Jeremy's almost but not quite entirely moribund blog

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

UPDATE: Light Pollution in Orem, Utah

I'm a resident of Orem interested in both astronomy and photography. Over Labor Day weekend, my family went on vacation to the rural town of Leamington (near Delta), and while I was there I spent several hours enjoying night sky sights I can't see from home thanks to the light pollution.

I didn't realize just how bad it is here in Orem until I came back from vacation and looked up at the Summer Triangle, vividly remembering the spectacular light the of countless stars in the Milky Way I had seen there days earlier--and seeing only a handful of washed-out stars in their place.

Here is a pair of photos of the constellation Orion, taken with the same camera and exposure settings, that show just how bright the night sky is here in Orem (bottom) as compared to Leamington (top):

Leamington vs. Orem light pollution comparison
Click the picture for a larger view.

I wish I had a picture from before Orem's streetlights went up to compare to this one. These streetlights waste a tremendous amount of energy lighting up the sky, and their glare blinds drivers and pedestrians as well, making them worse than useless. It's a shame that the Orem City Council acted with such reckless disregard for energy efficiency, utility, and the natural splendor of the night sky when they chose this design.

UPDATE: I did some Googling on this subject and found something that makes me even more angry: The City Council "outright disregarded" arguments about glare and light trespass from the street lights. Paul Witte writes in the utah-astronomy mailing list:

[T]he lighting is HORRIBLE! I have driven by these new lights at night and the glare in your eyes makes it difficult to see the road. I've also seen that some people who have the streetlights in their front yard have hung blankets in their windows. The sad thing is there were several people from UVAA (Rich Tenney & Mark Dakins among them) who took the time to attend the city council meetings and specifically warned them about this stuff. They outright disregarded everything they said. I'm just glad I don't live in Orem anymore or I'd be investing in some black paint and/or a shotgun.

It's one thing if the council members were just uninformed about the issues of light pollution (in which case they shouldn't have been making decisions about street lights in the first place, but since when are decisions made by those who are qualified to make them anyway?). But to find out that they were informed of the issues and they ignored them just makes my blood boil.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:28 PM  

  • Not to mention that it is predicted to increase in the future. :(

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home