New England lightin 1/ 3 
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 New England lightin 1/ 3

  John Pazmino - Amateur Astronomers Association - New York
    Patricia Jackson and I attended the annual meeting of NELPAG, New
England Light Pollution Advisory Group, on 1998 June 5 Saturday in New
Haven CT. It convened in the geology hall of Yale University, next to
the Peabody Museum from 10:30 EDST thru about 15:45.
    Patricia was, before joining the Association in 1998 May,
concerned about brightskies and already corresponded with NELPAG. Thru
her I got the interest up to come with her. After the meeting she
supplied comments and corrections for this article.
    From emails with NELPAG's chair Robert Crelin I brought the set of
light pollution boards the Association displayed at the Northeast    
Astronomy Forum and the Annual Business Meeting, both in May. Being
this was my own first time to NELPAG I figured on setting up the
posters and let the auditorium view them during breaks and lunch. Then
I would take in the procedings as a spectator.
    But Crelin, knowing generally of the massive success in erasing
excess illumination from the air over the City asked if I could
elaborate on the posters with a slidetalk! The posters cover a wide
variety of strategies in New York; I focused one one aspect, the
replacement of the streetlights in Herald Square.
    So I threw together a tray of slides, packed some Association
litterature, and met Ms Jackson at Grand Central Terminal. At the
sunrise hour of 06:48, our train nudged out of the station and soon
was clipping along into New England. We can't say much about the ride
because we, still groggy, napped all the way to New Haven. Lucky for
us that station is the end of the line. The conductor bellowed out
that the train is laying up in the yards. So we better get off.
    We took breakfast at a coffee counter in the station while waiting
for Crelin to pick us up by car. The station was totally refurbished
about five years ago as part of Amtrak's modernization scheme in the
Northeast Corridor. Part of the works was a restored existing station
while others were futuristic. Crelin arrived quite at 09:20 and we
rode twoish kilometers to the meeting.
    A few other delegates were there with others continually arriving.
By 10:00 essentially all expected participants were present, 16 in
all. The major contingent missing the meeting was Dr Daniel Green and
several others from Cambridge MA. Crelin explained that Green was ill
currently and he may have held off from coming. The meeting opened at
10:30 without these folk.
    Although the convention was specifically for New England, Jackson
and I were handsomely welcomed from the Association and two others
represented the Westchester (NY) Amateur Astronomers.
    The remaining attendees came from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and
Rhode Island. None showed up from New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine.
    The meeting room was in two parts. The larger front section was
fitted with a parallel row of conference tables and chairs, a slide
projector, and a viewgraph projector. The rear section had tables for
exhibits and litterature. Here I set up the posters, a set of four
leaned against the wall; I didn't need any of the masking tape I
brought with me. The other exhibits were props for lighting fixtures,
a poster of the night view of the US from a satellite, and catalogs of
lighting devices from various companies.
    There were three main presentations, each with lively discussion.
Bob Crelin's talk, with slides and viewgraphs covered examples of
atrocious lighting in southern Connecticut. He lives in Branford and
works with the New Haven Astronomical Society. He illustrated the
usual abuses of lights such as misaimed floodlights, overly brilliant
streetlamps, and dazzling spotlights.
    The scenes could have been from just about any suburban or rural
district in the country. The other delegates supplied by comment
examples of similarly awful cases in their own districts.
    He explained the gradually notching up of general illumination as
stores vie against each other for attracting attention. In this game
each new store in a development puts up a brighter sign than those of
the existing stores. The result is a daytime glow over the cluster of
stores, dazzled eyes for motorists, and a jailyard mishmash of
shadows, hotspots, and beams.
    Bob Crelin demonstrated a really hideous practice. The local
utility, United Illuminating Company based in New Haven, offers a
floodlighting service. For a suitable fee it attaches on its own
pole a humongous floodlamp to aim at a customer's property. The
lamp has so wide a range cone that much of the luminous flux spills
over and around the property and illumes several blocks. Of particular
danger is the sudden blast of this light in the eyes of motorists
approaching the property. Nothing can be seen in the road during the
many seconds of dazzled vision.
    I, as a former utility engineer, find this truly {*filter*}. The
enlightened[!] electric power company today plain does not egg on its
customers to so recklessly waste energy. It seems that there are a few
companies still stuck in an era long ago thrown on the trash heap of
    My own talk, titled 'Miracle on 34th Street', was a beefed up
version of the one I presented to AAVSO in 1995. I photoessayed the
lamppoles in the Herald Square district during my lunchtime wanderings
being that my office is near the Square on 34th Street. I time stepped
from the marking out of the pavement for the new fixtures to the
coupling of the lamps to the electric mains.

 Continued in next message.

 t RoseReader 2.52 P005004

Wed, 17 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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