February 4, 1990 |
Joseph Mina is hoping that local politicians will see the light. No, he isn't trying to save their souls, and he's not talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. Mina, an accountant and amateur astronomer from Upper Providence, is waging a one-man crusade to enlighten local officials about the problems of light pollution and encourage them to take corrective steps. "It's my own belief that nothing should inhibit the view of the cosmos," he said in a recent interview.
February 8, 2002 |
Drive out to French Creek State Park on the border of Chester and Berks Counties and, on a clear night, you really can see forever. But drive the 50 miles southeast back toward the city, and the stars and galaxies slowly begin to disappear behind the perpetual glow of factories and shopping centers, of office buildings and apartment complexes: a man-made haze that keeps even the darkest of nights merely navy blue. It may look like the inevitable byproduct of development and progress, but as an increasing number of state and local governments are learning, it doesn't have to be. In recent years, seven states have adopted legislation designed to curb "light pollution" by calling for dimmer bulbs and light that is deflected downward.
October 15, 2012 |
The searchlights over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway have gone dark. The three-week Open Air show by Montreal artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is packing up. But the issue of light pollution that simmered throughout is still with us. It is of concern not only to astronomers, but to others who feel the bejeweled dark sky is an important part of living on Earth and being human. The lofty realm has inspired us to write poetry, compose music, ponder the existence of God, and fall in love.
September 1, 2003 |
Back home in Clinton, N.J., Chris Hannemann has no trouble picking out the constellations, because only a handful of stars are visible in the sky. Out here atop a mountain in Pennsylvania's remote Northern Tier, he has trouble picking out Sagittarius for the blizzard of stars. The thrill of a truly dark sky is what drew Hannemann and 500 or so other stargazers from all over the region to Cherry Springs State Park for the annual two-night "Black Forest Star Party. " Some even flew to the park in private airplanes weighed down with mammoth telescopes.
April 13, 2005 |
A recent commentary by Bob Lovell addressed light pollution and the preservation of the night sky ("Focused light saves more than night sky"). While I would not consider myself an active environmentalist, I do believe that we should be good stewards of our environment. While preserving the night sky is a worthy aim, I believe that some of Mr. Lovell's suggested solutions would be counterproductive. One challenge is that only a small amount of research to identify the cause and determine methods to reduce light pollution has been completed.
April 15, 2005
An illuminating response on light pollution One of the benefits of a commentary page is that it can create interest and evoke others to express their views or provide helpful information. Robert Petro's response article Wednesday("Light-pollution debate not so black-and-white") to mine on light pollution ("Focused light saves more than night sky," Feb. 15) raised some interesting questions, especially regarding my suggested solutions to light-pollution problems. We certainly agree on two key points: that municipal outdoor-lighting ordinances (where they exist)
August 4, 2003 |
Mars comes as close to Earth this month as it ever gets. Nothing to worry about. Just enjoy the view - if you can. The if is a big one for people who live in areas where humankind has mucked up the night sky with light pollution. That means most of us. It should surprise no one that artificial light floods the night skies over New York City. Less expected is that "light blight" has invaded the big skies of Wyoming. People in Laramie now complain that they can no longer see the Milky Way. "Sky glow" is the lyrical name for light pollution.
September 21, 2012 |
Having made his peace with the region's birders, the artist who will debut a huge light show Thursday night over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is still facing opposition from the astronomy community. Astronomers and dark-sky advocates, who contend that light pollution is not only obscuring the majesty of the starry sky, but also harming humans and wildlife by disrupting natural rhythms, have objected to the show. Running from 8 to 11 nightly through Oct. 14, the show, titled "Open Air," is to feature 24 spotlights along the parkway that will move and change intensity in response to verbal messages people record through an app developed for the exhibition.
February 15, 2005 |
What do $1.5 billion, six million tons of coal, and nighttime safety, security, visibility and comfort have in common? Among other things, the spectacular satellite view of the United States' Lower 48 at night. According to the International Dark-Sky Association, based on a 1996 study, an estimated 30 percent of outdoor lighting in the United States is sent uselessly into space, producing such night views. Like heat leaking from a poorly insulated house, it is a waste of energy, at an annual cost of about $1.5 billion, according to the association.
August 14, 1997
Bragging that the welfare rolls are down by 1.45 million this year, President Clinton has declared: "The debate is over. We now know that welfare reform works. " Come again? If the only measurement for success is the size of the welfare rolls, the entire question could be solved - overnight - by throwing everyone off. (Memo to conservatives: This is hyperbole, not a recommendation.) The fact is that no one - including critics of welfare reform - knows why the welfare rolls have dropped: It could be that due to the best economy in decades, millions of former welfare recipients now are happy, productive members of the working class.