Nature

Fredericksburg is Fighting to Preserve Their Dark Skies

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Here’s an example of commercial lighting done well, and the only difference is that the wall pack floodlights are shielded.  The shield is a simple box installed over the light to cut off light going beyond the property line, or into the sky, or people’s eyes.  The light effectively lights the front of the building and the parking lot, and the solution is an inexpensive shield which involves no electrical connections and can be easily installed.

4. The Steeple Wars

Steeple Wars

Photo: Robert C Deming

When downtown churches began installing floodlights to illuminate their beautiful steeples it was sometimes called the steeple wars.  These lights present two problems – they blank out the view of the stars overhead, and the lights are a high-temperature blue color which gives a cold appearance to an otherwise warm stone structure. An alternative to steeple up-lighting is steeple down-lighting, creating a beautiful night-time view without causing sky glow and blocking the view of the stars.

5. What is YOUR outdoor lighting doing to your neighbors and the sky?

M 51 Whirlpool Galaxy

Photo: putmanmountainobservatory.com

The City of Fredericksburg is only one of the many Hill Country cities and towns moving toward being able to see the sky again by working with the International Dark Sky Association, as well as the Hill Country Alliance, in pursuit of the coveted International Dark Sky Community designation. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area earned the fist US International Dark Sky Park designation.  The lack of darkness now prevalent in the developed world is blamed for serious health problems and insufficient sleep.  Step outside and look at your lights.  What are you doing to your neighbors and the night sky?

Robert C Deming is a writer in Fredericksburg and an advocate for better outdoor lighting.

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