By Dave Fuller on 9/15/2014 7:34 PM
I've often commented on dark sky initiatives when they are highlighted in the media. One thing I've noticed is that some people who comment seem to be under the impression that people who advocate for dark skies are for complete, total, utter darkness.

Please allow me to disabuse you of that notion right here and now. 

When dark SKY advocates are asking people to aim LIGHTS downward, we are not saying, "turn off all lights and make everything pitch black." Now are there times when there is still overlighting? Yes. Are there many area where we could use less light than is being sent out from fixtures and bulbs? Yes also. 

Here's the thing: Dark SKY advocate means just that - don't light up the sky, it doesn't DO anything useful, either for function, form or safety. It's literally wasted light and energy....
By Dave Fuller on 8/22/2014 7:23 PM

Have you ever driven down the road at night, and had an oncoming driver be completely oblivious to the fact that they have their high bean headlights turned on? You flash at them, they ignore you... and so you squint, perhaps slow down, and look to the side of the road away from the lights, hoping you don't hit the approaching vehicle. 

And yet, in communities across the United States (and many across the world), we routinely put up with similar lighting situations. Lamp posts with lights that go every-which-way, porch lights that blast light everywhere including out into the street, and perhaps worst of all, floodlights that are mis-aimed and can actually blind drivers who are subjected to them.

90 watt unshielded floodlights

By Dave Fuller on 1/29/2014 12:13 PM

Eyes on the Sky as a website exists entirely as a means to raise awareness about light pollution and work towards reducing it. I started writing articles for my local newspaper to educate about the night sky and include a paragraph or two about light pollution, and then in 2011, moved to a worldwide audience with YouTube videos that are views in literally dozens of countries around the world. Marking 500,000 views in late October of 2013, I have been pleasantly surprised to have exceeded 600,000 views already in early 2014.

While this is personally satisfying on some level to have that kind of viewership, I often wonder about the real-world effects. Am I really making a difference? The Light Pollution forum at Cloudy Nights is a good resource, but not heavily trafficked compared to, say, arguments over the best eyepieces or whether reflectors are better than refrators. Sadly, many amateurs assume that the International Dark Sky Association will do this for them; they pay their annual dues, and hope for the best. What they don't realize is the IDA has a staff of just SIX PEOPLE. Six people aren't going to get light pollution changed in every locality. We ALL need to get involved. And you don't even need to spend time to do it on clear nights - just do it when it's cloudy or raining.

So I am issuing a challenge to amateur astronomers...

By Dave Fuller on 10/24/2013 2:10 PM
First, it's a bad idea to tell me, "That won't happen"

There is nothing like someone telling me, "You'll never get that done." About 10 years ago I was told something similar with respect to getting some stop signs put on my street. You see, I live on what amounts to a dead-end street. Well, not exactly, but there is a business at the end of it, so it is not a through street. At the time, the business that was there had two shifts. The second shift started at 6:00, and their lunch was around 10:00 at night.  Every night just before 6:00, then a few minutes after 10 and a few minutes before 10:30 (on their way too, and back from, their lunch break), a dozen or so cars and trucks would accelerate ALL the way up (or down) our street as the left for lunch break, then returned.

Our speed limit was, at the time, 30 mph (currently 25). I would easily guess that, while accelerating, these vehicles were going 40 to 45 mph as they passed our house. Mind you, our street is only 4 (short!) blocks long! They were certainly going 50 mph before they'd slam on the brakes at the stop sign at the corner.


The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.