Glaring woes noted by foes of night lights

first_imgOn Tuesday, Petzold implored the Santa Clarita City Council to reverse the city’s growing light pollution, which does more than obscure the view, he says. It wastes natural resources and poses a health risk to people and animals, disrupting their internal clocks. And, sky glow takes away some of the magic. “The night sky that inspires us and gives us a sense of natural awe like the Grand Canyon is needlessly washed away,” he said. “Think about a 10-foot curtain hung around the rim of the Grand Canyon.” He was inspired by a story in an astronomy magazine urging readers to prod city officials to halt “erosion” of the nighttime sky. Petzold urged the council last week to adopt a law banning the use of promotional searchlights in town. Council members typically don’t comment on requests made during the public comment period, and while the issue has been raised before, the council has no plans to place the item on a future agenda, a city spokeswoman said. The Tucson-based International Dark-Sky Association strives to preserve and protect the nighttime environment by promoting effective outdoor lighting. “We are not nocturnal by nature,” said Lee Karalis, a spokeswoman for IDA. “We’re a 24-hour society, but we’re becoming a 24-hour-a-day world as well. We want the creature comforts of the day all through the night.” The group doesn’t oppose outdoor lights at night, but spurns “bad and unnecessary” lighting, Karalis said. That includes light that causes glare, is hard on the eyes, that trespasses onto neighbors’ properties, and is so overly bright it bounces off buildings and blocks stars from view, she added. The city observes strict lighting guidelines at public parks and ballfields and requires homes and businesses to follow codes that limit excess light spillage. “Every time we do inspections on commercial property, staff goes out in the evening to assure that they have the lights directed downward,” said Jessica Humphries, a city planner. “We ask them to install light shields to block unneeded light.” Those wishing to view the stars close up can join the local astronomy group Saturday at Vasquez Rocks, just after sunset. For information, log onto www.lgscv.org. [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – A local astronomy buff cheers when the power briefly cuts out because his neighbors stream outdoors to see what’s up. He’s right there beside them. “Then, I can show them the night sky objects we ordinarily can’t see any more,” said Steve Petzold. “It’s a cheap thrill.” Petzold laments that ambient light cast upward from the city often obscures the light show provided by nature: constellations, galaxies and nebulas. A tradeoff for the convenience of close-in shopping centers and housing tracts might be greater difficulty spotting the twinkly stars on Orion’s belt. last_img

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