Jeremy Harris

14th International Dark Sky Reserve

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At long last, as of today, our area has now become the 14th in the world to obtain International Dark Sky Reserve status: http://www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk/news/141/39/Cranborne-Chase-AONB-becomes-an-International-Dark-Sky-Reserve/

 

It's involved a fair bit of work to remove unnecessary street lighting, persuade people to not leave outdoor lights on etc, and has meant everyone adopting a winter culture of always carrying a torch, but it does mean we get great views of the stars on a  clear night.

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Good news.    I love how dark our village is...only 1 streetlight in the whole village...it was the biggest surprise moving here from a city.

There has just been dpp granted for a new cafe in an old barn in our village and has to have 'storm doors' that close over the skylights, with the dark sky reserve in mind.

.........it also hasn't been permitted windows looking onto the aonb....uh???

 

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Yes moving here from Bristol Is great with lovely dark skies at night (apart from a neighbour who leaves an outside light and kitchen light on all night!)🤯

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It wouldn't take much up here to create one.

 

The difficulty would be the two nearby towns 3 and 7 miles away that are responsible for an orange glow in the sky to the south east of us.  Apart from that it is pretty dark here.  I am sure there must be huge swathes of the highlands away from the towns that would (or could easily be made to) qualify for dark skies status.

 

On a clear night it is amazing just how many stars you can clearly see here.

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17 minutes ago, joe90 said:

Yes moving here from Bristol Is great with lovely dark skies at night (apart from a neighbour who leaves an outside light and kitchen light on all night!)🤯

 

Shame there's no way of resolving that (cough🔫:ph34r:

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4 minutes ago, ProDave said:

On a clear night it is amazing just how many stars you can clearly see here.

It's one of the great things about living in the sticks.

 

What surprised me was how many people (adults) are actually scared of proper darkness. We've had visitors ask us how we cope at night when we switch off the outdoor lights to show them the stars. They really get worried when you take out a torch and spotlight the bats flying about. 

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The one thing I am looking forward to once our build is done. I remember lying on my back in the middle of the desert and staring at the wonder that is the galaxy we are part of

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1 hour ago, Ralph said:

It's one of the great things about living in the sticks.

 

What surprised me was how many people (adults) are actually scared of proper darkness. We've had visitors ask us how we cope at night when we switch off the outdoor lights to show them the stars. They really get worried when you take out a torch and spotlight the bats flying about. 

 

Proper darkness is more worrying in town where the muggers are.

 

Perhaps less likelihood of robbery on the outskirts of Much-Grinding-in-the-Marsh.

F

Edited by Ferdinand

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2 hours ago, Ralph said:

It's one of the great things about living in the sticks.

 

What surprised me was how many people (adults) are actually scared of proper darkness. We've had visitors ask us how we cope at night when we switch off the outdoor lights to show them the stars. They really get worried when you take out a torch and spotlight the bats flying about. 

 

 

The Parish Council regularly gets requests from people, usually those that have just moved here, to get street lights erected.  Hard to explain to them that we've spent years getting lights changed or removed...

 

We do have a reporting mechanism here to try to get people who leave outdoor lights on to change them so they are PIR activated, although we have one or two who stubbornly refuse, and one who leaves a light on 24/7 all year around.  Thankfully the majority have adapted to our "always carry a torch" culture, although it's easy to get caught out when the nights start drawing in.  I went to a PC meeting in September, and didn't think to take my torch.  Had an interesting stumble home, in total darkness, trying hard not to fall into the stream that runs alongside the lane.

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Just now, JSHarris said:

We do have a reporting mechanism here to try to get people who leave outdoor lights on to change them so they are PIR activated, although we have one or two who stubbornly refuse, and one who leaves a light of 24/7 all year around.  Thankfully the majority have adapted to our "always carry a torch" culture, although it's easy to get caught out when the nights start drawing in.  I went to a PC meeting in September, and didn't think to take my torch.  Had an interesting stumble home, in total darkness, trying hard not to fall into the stream that runs alongside the lane.

An excuse to buy new torches is another bonus.

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16 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

Proper darkness is more worrying in town where the muggers are.

 

Perhaps less likelihood of robbery on the outskirts of Much-Grinding-in-the-Marsh.

The seem to think axe murders are lurking in the bushes or something.

There was one break in the area years ago, neighbors came home on an afternoon to find a strange car in the driveway and their house being ransacked. Other than that the biggest danger is falling in field drain after a few too many.

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12 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

 

 

The Parish Council regularly gets requests from people, usually those that have just moved here, to get street lights erected.  Hard to explain to them that we've spent years getting lights changed or removed...

 

We do have a reporting mechanism here to try to get people who leave outdoor lights on to change them so they are PIR activated, although we have one or two who stubbornly refuse, and one who leaves a light on 24/7 all year around.  Thankfully the majority have adapted to our "always carry a torch" culture, although it's easy to get caught out when the nights start drawing in.  I went to a PC meeting in September, and didn't think to take my torch.  Had an interesting stumble home, in total darkness, trying hard not to fall into the stream that runs alongside the lane.

How can it be that dark? Is it if a cloudy night? I've been out in a dark sky before and your eyes always seem to adjust but maybe it was the moon lighting it up

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1 minute ago, Oz07 said:

How can it be that dark? Is it if a cloudy night? I've been out in a dark sky before and your eyes always seem to adjust but maybe it was the moon lighting it up

 

 

It really can be so dark on a cloudy night that you literally can't see your hand in front of your face sometimes.  Being down in the bottom of a valley, plus having high hedges alongside the lane, don't help much.  Twice I've been caught out without a torch when it's been really dark, and both times it was more a matter of navigating by feel than sight.  Maybe I need to eat more carrots...

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6 minutes ago, Oz07 said:

How can it be that dark?

 

Before we had the kids, we went away one weekend for a very basic camping weekend - not a proper campsite, but a field at Caldwell Park where you could race your road bike round the track.  First night there we couldn’t get over just how dark it was - you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. 

 

You beat me to it Jeremy 😂

Coming from London it was a revelation to me.

Edited by Sue B

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5 hours ago, JSHarris said:

persuade people

 

Like the neighbourhood watch did in Sanford? 😂

 

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Where we used to live we had a running battle between two neighbours, involving an outside light and an air rifle...

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The last 3 houses I have lived in have been locations without street lights.  I love it.  Nothing wrong with taking a torch when you go out.  Everyone in the village pub in winter brought a torch with them and they all put them in a row on the bar.  I think  most people even went home with the same torch they arrived with.

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9 minutes ago, ProDave said:

The last 3 houses I have lived in have been locations without street lights.  I love it.  Nothing wrong with taking a torch when you go out.  Everyone in the village pub in winter brought a torch with them and they all put them in a row on the bar.  I think  most people even went home with the same torch they arrived with.

 

 

We have much the same at PC meetings in winter.  All the torches end up in a row on the window cill.  The problem is that we sometimes seem to have one left over, and have to play guess the owner.  I think it's because people arrive individually, but often walk home in twos or threes.

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20 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

The problem is that we sometimes seem to have one left over, and have to play guess the owner.

 

?

 

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😂

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8 minutes ago, Onoff said:

 

?

 

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😂

 

 

Nice idea.  Last time the left over torch was pink, with flower decorations, and luckily we only have one councillor that any of us could imagine would own a pink torch...

 

My torches are easy to spot, they are all home made, machined from aluminium, like these:

 

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Just now, ProDave said:

^^ Inspired by Maglight?

 

Yes, but being a cheapskate I just bought some high power LEDs and lenses, plus drivers and a few 18650 cells and made my own.  They have standard power sockets recessed into the end to charge them up from a home made charger.  The aluminium was left over offcuts from machining up some aircraft wing strut attachments, 6082-T6, nice stuff to machine and reasonably tough.  These are around 5 or 6 years old now, and I recently had to replace the battery in the smaller one, as it had a lot of use during the house build.

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1 hour ago, Sue B said:

 

Before we had the kids, we went away one weekend for a very basic camping weekend - not a proper campsite, but a field at Caldwell Park where you could race your road bike round the track.  First night there we couldn’t get over just how dark it was - you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. 

 

You beat me to it Jeremy 😂

Coming from London it was a revelation to me.

My build is 5 miles from Caldwell.  When's it dark, it is very dark.  Takes some getting used to - the boss told me she needs a light outside as can't see a damn thing sometimes.

 

It's mega on clear nights though.

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44 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

luckily we only have one councillor that any of us could imagine would own a pink torch...

 

And it was his was it?

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1 minute ago, LA3222 said:

My build is 5 miles from Caldwell.  When's it dark, it is very dark.  Takes some getting used to - the boss told me she needs a light outside as can't see a damn thing sometimes.

 

It's mega on clear nights though.

 

I have a lot of outside lights, but all are downward facing LED floodlights, rated at 10 W each, and all are PIR activated, so they only stay on for around 30 seconds.  I also opted to use warm white LEDs, as they seem to be a bit kinder on the eyes than the cold white ones.

 

What we did notice this summer, was that the local bats had learned how to fly around the garden, in a racetrack pattern, triggering the lights on the shed and the garage,  It seems they managed to work out that by keeping these lights on they attracted more insects, so their feeding flight pattern was more effective.  Really interesting to sit outside, listening to the bats on a bat detector, as they whizzed around above our heads.  It was easy to hear when they found prey, as the pulse repetition rate of their calls rapidly increased, as they homed in for the kill.  Most kills were around the lights.

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