Audrey Fischer is on a mission. This tireless promoter of dark skies has an important milestone coming in her fight to reduce light pollution in Chicago, Illinois — and you can help in a big way. Audrey is a friend of the magazine, one of the organizers of the 2012 Astronomical League meeting upcoming in Chicago (ALCon 2012; see http://alcon2012.astroleague.org/), and a friend of every amateur astronomer. With her program “One Star at a Time,” she is making thousands of people aware of light pollution and the need for a dark night sky. Now a critical moment in the fight for responsible lighting in Chicago is fast approaching.
Thanks for supporting the future of astronomy!
Even NASA, that's right, NASA, pollutes the sky, wastes fuel, and generates unnecessary air pollution. I live in Slidell, Louisiana. Right across the border, in Southern Mississippi, is the NASA Stennis Space Center. It has 3 test stands, built in the 1960's for testing the Saturn Moon rocket engines. Next, they tested the Space Shuttle engines. Now they are getting ready to test the engines for the proposed Space Launch System by building, yet another, massive test stand. You can see it all on the NASA web site under Stennis or on Google Earth. The place is enormous. Funding is limited, so they aren't exactly in a hurry working around the clock, to beat China to the Moon. Despite this, they insist on keeping the test stands lit up like Christmas trees most of the time. Maybe they think Osama will come back to life and lead an attack on these vital National assets. They must, because the place is packed with military people, including Navy SEALS, who train in the swamps surrounding much of the facilities. (The many poisonous snakes which inhabit the swamp don't scare them.) Sounds like a soft target, right? Need to keep it lit up like daylight to ward off all the terrorists down here.
The place is surrounded by a huge, depopulated acoustic buffer zone. It would be very dark in there if they would cancel their perpetual celebration of Christmas. But it's not in their instructions from God (NASA's Washington HQ), so the waste goes on.
I wish the Chicago lady the best. The population of this country is far from enlightened. Look at how straight that line is down the center of the country. It looks like North Korea. Well, a little.
Some scientists in Colorado discovered that light pollution prevents the darkness during the night from reducing air pollution generated during the day. I ran across the article on some web site of Colorado State, or Boulder University. I can't remember exactly where. I was searching for info about volcanoes and ran across it somehow. That is what can happen to you on the net.
Success! The very first Starlight Lighting Ordinance in Cook County passed unanimously on Feb 2! This is the first time the importance of Starlight has ever been included in an official Cook County ordinance. Cook County is the second most populous county in the US.
Thanks so very much for the wonderful support! The astronomical community made a phenomenal impression with the Commissioners. Letters, emails and phone calls came in statewide, nationally, and internationally. One commissioner remarked, that in all his years, he has never before heard such consistent, heartfelt testimony for a cause.
The commissioners thanked us for bringing this issue to their attention and were proud to sign on to this ordinance. They could not have been more gracious. This ordinance is issued specifically for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County of over 68,000 acres. On Feb 15, this board is expected to pass yet another starlight ordinance . This one designated for jurisdiction for Cook County, an area of 126 municipalities. So please, keep your emails coming!
Grassroots synergy and teamwork got this done. Don't wait. Invite your county to adopt their own Starlight ordinance. We will work together to bring starlight back for your county too! That is a promise worth keeping to ensure starlight for future generations. Cheers + stars!
The study you referred to is a great one!
"Dec 24, 2010 – Harald Stark NOAA · AGU Fall Meeting ... chemistry, specifically the photolysis, or light-assisted decomposition, of the nitrate radical NO3. "
Stark's research showed that light pollution destroys the nitrate radical NO3. This nitrate radical is nature's way to reduce chemical pollutants that accumulate during the day. However, it can only work efficiently in the dark!
The bottom line is the title of Stark's report: "City Light Pollution affects Air Pollution".