6th European symposium for protection of the night sky

14 years 1 week ago #32969 by albertw
Hi,

I'm just back from the CfDS conference in Portsmouth! I would do a writeup but my notes are in my bag, and Ryanair think its in gatwick "GHA left on ramp thought they were not Ryanair"(!). Last time I'll try and save myself some money by flying ryanair. Mind you the train station in portsmouth is out of order also so the train timetable was of no use either. And the hotel wasn't really worth £65 a night either! But enough of my cheap travel advice!

Myself and Prof. Mark Bailey were there from Ireland; we were each surprised to see the other as we didn't know the other was going. It was a fortunate meeting and let us get some concrete ideas together about advancing the issue in Ireland while we had perople like Bob Mizon and Bob Gent to chat to. More on those ideas in the near future.

The conference itself was well attended with over 100 delegates ranging from amateur and professional astronomers as well as environmantal, political and lighting professionals.

I found it a very useful event. Being able to talk to a couple UK MP's as well as professional lighting designers and engineers was very informative.

A full write up when I get my luggage back!

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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14 years 1 week ago #32975 by Seanie_Morris
Nice one Al, look forward to your 'report'. It should start another healthy debate, and also give some more results and ideas for us over here to act upon - or suggest to our respective local councils.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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14 years 4 days ago #33147 by albertw
Heres a brief summary of the talks.

CfDS 2006 report


The 6th European Dark Sky Symposium was held in Portsmouth last weekend. The event was organised by the BAA's Campaign For Dark Skies which is affiliated to the International Dark Sky Association. Over 100 people attended the event ranging from amateur astronomers, lighting engineers, politicians and those with environmental interests.

After an introduction from Lembit Opik MP (Lib Dem) the First session on Friday morning was started by the energetic Dr. John Mason with a general introduction to the problem of light pollution. John sees the current high price of electricity providing an opportunity to make much progress with the issue of light pollution.

This was followed by Bob Mizon giving an update on the past three years of the campaign in the UK. A highlight of which was the recognition of Light Pollution as a statutory nuisance in the UK.

The third speaker was Michael Simpson from Philips. This was a very interesting talk explaining the current state of technology. The conclusion that I took from his talk was that LED's are the future of lighting. They are more efficient and so use less energy than conventional lights; plus it is possible to design the optics so that the light falls exactly where it is intended.

Dr. Chris Baddiley is the scientific advisor to the CfDS and he presented a talk on how luminare design effects skyglow. Low Pressure Sodium (SOX) lights emit 15 times as much light into the sky as a good high pressure sodium (SON) cut off design. There is a 15% difference between a good cut off design and a full cut off design.

An interesting piece on crime was presented by Tom Webster. His talk was based on 12 years of experience working with police around the UK. He dismisses as illogical questions such as 'is lighting a crime deterrent?' and shows that broader questions are needed. The type, amount, position, glare control, and brightness need to be taken into account and simply lighting an area to reduce crime is unlikely to work. The 'visual task' needs to be considered rather than just simply 'installing lights'. His talk also delved into the effects of light; namely that light is a deterrent if the criminal thinks that the area being lit will make it more likely for him to be caught. Therefore an area which cannot be easily seen into will not be improved by lighting; and he cited examples where he has worked with police to restructure estates so that they are more open and visible and this helped reduce crime.

Paul Wilson and Neil Johnson gave a talk on how they had recently installed lights into Kempton Park. This gave a practical insight into how lighting designers cope with strict limitations and still manage to light an area.

Alex Pollard presented some of her work on the Robin. This is the first study that I have seen where the behaviour of a wildlife is measured with respect to light pollution. From her work it is clear that the foraging and singing behaviour of the Robin is dramatically effected by lighting.

Delving into the legal aspects of the UK legislation Martin Taylor explained the UK law and its meaning for astronomers. He also explained some of the subtleties of the legislation, such as how to define a 'statutory nuisance.

The second day focussed more on the astronomical aspects of light pollution and what Dark Sky groups were doing.

Bob Gent presented a talk on the work of the IDA; he also made presentations of lighting awards and a special award to Bob Mizon for his work on light pollution. Friedel Pas, the new IDA European co-ordinator, gave a talk on the plans in Belgium to create a dark sky area. Dr Andreas Hamel presented the work he has been doing from satellite data to track light pollution. He is still working on his data which shows increases in light pollution across europe. Two areas in his map stood out. There appears to be a slight reduction in the southern UK; and in Ireland there is a dramatic increase with many new lights appearing in the country in a short period of time from the late ninteys to 2003. He is still working on this data and I will be following up with him on this worrying trend in Ireland.

Philip Perkins, who will be familiar to many astrophotographers gave a talk on how to take astronomical images. Wim Schmidt explained the methods he uses to determine the darkness of the sky at a particular location and applying this data to population density in smaller regions than the satellite lighting images can give.

The last two talks were from Dr. Paul Marchant and Robert Key MP. Paul spoke about lighting and crime and how some statistical claims that 'more lighting = less crime' were flawed. He maintains that better information is required before such claims can be made and that a simple lighting and crime correlation is too simplistic. Robert Key MP (Conservative) outlined the political progress made in recent years and the issues politicians still face. They key point being that all of us need to keep writing to government at local and national level and keep putting forward the rational arguments for better lighting.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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13 years 11 months ago #33289 by albertw

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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