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Light Pollution Thoughts

Started by Peter Glus, 05/19/2006 08:47AM
Posted 05/19/2006 08:47AM Opening Post
Been in the hobby for about a year, and have read much on light pollution -- I live in NYC so this is obviously an issue for me. Seems like limiting mag is about 3.5, since I can't see any of the chain on Ursa Minor. Have been, and will continue to be extreemely jealous of these guys whose limiting mag is in the high 5s and 6s.

Initially, I thought light pollution was an upper atmosphere effect (measured in miles). I partially deduced this by ballparking how far the light pollution affect travels out from a shoreline. However, I have read many accounts of amatuer astronomers "closing" their home domes due to the construction of a strip mall, etc. (measured in blocks) This implies a more localized effect, which seemed curious to me. In my own experience, moving to a local dark park 1/2 mile away doesn't affect limiting magnitude. It simply helps my eyes adjust more quickly to the dark and remain so.

Does anyone have information or personal exsperience with the more "local" effects of light pollution? Are there any more technical articles on this?
Posted 05/19/2006 11:40AM #1
Peter, thank you for bringing this topic up. I live near Sacramento, California, and the skies are rapidly going from bad to worse. When I was a kid, the skies here were fairly good -- the Little Dipper was easily recognizable. Today, I can barely make out the Big Dipper. What will my kids be able to see? Will the sun be the only star they see on a daily basis?

I would like to learn more about how we can turn the clock back and take back our skies for ourselves and our children's children.