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I got my newsletter from the International Dark-Sky Association today and it seemed so appropriate after my trek last night. I know what dark skies are about and under normal conditions, I love them dearly ... because they are hardly ever really dark. They are either full of storm or full of stars.
I get little sympathy when I complain about a yard light that shines in my bedroom window at the farm that is at least six fields away from me or the street lights that over-light the Indian community of Scotchford across the river and to the east of me.
So lets see what the Dark-sky newsletter has to say: They mentioned the article that was in MacLeans in May called "Let There Be Dark" and mentioned, too the article in Time magazine last January called "Bag Those Beams" and other titles on the subject like "The Dark Side Of Light" or "Going, Going, Nearly Gone". You have to admit they are attention seeking titles and that is good - because the subject needs our attention. The Illuminating Engineers are talking about the problems of glare, energy waste, sky glow and light trespass! Don't you just love those issues.
A few points other points from the newsletter: They write about people worrying that "conversion to astronomy-friendly lighting will result in dark, dangerous communities. Actually, quality fixtures put just the right amount of light exactly where it's needed. Poorly designed fixtures produce unwanted glare that makes communities more dangerous." At the Olympic's in Australia they made a very serious effort to follow ridged standards for sports lighting [ tennis courts, etc.] and Rome has passed a law against light pollution! They claim that " good lighting enhances vision, preserves the nighttime ambiance of that city with its historic roots" and Moab, Utah has an ordinance that includes light curfews, footcandle limits and prohibition of mercury vapours. So you see the interest in the subject is growing.
There is a Canadian proposal for a Dark-Sky Sancutary on Manitoulin Island. We on PEI where "spectacular night skies" are part of our life, too, should be watching their progress. Lets plan for "stars up - lights down". The e-mail address for Dark-Sky is http://www.darksky.org and our Canadian friend is Mark Oldfield at email@example.com.
Written Sunday, January 21, 2001 at 01:59 AM