Monday, November 5, 2018

Light Pollution

Follow the Good Times article: Front Lines of the Dark Skies Movement at Pigeon Point is about my recent efforts with the Santa Cruz Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association to reduce light pollution in the area. I have become increasingly interested in astronomy through the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club and I have done what I can to mitigate the light pollution from the hostel that I manage at Hostelling International USA at Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Currently all the outdoor lights are fully shielded so the light points down in less than 70 degrees. This prevents glare disability and still illuminates what needs to be seen such as the sidewalk, road or entrance. The curtains are mostly red, so any light that does shine through is warmed red that greatly reduces loss of night vision but does not completely block out all the light in the morning so guests can tell that the Sun is shining. Many of the outdoor lights are a warm yellow/orange that greatly reduces the attraction of insects but also limits the blue-rich white lights that effects melatonin production, a major hormone that helps regulate sleep and the circadian rhythm in all life forms. I have also used red lights that are closer to the ocean so as not to disturb marine life.
A major study of light pollution was released recently that has results showing that "Due to light pollution, the Milky Way is not visible to more than one-third of humanity, including nearly 80% of North Americans"
If you are wondering what you can do to help, please visit the very helpful website at the International Dark-sky Association to see how you can easily change your lights and what you can do to educate your neighbors.