28 August 2015 at 9:07 pm #573465
Just got home from work tonight to find our local council has replaced all the horrible yellow sodium lights in our street for downlighter LED type lights which seem much better and I would assume more efficient so full marks to York council !!!!
Steve28 August 2015 at 9:53 pm #577000Jeremy ShearsParticipant
This is excellent news, Steve. Do keep us posted about your experiences with the new lights, and how they affect your views of the night sky, now that the nights are drawing in.
Jeremy30 August 2015 at 1:07 pm #577004Gary PoynerParticipant
We’ve had them around my area for several years now, with my own road being one of the remaining few to still have sodium. I have to say that (to my eyes) my sky brightness has increased slightly since the LED lights were fitted, not decreased.
It’s Birmingham City Councils hope to convert around 750,000 streetlights to LED in the coming years. At one time I thought this would be a good thing, but now I’m not so sure. I live in hope that our Council is so strapped for cash (and it really is) that they will eventually turn them all off at midnight. However the voices of the “we’ll all be murdered in our beds” brigade have already starting shouting from their padded cells, so who knows what will happen!
Didn’t mean to sound so grumpy. Hope your sky is the better for it Steve!
Gary1 September 2015 at 10:52 am #577009Peter CarsonParticipant
My Local Authority is part way through the change over from a mixture of high and low pressure sodium to LED street lighting. I’ve been measuring the sky brightness using a Sky Quality meter, as I’ve done for the past two to three years. In the next 12 to 18 months I will have the facts as to whether LED streelights make my sky brigher or darker. The LED street lights are much better targeted than the lamps they replace, but they illuminate the highway to a level about 2-3 times brighter than the old lights. My local authority is installing a central management system where they can control each lamp individually including dimming each or any light by up to 50%.
I introduced myself to the local authority and am providing them with my light pollution data. They have been very positive and have taken on board many of my suggestions such as adjusting the light fittings so they do not spill light into the sky. They are currently formulating a part night dimming policy and have invited my input.
If your local authority is planning a central management system for the street lights then you should be talking to them so as to influence the lighting control policy …its your chance to control your local night sky.
Peter1 September 2015 at 5:17 pm #577013
This is one of the new lights, I assume its one of the dark sky friendly type?. Its certainly helped at my location!
Steve2 September 2015 at 11:26 am #577020Gary PoynerParticipant
Hmmm. Looks a better design than the ones in my area…
Gary2 September 2015 at 12:54 pm #577021Mark JonesParticipant
We had LED lights fitted around our neighbourhood a few years ago. I think the sky is not quite as bright, but if you happen to catch sight of one they can be quite dazzling. They’ve offered to fit a directional baffle for me if I feel any particular light is a problem. I’ve not yet taken them up on that (and goodness knows how long it would take before it was fitted!) but it is useful to know.2 September 2015 at 3:07 pm #577022Peta BosleyParticipant
The new lights turned our patio from a dark area into one where shadows are cast !! New lights are downlighters but the post is much taller so it now casts its light over the dividing hedges 🙁
There is an offer of baffles but when I requested them, they fitted them behind the light, darkening a neighbour’s garden and when I requested a side baffle I got the reply “Sorry , missus, not under the contract!”
Saying that, the local village light pollution is less at the group observatory……..3 September 2015 at 7:31 am #577024Nick JamesParticipant
It will be interesting to see how Peter’s data turns out and whether LED streetlights are generally a good or a bad thing. The fact that road lighting levels with LEDs are so much higher, even in residential streets, seems highly unnecessary to me and I don’t know if there is much we can do about it. There is also a problem for imagers in that the LED light is broadband and much more difficult to filter than sodium.
In Chelmsford many residential streetlights are turned off after 1am (it was midnight but the local, environmentally friendly, LibDems kicked up such a fuss that the Council changed the time). Despite the local paper predicting mass murder as a result (“Chelmsford returns to the dark ages…”) recent crime stats have shown a reduction. It certainly makes a big difference to my skies.
Nick.3 September 2015 at 9:59 pm #577025
So you`ve managed to go one better then Nick and get them to actually turn the things off albeit at 1am ;-).
Yes it will be interesting to see how Peter and his council get on!.
Steve4 September 2015 at 11:07 pm #577027Roy BicknellParticipant
Since my area has had these new lights installed I have noticed that there has been a proliferation of lights being fitted by front doors and extra security lights in back gardens, some houses look like floodlit football pitches. All in all, no darker.
Roy.12 November 2015 at 3:10 pm #577149David PerkinParticipant
New LED lights were installed a few months ago here, replacing an eclectic mixture of sodium and incandescents of various ages.
I can’t make an informed judgement of the effect since there have been so few clear, dark nights this summer and autumn. However, my current impression is that a certain reddish tint to the night sky has gone but overall, the effect may be negative since the Milky Way has not been the impressive sight it was sometimes last year.
The downside for me personally is that the new light fittings have four “bulbs” and are wider than the old ones, leading the new light near our house to shine further into the back garden than its predecessor – it shines directly towards my observatory, carefully sited in the (previous) darkest part of the garden. SO I am very interested in what markjones and petabosley said about baffles. Any advice in how to request them from the Local Authority and on whether there is any prescriptive right to have them installed would be gratefully received.
David Perkin17 November 2015 at 1:57 pm #577150
This recent study may be of interest:18 November 2015 at 2:13 pm #577151Mick CrookParticipant
These new lights seem to be appearing gradually in Preston – two have appeared in my road over the last couple of months. They seem well sheilded, but much brighter. As they are “white” in colour, what are the options for effectively filtering them out?
Mick18 November 2015 at 7:12 pm #577152Nick JamesParticipant
That’s a very interesting study.18 November 2015 at 10:16 pm #577153
The trend seems to be towards the use of white LED lamps. Filters such as UHC filters will block much, but not all, of the light emitted from these lamps. This is because white LEDs have a continuous spectrum across the visible range.7 February 2016 at 3:01 pm #577245
A programme is underway to replace all of the streetlights in Gloucestersire with LED lamps. I understand that dimming will occur between 10pm and 5am for some, whilst others will be switched off after midnight. Gloucester is among the first locations to undergo the switch, and the county council intend to assess any change in skyglow photographically.
My own location seems to be as much affected by the illumination of businesses and sports facilities as by streetlights. Nevertheless the Gloucestershire programme is a significant development.9 February 2016 at 7:44 pm #577252
Well I have to say since my initial optimism with these new lights installed I`ve hardly done any observing!!!.
NOT… I hasten to add the fault of the lights but we in York must now be making up for darker skies by having more and more damn clouds. September was the last time I managed a stint at the scope and I`m seriously looking at other hobbies, just bought meself a microscope!!. Sorry for being a grump but just seen the forecast for this week ;-((
Clear skies (pah!!)
Steve4 March 2016 at 4:38 pm #577265Dr Grant MackintoshParticipant
Good news to hear about councils actually doing something about the dreaded light pollution. Here in Cornwall when I am not at my observatory I have my portable scope and mount at home. After talking with my neighbours, the council switch off the street light right outside my house. The difference on my SQM reading is 13.86 with street light on, to 18 with it switched off. A sustantial difference……25 May 2016 at 11:51 am #577395PhysoptoParticipant
The new LED type lights are better in only one sense. That is that they are more directional, but and it is a big BUT. They are not properly designed so as to be directionally correct. By this I mean they can be seen from several posts away. You should not be able to actually see any light from the head unit more than 1 post away. The only light you should see if properly designed and implemented is reflected light from the post or the lit areas, not the actual lights in the headf unit. The other problem as many are now finding out is that these new LED lights are full spectrum. If they had been designed to simulate Sodium and or Mercury we could filter out any pollution from backscatter. With ful spectrum this is now impossible. Any direct or indirect scatter into the atmsophere will be impossible to filter out. Hence if in a badly affected area imaging and observational astronomy will become impossible. It is about time lighting was properly designed so as not to affect the night sky. There is a petition on a government web site here please have a look at it.
There has to date been no email trouble from anyone signing it. Please read the rules on the site it is safe. Only one reply email from the site will be sent and that is to make sure you only vote once and are a real person.
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