Feb. 18, 2011

Members: Leigh, Mark, Wayne, Oleg, Janeen & Clive

Arrive: 7:30 pm

Temp: 1 C

Weather clear with full moon.

Leigh opened dome and uncovered equipment in dome in anticipation of observing with LX200. The computer in the dome failed to boot. Tried several attempts with no results. Oleg gave it a try as well. We concluded that it seemed to be a problem with the hard drive. Unplugged and removed PC to take home and do further tests. Re-covered the telescope and other equipment and shut down power to dome.

Janeen brought her new Williams Optics 110mm Megrez APO. Very nice! Wayne took some photos of the Moon with his DSLR through Janeen’s new scope.

Unfortunately, Oleg had some difficulties with batteries and was unable to get his mount to work that night. He then lent his assistance to everyone else.

Clive and Janeen departed at 10:15pm

Wayne and Oleg departed at 10:30 pm

Mark and Leigh worked with Mark’s Tak and were able to get his Robo-Focus working properly. YEH! Continued working with Mark’s equipment taking photos with Mark’s DSLR.

Departed: 2:10 am

Temp: -2C

Earth Hour 2011: It's time to go beyond the hour

At 8.30 PM on Saturday 26 March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour.

This year, when the lights go back on, we want you to think about what you can change in your daily life that will benefit the planet. To share your stories, thoughts and ideas with us and to get inspiration from what others are doing. So tell us what you’re going to do and we’ll tell the world.

Together our actions add up.

Visit Earth Hour Global Site at:

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

On Saturday 27 March, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.

Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time). This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together our actions add up.

A chance to address LPA issues with BC Hydro at an open house

Attention All LPAer’s! – Here’s our chance to shine, down, not up!

Source: flickr.com/photos/bluealpha/32059694
gastown clock at night

BC Hydro wants to hear from you about how we set the course for a Clean Energy Future. To add your voice, attend a public open house in a community near you. Registration is not required for these events.

Here is our chance to ask BC Hydro what they are doing about LPA issues on a province-wide scale.   Maybe even show them a photo or two!   Ask some questions.

This event will occur in Vancouver  on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the  Simon Fraser Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

Also at Abbotsford Wednesday,
March 16, 20116:00 – 9:00 p.m.Clearbrook Community Centre.

For full details, please visit: http://www.bchydro.com/planning_regulatory/irp/get_involved/spring2011.html

We could ask them:

– What is being done to establish & enforce lower & even lighting levels?

– When will non full cut-off lights be stopped being sold?

– When will new lights replace obsolete non full cut-off fixtures (street / road, parking, yard etc)?

– What is their stand on light trespass, skyglow, and glare reduction & elimination.

This is an opportunity for having our voice heard, power reduce waste (saving all citizens money also), and preserve the night sky.

This information was provided by:

Maurice Sluka

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Prince George Centre

Media Relations & Past President


Planetary Society (member)


International Dark Sky Association (member)


Correct Lighting – Up Close And Personal

correct lighting - up close and personal
correct lighting - up close and personal

Look closely at the way this light is designed.  Its a seal unit with no way for light to escape from the top.  In addition, its using low wattage flourescent light blub technology.

This light is a good trade-off between long life, aesthetics and practicality.  We can all learn a few things from the designer.


Correct Outdoor Lighting

Correct Outdoor Lighting

correct outdoor lighting
correct outdoor lighting

Kudos to the lighting designer for this building.

The lighting on the Davis County (Utah) Library is a model of correct outfoor lighting techniques. Nothing glares in your eyes, no light trespasses on to adjascent properites. It’s lit to appropriate levels. I tried to make sure that the image I saw on the camera LCD matched what I saw with my eyes. The only difference was that I could actually see the stars.

It’s not the number of photons, but where they are directed that makes effective lighting.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/makelessnoise/306868193/

Campus Lighting Illuminates Ground Not Skies

This is an example of the full-cutoff lighting used at Carleton University.

Campus Lighting Illuminates Ground Not Skies

campus lpa lighting
campus lpa lighting

This is an example of the full-cutoff lighting used at Carleton University. The RASC Light Pollution Abatement Program (LPAP) has been working to reduce light pollution on campus.


What Is Skyglow?

skyglow as seen from earth
skyglow as seen from earth

One important issue with observing artificial night lighting from space that needs to be addressed is a phenomenon known as skyglow. Even in its pristine state the night sky is not completely dark. Some light comes from the stars, some from sunlight scattered by space dust in the plane of the solar system, and some from atmospheric gases subject to radiation and particle fluxes mostly from the sun (Clark 2008). This is called natural skyglow. Light emitted from human settlements in the atmosphere is refracted or scattered by air and water molecules and suspended particles (atmospheric aerosol) caused by dust, pollen, salt from sea spray, and waste products from industry (House of Commons 2003). Artificially illuminating the sky over great distances this is called artificial skyglow. In particular in the field of astronomy skyglow obscuring the night sky is an issue of utmost importance with extensive scientific research being conducted in recent years. Baddiley’s guide ‘Towards Understanding Skyglow’ (2007a) lists different sources contributing to skyglow in urban and rural areas. Furthermore a mathematical model of skyglow is presented considering different skyglow mechanisms (i.e. directly radiated light above the horizontal; reflected light from the road, ground and other surfaces; light scattered by air molecules; light scattered by aerosols) and different types of luminaires. According to Clark (2008) the total artificial light flux emitted by a city tends to be proportional to the product of two quantities, (1) the
number of light sources and (2) their mean output of light. Related to a growing economy and urban population growth typically both of these quantities increase over time. Considering artificial skyglow entails that the DMSP satellite sensors record much larger areas than just the immediate location of the lighting sources. Using satellite observed nighttime lights for delineating urban areas (Small et al. 2005) and approximating impervious surfaces (Elvidge et al. 2007) requires eliminating skyglow from the data, i.e. by applying thresholds to the digital number values. When dealing with ecological issues skyglow is a significant factor of light pollution as already very low light intensities alter the natural environment. Following recent approaches of modeling ecological impact of artificial night lighting (Aubrecht et al. 2008a) for the present analysis skyglow is thus not modeled out but rather considered as important contribution.

Artificial night lighting – light pollution

Artificial night lighting – light pollution

artificial night lighting
artificial night lighting

The footprint of human occupation is uniquely visible from space in the form of artificial night lighting – ranging from the burning of the rainforest to massive offshore fisheries to the omnipresent lights of cities and
towns and related connecting road networks (Aubrecht et al. 2008b, Doll 2008). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA-NGDC) processes and archives nighttime lights data acquired by the U.S. Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) which was initially designed to monitor the global distribution of clouds using visible and thermal infrared spectral bands. The DMSP satellites are in a sun-synchronous, low altitude polar orbit. With 14 orbits collected per day and a 3,000 km swath width, each OLS is capable of collecting a
complete set of images of the earth every 24 hours. At night the visible band signal is intensified with a photomultiplier tube (PMT) to enable the detection of moonlit clouds. The boost in gain enables the unique
capability of observing lights present at the earth’s surface at night. Most of the lights are from human settlements (Elvidge et al. 1997) and ephemeral fires (Elvidge et al. 2001a). Furthermore gas flares and
offshore platforms as well as heavily lit fishing boats can be identified.
NOAA-NGDC archives the long-term DMSP data from 1992 to present. For this project individual orbits were processed with automatic algorithms (described in Elvidge et al. 1997, 2001b) identifying image features (such as lights and clouds) and quality of the nighttime data. A cloud-free composite of nighttime lights was produced for 2003 using data from DMSP satellite F-15 (see figure 2). To identify the best nighttime lights data for creating an annual composite we adhered to the following standards:
• Only the center half of the orbital swath was used (best geolocation and sharpest features)
• Sunlight and moonlight were not present
• No solar glare contamination was allowed
• Only cloud-free images were used (based on thermal detection of clouds)
Nighttime image data from individual orbits meeting these criteria are the basis for a global latitude-longitude grid with 30 arc second resolution cells. This grid cell size corresponds to approximately 1
kilometer at the equator. In order to estimate the frequency with which lighting was present the total number of coverages and number of cloud-free coverages are tallied. The nighttime lights product used in the
presented analysis is the average digital number in the visible band of cloud-free light detections multiplied by the percent frequency of light detection. The inclusion of the percent frequency of detection term
normalizes the resulting digital values for variations in the persistence of flaring. For instance the value for a gas flare only detected half the time is discounted by 50 %. Background noise and land based fires were
filtered out.