Jeremy Harris

14th International Dark Sky Reserve

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It's all very well having these dark sky areas for you stargazers, but you should be grateful for all the light pollution from towns and cities - how else would those stars be illuminated for you to see them? 😉

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14 minutes ago, NSS said:

It's all very well having these dark sky areas for you stargazers, but you should be grateful for all the light pollution from towns and cities - how else would those stars be illuminated for you to see them? 😉

That's on a par with when I was a small boy, I asked my dad who's job it was to go round and change the batteries in the cat's eyes along the roads.

 

I don't recall if he tried to explain Retro Reflectors to me or not.

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Earlier this year we spent a week on Sark, an island that also has Dark Skies status.  We had several clear nights, and the view of the sky there was just incredible.  We both spent about an hour sitting outside, after dinner one evening, just looking at the stars, plus the occasional satellite passing over.  I have to say that the sky there seemed darker than here, but that may have something to do with the variation in cloud cover and the much broader horizon on Sark.

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1 hour ago, JSHarris said:

 

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.

That's very interesting about the bats....clever buggers.  Not sure my wife would be happy about bats - the bat cave at Safari Parks is the one thing she hates (so the one thing I drag her through😁)!

 

I need to look into some temporary lights whilst we build - it's pitch black and there are badgers knocking about the garden too!!

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It must be a cloud thing then. I've been out bush in oz and always been able to adjust but can't remember a cloudy rainy night. I can remember seeing the fog on a local golf course here and literally thinking you could get lost and freeze to death in such a relatively small area

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2 hours ago, JSHarris said:

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

I found that the bats down at Mousehole were attracted to the sound my camera flash made when it was charging up.  They would fly towards me, was great as I could easily take pictures of them.

 

I used to go to Normady, a small village a few miles from Bayeux.  At 9 PM, someone used to flick a switch and the whole place when dark, so dark that if it was cloudy you could not see a thing.

Now I only have to go to a few miles to see the stars that are billions of light years away.

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18 hours ago, JSHarris said:

Had an interesting stumble home, in total darkness, trying hard not to fall into the stream that runs alongside the lane.

 

Mobile phone? IIRC, you don't have a smart phone so probably not one with the bright LED on the back but even so the screen of a feature phone can give useful amounts of illumination if you're even a bit dark adapted.

 

15 hours ago, JSHarris said:

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.

 

Excellent. This is a good read on the subject: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/lighting/lighting-for-citizens/lighting-basics/

 

Something that's not widely understood is that it's light going out sideways which causes the most light pollution. Light going vertically upwards is proportionally less harmful (though less than ideal, of course). The key phrase is “full cutoff” of “fully shielded” - the lights only illuminate a puddle below them and don't leak extra light out sideways.

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The lights I have are mainly cast aluminium ones with COB LEDs and a glass front, with the exception of an LED strip that is fitted into a downward facing channel in the stacking cill above the front door.  They don't seem to have too much sideways spread:

 

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58 minutes ago, Ed Davies said:

Mobile phone?

A .jpg of nothing but white then.

I was going to try this but my new phone has an led torch, just like my old Sagem phone from '98.

The hands free volume and clarity was better back then.

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