AAS 197, January 2001
Session 54. Education and Public Outreach
Joint Display, Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[54.17] Bridges, Lights, and Hubris: Examples of Excessive Light Pollution

A.R. Upgren (Wesleyan and Yale Universities)

Recently many new lighting projects have been planned, frequently for the purpose of bringing attention to a tower or bridge, with the intent of promoting it as a tourist attraction. Examples of this form of light pollution are illustrated here. Many proceed with plans to mount new floodlights pointed upward with most of the light shining directly up into the sky. At least three of the more excessive among them have been tabled or aborted upon objections by members of the International Dark-Sky Association and other environmental groups. Opposition to the most ill-conceived of these plans centers on waste of money and energy, excessive fatalities among migratory birds, damage to the aesthetic beauty and study of the night sky, and (near seacoasts) damage to the nesting and hatching of sea turtles. Constructive opposition to lighting excess and glare may include the substitution of tracer lights, such as the ones that adorn the great suspension bridges of New York and San Francisco. Tracer lights using full-cutoff shielding outline a structure much as lights on a Christmas tree delineate its shape, but floodlights in the mix render a washed-out effect similar to a Christmas tree in broad daylight. The AAS Committee on Light Pollution, Radio Interference, and Space Debris encourages a greater role for the Society in coordinating opposition to such projects, which is too often local and inexperienced.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: 349 Science Center, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459

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