the wrong place for light-avoiding but there is nowhere else for it to go and, where it is, I have good views south, west and east. Further down the garden, the house would wipe out the view to the east and south-east.

So, necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to erect some sort of light screen to counteract the lights, although I’d been meaning to do this for some time because there was some light trespass from the house across the way, even before the hedge’s radical hair cut, and the leaves will be off the oak trees soon.
I solicited opinion on Cloudy Nights as to what was the best way to make such a light screen and got a lot of excellent suggestions. Unfortunately these also looked like quite costly suggestions, involving making a frame from a lot of interconnecting plastic water pipes, which I’d have to buy. However my aunt suggested that I used 7ft garden canes and stick them into the hedge, the density of which (despite the cut!) will hold up the canes even with a heavy tarpaulin fixed to them. I shoved four canes through the centre of the hedge and fixed the tarp to them, initially with string, but I will probably get some heavy-duty clips and use those instead because it will be quicker to put up and take down again. I will probably get some black cloth and use that instead of the tarp as it will be lighter to put up and won’t be as noisy as the tarp is.


Without the screen, offending window visible from observing area.



Two of the four canes in place


The tarpaulin in place.


It’s not an ideal solution – that would be me winning the lottery and moving to the Arizona, New Mexico or West Texas deserts, away from neighbours and their stupid overbright and irritating lights, not to mention the crap North Atlantic weather – but it should do the trick. If the neighbours ever notice the light screen – which will be taken down after each session or the following morning – and ask me about it, then I will tell them it is to block out excess light…maybe they’d take the hint.

While I’m in the mood for a moan, why is it that, as soon as the Moon is past last quarter do the effing clouds move back in and the weather turn to crap again?!

Dew busting

I had always got by without a dew heater system or shield and just put up with it, but during recent observing sessions I got so fed up with the Telrad and, especially, the secondary mirror dewing up (which brought sessions to a premature end because there is no way of getting dew off a mirror without resorting to using a hair dryer, which would be unbelievably loud in the dead of night!), I decided to do something about it.

I have invested in a dew-busting system, which consists of a dew heater controller, a Telrad dew heater and a secondary mirror strip, from Astronomia in Surrey. I am waiting for the secondary heater (a Kendrick split secondary heater) to arrive, as Astronomia didn’t have one in stock. The dew controller is powered by a 12 volt power supply, in this case a power supply with inverter, which is intended by its manufacturer to jump start cars and supply back up power for caravans and boats, which I got from a car parts supplier.

AWR dew heater controller


Telrad dew heater


The dew heater fitted to the Telrad


While I was spending money (the proceeds of the sale of my 12 inch) I decided to get a TeleGizmos scope cover from the Widescreen Centre. It was expensive but worth it to protect the scope. The particular one I got is designed to fit 18-20 inch f/4.5 truss dobs, with a bit of room to spare. It should also help keep condensation off the primary mirror because it will keep the scope cool even when the shed heats up during the morning, as it will do on all but the coldest winter day.

Something else I am going to try in order to keep condensation off the mirror is to put a heated mat, of the sort used to keep reptiles’ tanks warm, in the rocker box. The mat won’t get hot but should keep the mirror from looking like it was dumped in a swimming pool each morning.


In the current edition of the local paper, in the Nature Notes section, there is a piece by Helen Shaw, all about light pollution and its effects on wildlife, titled ‘We are in the dark over light pollution‘. It’s good to see that people other than amateur astronomers are concerned about this as it shows it has far-reaching effects and doesn’t just affect a tiny minority of the population. At an event our society attended back in August, the general public were pretty clued-up about light pollution and nearly everyone agreed that it needs to be addressed, so we are getting somewhere. I feel as if someone else’s lights trespassing is the equivalent of cigarette smoke being blown in your face and just as anti-social – I got told off for using that analogy on Cloudy Nights a few days ago (I have no idea why) but I make no apologies for it as I think it is a good one. If not cigarette smoke, then excessive noise, perhaps.
I have sent in the following, for the letters section, and it will be interesting to see what the reply will be – if they publish it. I am not given to writing to the press, especially local press, but light pollution is something I feel strongly about enough to do so.

I was pleased to see Helen Slade’s Nature Notes article on light pollution in the October 7th IWCP. Light pollution is a problem which has been allowed to get out of hand over the years, to the extent that an ugly orange glow hangs above our towns and cities from street lighting.
All that orange glow hanging over Newport, Sandown, Shanklin, Ryde, etc, at night represents our council taxes – and electricity – being wasted by light being shone into the sky where it is not needed, rather than down onto the ground where it is. In this age of energy prices rising all the time and with concerns over CO2 emissions, surely this can’t be allowed to continue?
Light pollution also results from badly-directed security lights and other lighting fixtures on homes and businesses, fixtures which have proliferated over the past couple of decades, and a lot of excess light spills onto other people’s properties and onto roads. If you want to illuminate your property no-one is saying you can’t but, please, just keep it to yourselves. We all need to see where we are going, but zillion-watt security lights shining across roads and into neighbours’ gardens is just overkill. Also, light trespass (light nuisance) is also actually against the law, as of April 2006.
Amateur astronomers, naturalists, environmentalists and people who would just like to see a natural night sky without hideous and intrusive artificial lighting don’t want to turn off the lights completely. We all know that some light is needed but only where it is most effective, which is downward onto the ground and not up into the sky or shining onto other people’s property.
People tend to think that lots of light equals safety. It doesn’t, particularly if you’re dazzled by misdirected lighting. Neither does it reduce crime. Criminals and people indulging in anti-social behaviour don’t have better night vision than law-abiding people, they need light to see, too.
Also, according to a report in the Independent newspaper recently, light pollution can affect property prices because people don’t want to live in an excessively-lit area.
However, it does seem that light pollution is beginning to be recognised as the anti-social and unpleasant thing it is and it is good to see that more people are becoming aware of the problem.
More information can be found at the Campaign for Dark Skies: and also from the Campaign to Protect Rural England: (I am not, by the way, a representative of either CfDS or CPRE).

By the way, here is a link to the Independent article: ‘Homebuyers are looking for splendid isolation and a pristine view of a star-filled sky

Perseid Party – with no Perseids

Despite the fact it was nearly full Moon, there was a small gathering at a friend’s house last night to watch the Perseid meteor shower. The weather forecast was lousy but we decided to get together and have a barbecue anyway. The clouds showed little sign of shifting, with only the occasional sucker hole showing tantalising glimpses of the stars beyond.

This garden, belonging to fellow VAS member and Isle of Wight Star Party organiser Stephen, is in an enviable spot on the south coast of the Isle of Wight and in a blue zone, with views over the sea and an unobstructed southern horizon. It’s darker than the garden at home and, as it has that unobstructed view of the south I am going to be doing some observing there on occasion with the 8″ (I am not sure my 18″ will fit into my little Citroen C3). On a Moonless night, the only form of light pollution is St. Catherine’s Lighthouse, whose beam sweeps the hillside above the garden every few seconds, but it doesn’t actually interfere with night vision as the beam is blocked by trees to the west. An observer in the garden is also below the beam. There are, of course, also large ships passing on their way to and from the port of Southampton but they don’t hang around, fortunately.

Despite the rubbish observing conditions we had a good time and were treated to a spectacular view of the Moon reflecting off the sea as it shone through breaks in the clouds, and even through the clouds when they thinned enough. We didn’t see a single meteor but had a nice time, nonetheless.


Driving home around midnight, I couldn’t help noticing the sheer amount of streetlights and (in)security lights everywhere. There’s absolutely no need for these lights in rural areas but there are so many of them, it’s depressing. It’s also depressing how most members of the public seem to need the ‘blanket and teddy bear’ (as my friend Ted Saker puts it) of outdoor lighting so when the council come to renew the lights, as they’re supposed to do in the next few years, you can bet they won’t be actually thinning the damn things out a bit. However, the new ones are supposed to be cut-off fixtures, so the overall light pollution should be reduced quite significantly.
On a related note, while watching the TV news coverage of the riots, mayhem and looting in England’s major cities last week, I couldn’t help noticing that the crimes were all carried out in the full glare of the street lights! That’s another nail in the coffin of the mantra ‘lights deter crime’, I hope.

It’s another cloudy Moon-ridden night tonight but what a spectacular sunset there was. I don’t like clouds, at all, but they do provide some drama.

You what?

*I had made a post under this title yesterday, but I accidentally deleted it when trying to delete something else! So here it is again, or what I can remember of it*

Being less than mobile recently, thanks to a knee injury, I have been doing a bit more reading than usual. I have been looking through my collection of Deep Sky Magazine and an article by Jeffrey Corder in DSM #6 Spring 1984, titled ‘Observing Low Surface Brightness Objects’, contained a sentence that caught my eye. The sentence in question read: “The reason old Reverend Webb described M33 as “Large, faint, and ill-defined” was more because his notoriously damp homeland of England is a generally poor site than because M33 is especially difficult“.
Er, “…generally poor site”? That’s a sweeping statement if ever I saw one and, like all sweeping statements, is actually not entirely true. Okay, England isn’t great, but neither is it a ‘generally poor site’ and, apart from the north-west, a lot of it isn’t ‘notoriously damp’ either, especially in the south.
Arizona is ‘great’, West Texas is ‘great’ (when it isn’t on fire), the outback of Australia is ‘great’, Chile’s Atacama Desert is ‘great’ and so on, but most observers – most people – don’t live in these observational nirvanas, they live in areas that are as cloudy and as light polluted as England, so it does kind of annoy me when I hear and read remarks such as Jeffrey’s and ‘Soggy little Britain’, which an American friend said to me on Facebook recently.

I used to be under the impression that people in the US, especially, had pristine home skies and spent all their spare evenings observing, so I was a little jealous! My visits to the Texas Star Party, and also reading forums such as Cloudy Nights, actually proved otherwise as most people live in areas which are cloudy and/or light polluted. People have to live in or near towns and cities for work, unless they happen to be rich or retired, and really only get dark sky observing opportunities around new Moon if the weather co-operates and they can get out of town for a night or two.

While 300+ clear nights a year would be nice, we don’t do too badly here, with over 100 nights a year, give or take a few, that are observationally usable – if we ignore the Moon’s phase – most particularly here on the South Coast where high sunshine levels translate into a decent amount of clear nights. I’ve been keeping a record of nights that are usuable for observing (partly clear as well as 100% clear) and, so far, in 2011, we’ve had 69 nights out of 155 that have been clear or partly clear, despite the coldest and cloudiest winter for 40 years. That’s 44%, not too shabby for a ‘generally poor site’. Out of those 69 nights, 52 have been totally clear. 2010 was 46% clear or partly clear (33% totally clear). Anything less than 50% clear goes down as cloudy! 50% clear is usable and I often observe on partly clear nights, as long as the Moon isn’t in the way. I have to admit that even I don’t observe as much as I could, as it isn’t always possible, particularly in the summer when nights are very short and in mid-winter when sub-zero temperatures make it a test of endurance, and at the age of 41 I’m beginning to find that several nights in a row is hard going, particularly when I am also working during the day.

That said, the weather does have a habit of being inclement when there’s an astronomical event on. Planning a public session to view an eclipse? You can bet it will probably be cloudy! However, the same goes for the USA, outside the dry and clear south west, and other countries, too. If you plan your observing around weekends because of work, particular dates or events, then there is a risk it will be cloudy or wet, as such a narrow window of opportunity means the perspective will be skewed. It doesn’t mean that it’s always or even mostly cloudy and wet.
Even the Texas Star Party this year wasn’t an observational success, as they were clouded out for all except two-and-a-half nights. Nearby range fires, caused by lighting strikes, haven’t helped either. A few past TSPs have been a bit hit-and-miss, too with 1992, 2005 and 2007 being pretty bad.

It’s a bit of a ramble but what I am trying to say here is that people tend to criticise England (and Britain in general) rather unfairly, when the truth isn’t as bad and it does annoy me, particularly when it often comes from people who are no better off than we are. It’s true that we British do love to complain about the weather but as whingeing is a national pastime here (and, yes, I can moan with the best of ’em!), that doesn’t mean much, as sunshine and 90 degree temperatures here bring as many complaints from people as any other type of weather! In short, while we don’t have the best observing conditions here by no means do we have the worst either. England is probably about average in the grand scheme of things.

Light pollution is more of a menace than clouds. The UK, especially England, is overcrowded and, as such, is quite badly light polluted and we have a big problem here in that respect. Public ignorance is a major factor in this as they tend to think that turning night into day is somehow a ‘good thing’ and prevents crime. It isn’t and doesn’t. It’s wasteful, adds to carbon emissions and isn’t proven to reduce crime – and criminals need light to see, they don’t have superior night vision compared to the rest of us!
Local council street light switch-offs, due to austerity measures, have been greated with bleating about ‘blackouts’ and claims of increased crime (although that’s not supported by facts) and one woman in Northamptonshire claimed she fell over in the dark and injured herself. You don’t just ‘fall over’ in the dark unless you’re not taking adequate care and using a torch, unless you have a problem. It’s the same with pedestrians walking along unlit roads at night – if they wear light or reflective clothing then they have far less chance of being run over, unless they do something really stupid.

The battle against light pollution is slowly gaining some ground with a lot of councils, including the Isle of Wight, beginning to put new LED lamps in. Apparently, these shine downwards and little or no light actually goes into the sky. I have read reports where amateur astronomers in areas where these have already been installed say that there is a big improvement. It’s a step in the right direction and, if these lights shine where they are supposed to but the sky remains dark, then everyone will be happy. Light trespass is now an offence, so badly shielded and directed security lights have to be adjusted if a complaint is made.

Returning to Jeffrey Corder’s article, as for M33 itself from here it’s certainly large but it’s not a hard object to see. It’s a naked-eye object on a good night from here and is not that faint or ill-defined, being a nice sight in binoculars. Telescopically there’s lots to see such as HII areas and, with a large enough scope, globular clusters.
Rev. Webb’s impression of it was more likely down to the quality – or lack of it – of his scopes rather than any shortcomings in the quality of his sky. I daresay that telescopes back in 1984 were superior to those of the 1800s, which was Webb’s era.

Light trespass

My observing site is rural with some skyglow from nearby towns, although this is only really noticeable when there’s a lot of water vapour in the atmosphere and the sky is hazy. The house and garden are on farmland but we do have a couple of neighbours just across the public footpath which runs alongside the garden.
One set of neighbours, a retired couple, are fine, they only put lights on when needed and they don’t have security lights. The ones next to them, however, have an upstairs light which is kept on – unnecessarily, in my opinion – all the time during the dark hours; normally I wouldn’t object, because it’s their electricity bill, but it faces my observing site. They also have a badly-aligned outside light in their garden which they switch on when they let their dog out, and this blitzes my observing area because the light goes right through the hedge – I don’t blame them for lighting the way for their dog, we do the same for our three except our light is better aligned and doesn’t shine anywhere else other than where it is supposed to. Our garden hedge that side (north) is quite high but the foliage doesn’t cover all the gaps. It’s not as bad in the summer because the leaves on the trees block out some of the light (I hope the neighbours don’t decide to chop them down!).

I could do what other observers do and ask the neighbours to turn their lights off – and at least the security light isn’t on all the time – but I feel awkward doing so. Therefore, I am going to rig up some sort of screen to stop the light trespass. I think the easiest way of doing this will be to put up a couple of easily removable poles and hang blackout cloth, or a large wooden panel, across them. The cloth will be easier to put up and store when not in use.

On a related note, the local council here have got a large grant from the UK government (only two other areas in the UK have got similar funding) to repair the highways, from resurfacing all the roads to renewing bus shelters to replacing the existing decades-old street lights. Apparently the new lighting is to be LEDs which will be brighter but, properly shielded, will not cause skyglow. I have read mixed things about LEDs and how they can make an illuminated area as bright as day, is this necessary? How bright do people need it to be? Is the nation really that scared of the dark? And it won’t reduce crime: when living in London and Southampton, both large cities with loads of lights, I witnessed several muggings and was myself the victim of an attempted assault, all which took place at night in the full glare of the street lights. Scumbags need light to see what they’re doing, same as anyone else. Night-vision CCTV would probably be more effective than brightly illuminating everywhere. But if LEDs, despite their brightness, are shielded and the horrible orange glow vanishes, to be replaced by dark skies above then I won’t be complaining.
In the meantime, as this is a 25-year plan, why don’t the Isle of Wight Council do what a lot of other councils are doing and switch off the lights in order to save money and reduce their carbon footprint? The IW Council is broke and having to make massive cuts yet won’t turn off the lights after midnight. This makes no sense, it’s the easiest way to make savings and reduce their carbon footprint, with the added benefit (and probably most important to astronomers) that we get our dark skies back. I have written to them, yet never received so much as a ‘thank you for contacting us’ – although I have emailed them again today. There is a so-called ‘Eco Island‘ initiative here, where they want to decrease the carbon consumption of the Isle of Wight and increase our standard of living. This is all good stuff, but nowhere on their site have I found any references to wasteful lighting, so I have written to them, too. It will be interesting to see what their reply is, if they do reply. If they don’t then we’ll know it’s a load of hot air, in more ways than one.

Lights out!!

There was an article on BBC South Today this evening about how some residents of Romsey, Hants, are up in arms over a council proposal to reduce the street lighting by turning some of it off. The usual misinformed garbage about fuelling crime and anarchy practically coming to the streets is being spouted by panic-stricken residents, plus emotive nonsense about the blackouts in World War 2 – the ordinary, non-astronomical public is so woefully ignorant it is almost funny.
Via Cloudy Nights forum, where this is also being discussed, I found this Daily Mail article about this, with the laughably over-the-top headline: Return of the Blackout: Crime fear as councils switch off streetlights to save the planet and complete with a lot of inanely stupid comments from people who, sadly, don’t know anything other than what rags such as the DM tell them.

As for motorists, that’s what vehicle lights are for – and it won’t hurt to reduce speed and take a little more care either.

Right, come on Isle of Wight Council, turn ours off now, please! I live in a reasonably dark area, but even so, I have notice the domes from Newport, Ryde, Shanklin and Sandown getting worse over the past couple of years. Actually, it wouldn’t hurt to kill off all these unnecessary (in)security lights too.

When I was a small kid, 30 years ago, street lights were routinely turned off after midnight and no-one complained. Have people in the UK really turned into a yellow-streaked, spineless lot fearful of the dark, since then? Or is it just a case of moan about it just to have something to whinge about?

If you are going to look on the bright side (no pun intended) of global warming and the increasing scarcity of cheap fuel, then from an astronomer’s point of view turning off the street lights and lessening the cancer of skyglow is no bad thing.

Campaign for Dark Skies