Friday, January 9, 2009

The Reality of Light Pollution revealed.

Here’s a quick blog, some of the detail may be lost to the fog of my mind but the conclusion is important. I’ll try to work on developing this over the next few days – before work catches up with me.

The great advantage of a few days (okay a couple of weeks ) off work – it is finally possible to catch up with unfinished projects and start a few more that can stay unfinished until – Easter I guess! It is also a chance to gather a few thoughts together. My compatriots in SOLIS (Sydney Outdoor Lighting Society) have been busy collecting and collating bits if information on the scourge of ‘Light Pollution’ . Still however, the idea that loose and extraneous photons could be a form of pollution is probably a long way off understood. When SOLIS was first formed in 1988 (that long ago) we took the fight upto City Hall (Sydney City Council). Often the response to SOLIS was one of ‘incredulity’, from the people who understood the issue especially the street lighting distributors - they tried to blind us with ‘engineering logic’ which doesn’t stack up to real science. When The City of Sydney was in full swing for 2000 Olympics many building projects had lighting components. By this time lighting was required to shown as a separate Development Application – SOLIS would like to think that this was our achievement.

It is an interesting parallel to identify extraneous lighting as pollution. Often these parallels are drawn to the CFC issues and the hole in the Ozone layer of the 70s & 80s, as well as current parallels to wastage of energy such as inefficient light bulbs. Everyone thinks the problem is about light that goes up into the atmosphere maybe even on a voyage into Outer Space. The problem is really about light coming back into us, the light is returning from out there! And that’s the rub – light travels in straight lines, when the noise level that is the random signal swamps the real object signal – the object is lost to our sight. Think about it.

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