NELPAG Circular No. 30

NELPAG Circular No. 30                                    2007 Oct. 18

New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG)
Editor:     Daniel W. E. Green [M.S. 18; Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory;
               60 Garden Street; Cambridge, MA  02138]  (telephone 617-495-7440)
Secretary:  Eric Johansson     (telephone 508-667-0137)

     NELPAG Circulars are issued at irregular intervals, as news accumulutes.  
Contributed information for this Circular concerning outdoor lighting problems 
in New England (or pertinent info from outside New England) are always welcome.  
Please circulate this newsletter to all interested parties.  Look at our World 
Wide Web site at URL (which currently reverts to the
13-year-old CfA website



by Dan Green and Kelly Beatty

Present:  Kelly Beatty, Dan Green, Mike Hansen, Mario Motta, Leo Smith 

     Five NELPAG Council members were present at the May 20 NELPAG 
meeting that was kindly hosted by Mario Motta at his home in Gloucester.
The topics discussed are listed below.

Forthcoming ATMoB presentation:
     The first in hopefully a long series of roving NELPAG panel
discussions throughout New England will be held on Thursday, June 14,
at 8 p.m. during the meeting of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston.
Those NELPAGers who have volunteered to participate include Kelly
Beatty, Dan Green, Mike Hansen, Mario Motta, and Bob Crelin.  Paul
Valleli has offered to give a short preview of a video on CD that he 
has prepared with a local boy scout on light pollution.
     The planned topics and presenters were:

-- Dan on NELPAG's history and purpose
-- Mario on human physiology
-- Mike on lighting's energy use and carbon footprint
-- Kelly on legislative efforts and the IDA
-- Bob Crelin on general perceptions of outdoor lighting and solutions

Following these short presentations, we'll have general comments and Q & A 
with the audience. Other members of the NELPAG council will probably attend
(e.g. Bernie Kosicki), so there shouldn't be a shortage of questions.  Leo 
has compiled a nice summary of energy-use data for Massachusetts.  These
sheets, along with IDA membership forms, will be available during the meeting.
     Kelly will assemble a list of club secretaries for the region and contact 
them to let them know that NELPAG can sponsor this kind of LP forum at those
clubs' monthly meeings.
     [At the invitation of club president Virginia Renehan, NELPAG 
Councilors did anchor a very successful "town-meeting" style forum on 
light pollution at the June 14 meeting of the Amateur Telescope Makers 
of Boston.]  

     Mario and his telescope (and LP issues) are the subject of an article 
in the Boston Globe. The reporter was Cynthia Atoji. [and the article appeared 
on May 27th].

Massachusetts chapter of the Audobon Society:
      We discussed trying to strengthen connections with other environmental 
groups in the area.  Apparently Mass Audubon issues policy statements, and
perhaps we can persuade them to issue one on LP.  Mike Hansen will try to 
determine a point of contact.

Model Lighting Ordinance:
      Leo summarized the progress on a Model Lighting Ordinance, which is 
being developed by a task force of reps from the IDA and the IESNA.  Leo says
that the resulting document will define five lighting zones and specify two 
methods for regulating outdoor lighting: (1) a "prescriptive" method, with 
total-lumen-per-unit-area levels, will be used in most cases; and (2) a 
"performance" method will be used with design software for planning more 
complex lighting schemes.  The MLO is almost finished and should be presented 

IESNA and RP-8:
     Leo is on the IESNA's Roadway Standard Practice Committee, which is 
charged with revising the IESNA's "Roadway Lighting" publication (RP-*). 
He is trying to get the committee to include recommendations that specify 
when roadway lighting is *not* warranted (such as on suburban streets with 
speed limits of 30 mph or less).

Next meeting:
     The next NELPAG meeting will be held on Sunday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m. 
at Phillips Auditorium, Harvard College Observatory, 60 Garden St., 
Cambridge, Mass.  The local hosts will be Dan Green and Michael Ratner.
[note:  this was subsequently postponed to Sunday, September 23, at 
5 p.m.]

Status of pending Massachusetts state bill on light pollution:
     Kelly Beatty reports that Rep. Jim Marzilli of Arlington has refiled
"his" Massachusetts House bill that would require FCO lighting on all 
state-funded projects, under new reference number House Docket 1092.
Marzilli has also filed a massive bill to promote energy, climate, and 
economic security -- and part of that the bill calls on Mass Highways 
(the state Department of Transportation) to complete an end-to-end 
assessment to justify the roadway lighting in place and to make suggests 
for improving it; that docket number is 3803.  Kelly adds that 3935 bills 
were filed for this session (the 196-page *list* of bills is at; still, Marzilli says "energy" is 
the new watchword on Beacon Hill, and he's hopeful that these bills can be 



by Bernie Kosicki

Location:  Sky & Telescope offices, Sherman St., Cambridge, Mass.
Present:  Kelly Beatty, Dan Green, Mike Hansen, Bernie Kosicki, Mario
 Motta, Leo Smith, Paul Valleli; with Eric Johansen and Peter Talmage
 by phone.  

The meeting started at 5 p.m.

     Nanette Benoit will help with the construction of the NELPAG website.  
Eric will host the site.  We discussed what software to use.  Eric proposes 
that we should be able to manage and change content without a webmaster.  
His server has a "Wiki" application called "Moin-Moin" that has an editor 
built in.  He proposes that we divide up the content, and then each 
responsible NELPAG member can add and edit his content himself.  Other 
members can also edit content.  All changes are archived and may be 
     The advantages of this mode are that it is much more feasible to change 
content quickly, since many people have the ability to make changes, and 
all changes don't have to wait until the webmaster can get to it.
     The traditional web-master as gate-keeper model doesn't work well using
this mode:  this person couldn't set up the website externally and then
just dump the whole thing on the server.  Wiki is incompatible with HTML
structure.  It is possible to create and edit pages locally and then upload 
(or just cut-and-paste) to the MoinMoin software, however.  A browser is 
used as the means to cut-and-paste.
     It is also possible to add style globally to all content on the entire 
website after-the-fact.  Kelly pointed out the need for a NELPAG letterhead 
and logo, and graphics for the website.  He will discuss this with Bob Crelin.
Mike volunteered to create a dummy website -- a website skeleton with no 
content in webpages.  Then members can add content without having to 
know very much about the editor.
     Eric will set up a password, and allow all Council members to access 
the blank website.  He will generate a password and email it to all Council
     Kelly volunteered to create a simple users manual to describe how to 
perform simple editing functions.  Mario volunteered to write and install a 
section on human-eye function.
     Dan argued that all basic information should be on our server, and not
simply link to another site, since we have no control of how or when this
might be changed. 

E-mail lists:  
     There exist now three e-mail lists on the server.  We discussed whether 
all three were needed now; this is more planning for the future if traffic 
becomes much higher.  Eric could create an "umbrella list" that combines all 
three existing lists.
     Kelly, Nanette and Eric will discuss these issues off-line.
     Kelly asked how questions now to NELPAG are answered?  People e-mail
questions after looking at the website.  He proposed eventually creating a 
FAQ section on the new website, where those answering the questions would
upload their answers to this section.

     Mario just returned from the Quebec IDA meeting.  Mt. Magentic is the 
first regional Dark Sky Preserve.  No uplight is allowed in this region.  All 
fixtures will be full-cutoff.  IDA is putting together a CD of all talks.
     Paul talked of illegal lighting that has occurred in Springfield, VT.  
The problem is lack of enforcement of their existing code.  Following this 
up, Mario proposed that all towns of ATMoB members should have a contact 
person that someone with lighting issues could go to for information.  Kelly
proposed that ATMoB members be recruited to get on the NELPAG e-mailing list,
where Mario's suggestion could then be followed up, for example.
     Bernie discussed the effort of the local Outdoor Lighting Education
Committee in Acton to push through a change of all streetlights to 
full-cutoff fixtures in town.
     Leo mentioned several items of IDA news:
(1) The IDA MLO would be complete in several months. 
(2) A joint IDA-industry informal roadway lighting committee is considering
 when NOT to light.  If the speed limit is no more than 30 mph, then
 non-continuously lighted sections (where "continuous" is defined by
 IESNA RP-8-00) may in fact be less safe than having no streetlighting at
(3) IDA is submitting a proposed code change to the International Energy
 Conservation Code.  There are 28 states that currently accept this code. 
 Members are encouraged to write to the chair of the energy committee in
 support of this proposal.  See the website
(4) Connecticut is considering a rate structure that would allow "half-night
 lighting" of streetlights.  This is now easily feasible using an
 inexpensive programmable photocell that is put in place of the
 conventional photocell.  There is currently no half-night rate structure
 in Massachusetts.  This is done now in southern California, and widely in
 Europe; there is no mandatory requirement that towns in these areas must
 use half-night lighting -- only that there is a rate structure that
 accommodates it.

Next NELPAG meeting:
     The next meeting will be on November 18, Sunday, at 5:00 p.m. at
the Sky & Telescope offices in Cambridge.


The NELPAG supports the International Dark-Sky Association and recommends
that all individuals/groups who are interested in the problems of light
pollution and obtrusive lighting should subscribe to the IDA Newsletter.
IDA membership costs $30.00 per year; send check to International Dark-Sky
Association, 3225 N. First Ave., Tucson, AZ  85719 -- or pay via their
website at