Restaurant vs Parking Lot

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We went out to hear some friends play eat last night and then went to a nearby restaurant to eat.  I’ve been using an app on my iPhone to take lux readings here and there.  While the app and my iPhone may be questionable for a totally accurate, spot-on reading, I figure its close and I’m doing comparisons – so apples to apples.

The lux reading, from light shining on the menu at the restaurant was 20 lux.  That seems to be about the norm for other restaurants and diners as well.

In the parking lot, near home, the reading at the base of the light pole was 127 lux.

Wanted to update this and hold until I get my calulations right.  Not sure I can properly calulate the point source amount from what I can gather. Inverse square law will work when the measurements and units are correct.  Important to figure out how to do this so sites can be measured and properly compared.





These Girls Get It

Today’s highlights are two great resources.  There is no doubt in my mind, the effects of light pollution on humans and the environment are real and threaten the health and wellbeing of the planet.  The proof continues to pile up as science catches up with lighting technology.  Even manufacturers are providing information on light pollution and are offering better solutions for lighting our night properly and safely.

PBSKids SciGirls get it. PBSKids SciGirls 112: Star Power – The program shows good, solid science done by some real SciGirls.  The episode features girls who participate in a school science club.  Their mentor is a Phd astrophysicist student.  They pursue some good science by participating in The Globe at Night campaign, which anyone can participate in (Information for the 2019 campaign is on their website).  Most impressive, these girls got it.  They identified the problem and then figured out a solution.  Impressive.

The Globe at Night has all the information you need to participate in the 2019 campaign to grade your night skies and upload your results to a world-wide database.  There are also great teaching materials on the site.  The Globe at night has some pretty weighty connections, including the National Science Foundation.

Just a word on The Globe at Night Campaign.  This is real science and important.  Satellite imagery only captures part of the story, the upward directed light, in certain bandwidths.  Our eyes are sensitive receivers and the view from the ground, where the light pollutions affects us, is important data.  Also, our eyes see the pollution coming from the horizonal direction.   The database could be used. in addition to the satellite data, to quantify light pollution’s effect on the environment and us.  Connections to real issues can be found by mapping environmental and health effects to the magnitude of the light pollution geographically.

Using the Globe at Night star charts is a great way to quantify the amount of light pollution in your community by counting the number of stars in specific constellations that you can see from your location.  Easy to do!  Solid science for the whole family.  Connect nationally and globally.

Check it out!

PBSKids SciGirls 112: Star Power

The Globe at Night


Why We Need the Night

Short post today, just to highlight a link to a very good 18 min TEDTalk video by the author of the book, “The End of Night, by Paul Bogard”.    It’s a good basis for understanding the effects of Light Pollution caused by Artificial Light at Night (ALAN).

YouTube TedTalk, Why We Need Darkness, by Paul Bogard

If you are researching deeper, I found some interesting posts if you search on dLAN (dim-light at night) or Chronobiology, ChronoPsychology, and especially, Chrononeurology and Chronoendocrinology.  They all deal with the effects of ALAN and dLAN in living critters, like us.  Melatonin effects on the unborn are also a research topic pointing to some pretty nasty effects, especially on problem pregnancies.  More on those findings later.




Who knew? Termites and Light at Night


Last night, during my pictoral tour, I noted the light trespass on houses surrounding the lighted facilities.  The medical effects on humans were foremost in my mind.  This morning, remembering our termite experience, I wondered if artificial light at night would affect termites.  Indeed it does.  A study done by BioOne Complete connects the dots between light sources and increased termite infestation.  They even used white LED lights for their test.

It seems there are specific winged termites in the colony whose job is to swarm, mate, and establish new colonies.  They swarm toward light sources in the middle of the night, mate, and look for suitable places to start a new colony.  After mating, the termites don’t go too far so it’s likely they will choose suitable nesting places close to the light source – like the surrounding homes being bathed by light trespass?  The study connects increased level of light with increased termite colonization and infestation.

I haven’t seen increased termite infestations due to light and therfore linked to light pollution on any other site.  Please comment if you know of other studies on this topic.


Tonight’s Tour: Good and Not So Good

Tonight, on the way back from church, I took some pictures of good lighting and bad lighting.  The weather is a bit rainy but that readily shows up where the skyglow comes from.

First, the good lighting example:

Bethany Village West’s lighting was excellent.  This is a senior living facility.  Their lighting was shielded well and the intensity was turned down low.  It was 8pm.  Only a couple lights for the flag were directed up.  The lighting at this facility should get some kind of architectural lighting award. It’s well controlled and lights just what is needed, at the intensity required.  Well done.  The architect was Noelker & Hull Assoc, Inc.  For what it’s worth, I want to say thank you to the architect for doing great work!




The Not So Good:

Across the street from Bethany Village West is a new building on Wesley Drive.  I understand that it’s still under construction.  They need to consider shades on the windows or controlled intensity to lessen their environmental footprint.   The four exterior lights in this photo are completely overwhelmed by the interior lighting.  In fact, the interior lights even overwhelm the glaring, white LED parking lot lights.  That says something!  Hopefully, they will get this under control when the building is done.


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!  The default page seemed pretty appropriate, the marker of a starting point in a journey of discovery.  It’s great to have good company with you on any road trip or a project.  Sharing discoveries and ideas is better with friends.

On this site, I plan on sharing my discoveries about the effects of Light Pollution on our environment and on us.  I will share solutions and ideas I find, and I hope as people come visit, they share, so we can all move ahead, progress and make things better.  I absolutely know most technical professionals would choose to do no harm and would not want that stamp in their professional legacy.  I suspect it’s more a matter of awareness with architects, designers, engineers, manufacturers and installers.  To raise that awareness via online resources is one of the purposes here.

Not only do I hope to provide good pointers to resources and information but to blog a bit about sharing the irrefutable evidence of the effects of Light Pollution with community and professionals.

Personally, I’d rather be private, hiding from the light on my back patio with my Meade LX90.  In two or three years I went from not being able to count the stars to being able to easily count the stars.  When I researched why, the facts of Light Pollution and its effects  floored me.  Why would people do this to our environment and to each other?  Even more so, is the neglect or ignorance of the topic among most people and professionals.  We all need to know what we are swimming in.

So, here I find myself, feeling a bit like Disney’s Moana, trying to get out of the lagoon, trying to find Maui, restoring the heart of Te fite, and setting the world to rights (a bit of N.T. Wright, there).  Yes, for this is the sacred journey we are ALL called to, isn’t it?


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton