Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Satellite Map of Virginia Light Pollution

This map depicts a satellite view of Virginia (superimposed with county boundaries) showing the spread of light pollution across our state. Several outdoor lighting ordinances are in place across key urban and dense suburban areas, but your help is needed to broaden this coverage to other areas.

Image adapted from NASA's "Earth's City Lights at Night" on Google Earth.

National Dark Sky Week - 2008

National Dark Sky Week, an initiative pioneered by Virginia resident Jennifer Barlow, will run from April 6-12, 2008. Residents and businesses are encouraged to turn out their unnecessary outdoor lights in order to temporarily reduce light pollution (and save energy). Through the joy of seeing more stars in the night sky, this initiative seeks to increase community awareness of light pollution issues. To find out more, check out National Dark Sky Week

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Logic Behind Shielded Light Sources

In most cases we automatically shield a light source from view so that we may see the foreground clearly. We dim our car headlights for approaching vehicles. We wear hats or sunglasses in the sun. We use lamp shades on desk lamps. In the year 2014, NASA plans to launch a space based observatory called the Terrestrial Planet Finder, which will search for small planets by blocking the light of the parent sun. Why then, do we not automatically shield outdoor security lights?

In The News

Powhatan's New Ordinance

Powhatan's new lighting ordinance, and Virginia's newest, for both commercial and residential lighting, was unanimously voted in favor of by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Special thanks to Planning Commissioner David Williams, who was willing to take on a new idea, Zoning Administrator Brandon Stidham who worked with the ordinance from start to finish, Supervisor Russell Holland who saved the ordinance from being denied or deferred, Supervisor Robert Cosby who came to the final hearing prepared to act, the Richmond Astronomical Society, and those good citizens who waited for hours to stand in support at the public hearings! For viewing, log onto the county website,, then follow the links to: county departments, planning and zoning, plans, ordinances and documents, 2008 Zoning ordinance, and scroll down to article 27A.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Loudoun County Lighting History and Present Status

The writer of this article is concerned with light trespass and glare, especially that caused by the local electric utility company. Here he records his journey in working to improve Loudoun County's comprehensive plan and lighting zoning ordinance.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Waterford, Virginia

Street lights are converted to Dark-Sky friendly lights; local residents cover costs.