Other News Regarding Light Pollution
- The NELPAG, acting as the northeastern chapter of the
International Dark-Sky Association, hosted the first-ever
national fall meeting of the IDA outside of Tucson, on
2002 October 25 and 26 (Friday and Saturday) in Cambridge/Boston,
MA. This meeting was originally scheduled for Fall 2000 and
was moved to 2002 to allow more lead-time for establishing
a good slate of speakers and exhibits. More information is
- A group of amateur astronomers in New Hampshire has organized a
separate NH group to introduce
bill, a version of which is given here, on
outdoor night lighting to the NH state legislature.
- The NELPAG continues to work on the pending
bill in the Massachusetts state legislature which has
had numerous very favorable public committee hearings, but it has
not yet been voted on by the full legislature as of early 2007,
despite being submitted nearly annually by Rep. Marzilli of Arlington
for nearly 15 years now.
- We were alerted in early September 1998 to stories in the Providence
Journal and Boston Globe that the mayor of Providence (RI) has
put forth a plan to make Providence the American equivalent of Paris (France)
as the "city of lights", by encouraging everybody to put up as many outdoor
lights as possible and to light up as many buildings, bridges, and other
edifices as possible! The Providence Journal proposed that a letter
contributed by Dan Green on behalf of NELPAG (and sent also to the Providence
mayor) be published as an op-ed piece, and we provide the article in its
contributed form here.
We encourage all to write to or call the mayor and City
Council of Providence, asking them to re-consider this dreadful idea and
opt instead for a good, aesthetically-pleasing full-cutoff-policy ordinance.
- National and international news on light-pollution issues is available
at the IDA Website.
- Sky and Telescope magazine is now offering a license-plate frame
for your car or truck that says "Stars Up, Lights Down" for
of which $3 is donated to the IDA. You can contact Sky by
telephone at 800-253-0245 (postal address P.O. Box 9111; Belmont, MA
- The news media has picked up on the Znamiya project by a Russian company
(with U.S. offices in Alexandria, VA) known as
SRC-Space Regatta Consortium
RSC Energia, which planned to unfurl a large solar reflector/mirror
of diameter 25 meters on of a Mir-space-station supply craft, to cast
sunlight down onto the earth's surface (diameter of light cone at surface
estimated as 5-7 km) at latitudes near +50 deg for 24-48 hr. The
Znamya 2.5 project was intended to cast light as strong as 5-10 times that
of the full moon (thus, perhaps near visual magnitude -15 or -16), if it
had worked (it failed in early Feb. 1999). A smaller 1993 attempt didn't work
very well either, but the SRC
company has hopes of eventually deploying many 70- to 200-m-sized solar
reflectors, casting light down onto the earth constantly. This could spell
disaster for astronomy (and possibly also the environment) in the 21st
century if the idea catches on by other short-sighted money-hungry companies,
and it shows that the international community (including the U.S. and the U.N.)
has permitted space to be exploited by any company that has the money to
spend; regulation against companies must be established to prevent the night
sky from being lit up worldwide by light and advertising signs (and -- much
more seriously! -- to ward against terrorist groups getting the means of
putting satellites in orbit that can wreak fear and havoc on society).
The American Astronomical Society has written a formal letter to the
SRC in Alexandria, protesting their actions on behalf of astronomers.
The Royal Astronomical Society (London) has also formally protested to
the SRC (JRAS 39, 4.4).
Private citizens can also write (via e-mail or postal mail) to the company,
and also to their legislators to ask that formal government protests be
lodged, as well. A 60-m (or larger) SRC solar mirror is expected to be
launched in 2000 in a program connected with NASA's International Space
Station, so there is plenty of grounds for protest to the American
government (Congress, the President, and NASA).
- These satellites are really getting out of hand, as far as observational
astronomers are concerned. If many more satellites are put up like the
even more astronomical observations (even casual ones) are going to be
adversely affected. Please contact your elected officials of state/provincial
and national governments (and also space-agency officials and officials
of companies that build these satellites) to express your concern that
satellites need some
sort of regulation to prevent adverse astronomical affects, or we may loose
our night sky altogether in the 21st century!
Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG)