City lights are blinding our view of space, and its forcing urban astronomers to rethink the way they make observations. To make matters worse, a change in the type of lights being used could be the end of some observatories.
Lick Observatory and San Jose: A Cooperation
“Lick Observatory and San Jose enjoy a long history of cooperation. In 1980, when San Jose replaced Mercury vapor street lights because of energy considerations, Lick was closely involved with the choice of the LPS replacement type. This has allowed Lick to continue forefront research in spite of the growth of San Jose.”
Light Pollution and Cities
“The effect of a city’s lights on sky brightness at a nearby observatory depends strongly on the total amount of light the city emits, related directly to population, and to the city’s distance from the observing site.”
Lost in Light
“This map shows the positions of locations designated as part of the International Dark Sky Places Program only. It is not a comprehensive map of dark sites generally.”
San Jose Light Pollution Map
“Light pollution limits the visibility of milky way to the unaided eye, the visiblity of nebulae and galaxies seen in telescopes, and raises the noise on CCD astrophotographs. Only the observation of planets and double stars is unaffected. Low light pollution conditions, or dark skies, is one of the most important properties of a good astronmical observing site.”
International Dark-Sky Association
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