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Presidents Message: Light Pollution

Dear friends of Mount Burnett,
 
I would like to talk a little this week about dark skies. 2015 is the International Year of Light and some of the themed activities later in the year will centre on the importance of keeping our night skies dark. Not only do we get better views of the stars but there is evidence to suggest it is good for our health. Our very own Perry Vlahos is representing us on a dark skies association formed this year by members of astronomy associations across the state.  If you have questions on the topic please email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find him after his “Sky for the Month” talk.
 
Some of my family require total dark before they can get to sleep and so having a street light shining in the bedroom window can be more than an annoyance. This promoted me a few years ago to take action. I thought I would jot it down in case some of you were wondering what is possible.
 
The street lights in my area are run by the local council. I rang them up and was informed that for a small fee ($100 per street light at the time) I could have them modified to reduce stray light. Sometimes these modifications take the form of baffles or hoods. In my case the light fittings were sprayed with black paint. This worked a treat. My family could sleep, and I could sit on the back deck with my telescope and enjoy the stars. That is until a few months ago when all the lights in my neighbourhood were replaced with very bright new LED lights… without baffles. So once more I phoned council who have agreed to fit new baffles. It has required gentle persistence as the contractor involved doesn’t appear to be as enlightened or should I say endarkened as the council paying their bills. But I am confident it will get sorted.
 
My message to you is this. If you have an issue with stray lights from public lighting, phone the council first. If you have no success or simply want to share your own story then drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can try and put you in touch with the right people and would also like to gather a few interested individuals so we can be more proactive in this area.
 
thats all for now
 
yours in the absence of stray light
 
James