IDA Israel - Light Pollution Middle East
Bareket observatory - Israel IDA section
Less than 100 years ago, everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky.
Now, millions of children across the globe will never experience the Milky Way where they live.
The increased and widespread use of artificial light at night is not only impairing our view of the universe, it is adversely affecting our environment, our safety, our energy consumption and our health.
Simply put, light pollution is wasted light. You can recognize light pollution by sky glow, the glow at night above the town and harsh light shining in our eyes.
Astronomers, in their search for an understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe, are always striving to study fainter objects in visible light. One important reason to make such observations is that many kinds of interesting objects are intrinsically faint.
But there is another, more substantive, reason astronomers are interested in faint objects. Because light has a finite speed, telescopes act as ``time machines.'' When we look at distant objects whose light has been traveling toward us for a very long time, we see them as they were at an earlier epoch. Astronomers are constantly struggling to probe deeper into space in order to observe the universe at times closer to its creation.
Image: light pollution
Distant objects appear faint from our perspective, and to probe the distant universe means observing faint objects at the limits of detect ability.
The words of renowned astronomer Edwin Hubble still hold true today: ``With increasing distance, our knowledge fades, and fades rapidly. Eventually we reach the dim boundary - the utmost limits of our telescopes. There, we measure shadows, and we search among ghostly errors of measurement for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial.'' The observation of faint objects requires large telescopes, and astronomers have constantly pushed technology in their quest for ever larger telescopes.
To view faint objects requires not only large telescopes but also dark skies. Regardless of the telescope's size or type of observation being made, very faint objects fade into the background brightness of the night sky.
Image: the Milkyway over Israel's skies
Many kinds of interesting objects are intrinsically faint. The light pollution coming from the near cities is washing out all the night sky in its bright yellowish light. At the folliowing image, one can notice the affect of light pollution on the astronomical imaging far celestial objects.
Image: light pollution affect on deep sky objects
Every single week, while you are sleeping, about 50,000 NIS worth of wasteful light sprays skyward. Millions of Watts wasted forever!
Not even a single Watt will protect you or your property, but will waste more and more fuel- making us more dependent on other countries.
Starlight is our natural heritage. It connects us, fuses us, to all our ancestors and their dark and crystal night sky.
We can't afford to lose one of our greatest treasures our ancestors bequeath to us : THE NIGHT'S SKY
What can we do?
We do not interested to turn the light of – but we can design, create and build smarter lightnings.
Smart lights: shine toward the targets by enhancing our safety and security, protecting people and properties, not up into the sky, cloaking the space in a dull, yellowish glow.
Nearly 95% of Israel citizens can not see the Milky Way due to light pollution.
We can't stop the progress – but we can teach everyone to use Smart light.
Imagine children growing up without being allowed to see trees or birds (or any other aspect of nature): now, how is this any different from preventing our children from seeing the stars?! But by our thoughtless erection of outdoor lights everywhere --- without consideration of glare and light trespass, without consideration of safety, without consideration of the right to privacy, and without consideration of the energy waste and the waste of taxpayer dollars --- we are making it so that a very small percentage of children are able to grow up in the world today with the ability to see and ponder the wonders of our beautiful starry night sky.
Images: astronomical objects (flame nabula,M64 galaxy) via the Bareket observatory's remote telescope
Dimming glare - while keeping the ground bright:
Some people worry that these proposed lighting restrictions might compromise night- time safety. However, what is not commonly known is that the very changes that darken the sky also increase the quality of ground lighting. For example, streetlamps that use mirrors or lenses to direct the light downwards eliminate the glare caused by horizontal and vertical emission. Glare is bad because it reduces night vision, by making shadows darker than they otherwise would be.
Compare how much you are able to see in your room directly after you turn off the lights at night, to how much you can see half a minute later, once your eyes have adjusted. Proper fixtures that direct the light downwards can illuminate dark corners without compromising pedestrians' night vision, allowing them to see better overall.
Combatting Light Pollution
In the astronomer's ideal world, all exterior lighting would use low-pressure sodium bulbs. These are the best choice to minimize adverse effects on astronomical observing, because low-pressure sodium has thinner spectral lines and as such is much easier to extract from an image. They are also the most energy efficient, and are inexpensive compared to the metal halide bulbs currently used for most streetlamps. Also, instead of shining a bright white light, they are a golden yellow—easy on the eyes, minimizing glare.
These bulbs are saving more than 60% less electricity.
Light pollution is not a matter of life and death. Yet it is important nonetheless, profoundly so.
We human beings lose something of ourselves when we can no longer look up and see our place in the universe.
It is like never again hearing the laughter of children; we give up part of what we are.
Image: A new (August 2016) Smart lightning system in the city Modiin, keeping the skies dark!
Materials for download
IDA ISRAEL SECTION
Local light pollution projects
Examples of projects regarding light pollution in Israel
As a result of the ongoing processes of the Bareket observatory's IDA section - light pollution regulations were implemented at the nearby city of Modi'in.
Executive heads expressed a willingness to highly minimize light pollution and environmental influences by using all possible means.
Replacement of existing lightning structures for minimizing local light pollution
The city replaced dozens of existing lightning structures with IDA friendly ones, which considerably reduced light pollution. We hope that this trend will continue and many houses will be replaced soon.
* Special thanks to Modiin - which recognizes and values the importance of our important and contributes to creating a pleasant environment and greener.
IDF - Programming from the computer automated systems of guard towers
Israel Defense Forces issued an order, the first of its kind, which are primarily software is reducing the direct light pollution arising from the spotlight of the new guard towers.
Following the call of the Bareket Observatory team with senior IDF officials, responsible for the subject - decided to program the computer systems in such a way that will prevent completely (!) Illumination and / or direction of the lights and the systems as a whole at the night sky.
All the new systems are programmed in this system have previously been - revised or updated in accordance with the new standard in the near future.
We are in conversations with other senior officials in order to bring even greater awareness of the issue of light pollution in the country.
Modiin city - The new neighborhoods - equipped with smart lighting
Most of the new Lighting is now smart! [IDA firendly]
City residents enjoy playgrounds, parks, roads, lighting and outdoor lighting smart!
Noticeable energy savings and reduced light pollution. This is the first process of its kind in Israel.
Mitzpe Ramon - Getting a project which aims reducing light pollution in town
Mitzpe Ramon began a project there to reduce light pollution coming from the nearby town of Mitzpe Ramon, and so for the continued proper working of the Wise Observatory, the University of Tel Aviv.
At the moment the main efforts are directed towards existing colleagues in the community, in order to bring real willingness and meaningful action. Also began strategic planning and economic development of practical approaches to the subject.
Modiin - further enhancements for municipal regulations regarding light pollution
Meetings were held with the municipal authority in order to study the progress achieved so far, and to formulate future offers more efficiency. The Municipality's decision to conduct Conference of Mayors in Israel, where the participants will receive information on light pollution, and how to fix local light pollution issues in thier home towns.
Training Base 1 joined the local IDA section policy, dark skies and bright land
Military base at Training Base 1, located Crater Mitzpe Ramon - turned off the lights basis honor of operations astronomical events via the Bareket Observatory's meteor shower Perseids observation. Headquarters of the foundation decided to identify with the goals of the observatory, and turned off the sports fields lighting. This is to enable the observations participants to enjoy the night sky even more (see pictures before / after shutting off the lights - in the article ).
Tennis courts and new neighborhoods - built with the IDA policy
Modiin extreme-sports centers and newest street lighting in the city's new neighborhoods were built under the IDA regulations to reduce light pollution. Including lighting fixtures Full-cutoff directed the light into the ground and into the sky.
Mitzpe Ramon starlight reserve - reserve establishment process first starlight in Israel
International Dark Sky Park Applying for declaration as Ramon Crater
New intelligent lighting in Modi'in city - construction of neighborhoods and new parks as a dark-sky-friendly enviroments
Local park intelligent lighting, adapted for movement in the area and the local weather in real time
Ramon Crater Named First International Dark Sky Place In The Mideast!
Ramon Crater is an 1,100-square- kilometer nature reserve in the Negev Desert of southern Israel.
This recognition defines the western Ramon Crater as an undisturbed core area.
Read more on the IDA website: Ramon Crater Named First International Dark Sky Place In The Mideast
Here are some of the IDA-ISRAEL highlights for 2016-2017:
1.Mitzpe Ramon starlight reserve - reserve establishment process first starlight in Israel
International Dark Sky Park Applying for declaration as Ramon Crater
2. New intelligent lighting in Modi'in city - construction of neighborhoods and new parks as a dark-sky-friendly environments
Local park intelligent lighting, adapted for movement in the area and the local weather in real time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8bD42EEwtQ
3. Establishments for municipal regulations regarding light pollution in Israel
Meetings were held with the municipal authority in Modiin in order to study the progress achieved so far, and to formulate future offers more efficiency. The Municipality's decision to conduct Conference of Mayors in Israel, where the participants will receive information on light pollution, and how to fix local light pollution issues in their home towns.
4. Israel Defense Forces new enforcements on the initial official order, the first of its kind, which are primarily software is reducing the direct light pollution arising from the spotlight of the new guard towers.
Following the meetings of the Bareket Observatory team with senior IDF officials, responsible for the subject - decided to program the computer systems in such a way that will prevent completely (!) Illumination and / or direction of the lights and the systems as a whole at the night sky.
5. Several Israeli cities replaced dozens of existing lightning structures with IDA friendly ones, which considerably reduced light pollution.
6. New educational materials and printed brochures regarding light pollution (under the IDA-ISRAEL Chapter).
7. Ramon Crater Named First International Dark Sky Place In The Mideast.