Broadcast 1684 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Chris Luginbuhl. Topics: Dark Skies, light and air pollution, lighting, clear night skies. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Chris Luginbuhl back to the show for important updates in progress with combating light pollution and establishing Dark Skies programs in areas where one cannot see a real night sky. Our guest started our discussion by mentioning technology improvements in hardware but improvements on policy and adoption of Dark Skies programs has been less than desired. We talked about the issues involved in Dark Skies policies including building codes, economic arguments, vision issues, brighter lighting or less lighting, lighting as a marketing tool, and more. As you will hear, solid research is needed in many of these areas to be able to wisely craft policy and make effective hardware. We also talked about glare issues and shielding light so that it is directed downward. Listeners asked questions about lighting and building codes but here good, independent research is badly needed. Chris mentioned several organizations and websites for additional information. Checkout the Flagstaff Dark Sky Coalition at Also check out the International Dark-Sky Organization in Tucson at Terry called in to talk about the night sky picture of Earth taken from the ISS as it orbits, including the area of N. Korea which essentially has little or no night lighting. As this segment was drawing to a close, we talked about Flagstaff as a model city for Dark Skies policies and programs. Southern California light and air pollution came up in the context of limiting the capabilities of the two famous observatories, Mt. Wilson and Mt. Palomar. As we started our second segment, we talked about the various observatories in Flagstaff and asked questions about why there was a Naval Observatory Station in Flagstaff. A listener asked Chris for his opinion on funding and completing the James Webb Space Telescope and this led us to a brief discussion about the need to continue to invest in space, science and STEM education. As Chris said, such investments strongly influence our spirit and desire to look outward. While discussing the Flagstaff Naval Observatory Station, we talked about GPS and timing issues. As the program was nearing its end, I asked our guest to look forward five years and tell us what he would like to see accomplished during that time period. Chris repeated what he said earlier in that we needed real, quantifiable data and answers addressing issues of how much light is needed, does it really help deter or prevent crime, what is the effect of light on seniors or young people, does it help businesses, what levels are acceptable and what levels of lighting are not acceptable. He said issues of glare also needed to be studied and that this research should be the focus for the next five year. We took two more listener questions, one from a Toronto listener about Dark Skies programs in Canada. The other comment/question was from a New York City resident regarding the light pollution issues in the Big Apple. Here, Chris and I both came up with some ideas to raise the awareness of the issues in the City. Chris also said that even a 25% improvement would make a huge difference. This is an important discussion applicable to all of us regardless of where we live so don't miss it. Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above. You can contact Chris through the Flagstaff website.



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06 Jan 2012 Chris Luginbuhl
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