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"And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave."
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 5 May 2018  

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  “Lights polluting our skies” (December)

   Regarding the article on light pollution in the December issue, I was pleased to see attention given to the impact of excessive and unshielded outdoor lighting on our enjoyment of the night sky. The problem is not so much temporary holiday lights, but instead permanent outdoor lights that are unshielded and always on.
   
   I suspect that most people don't give much thought to the effect their outdoor lights have on the diminishment of the beauty of the night sky, and that is probably because they don't really see anything in the night sky beyond a scattering of stars and the moon. But the night sky is so much more.  If you consider that we reside in a magnificent spiral galaxy, and that we can actually see it in the night sky stretching across the late autumn sky, then perhaps you may be inspired to take even small measures to help preserve this marvelous sight. Travel to a remote part of the county where the sky is really dark and compare that view with the one we have here and you will see how much our outdoor lighting has diminished that splendor.
   
   So ask yourself, do you really need those lights on all night? What about having them on a motion sensor so the lights come on only when needed? How about having a cutoff shield installed on your pole or barn mounted yard light? Any light not directed toward the ground is light and energy wasted, and only serves to further diminish our view of the night sky.  
   
   As for those who would respond to a neighbor's request for a modification to your outdoor lighting by ignoring it or, worse yet, installing even more lights, is it really that much of an inconvenience? I'm fortunate to have great neighbors around me. I understand their need for some outdoor nightime lighting and they understand my desire for dark skies. Working together we can come to a compromise that everyone can support. Can you do the same?
   
   If you would like to learn more about the beauty and wonder of the night sky, and perhaps would like to see some of it first-hand, I invite you to attend any of the frequent star parties hosted by the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society (csastro.org). In appreciating the night sky, we can work together to preserve it.
   
   Scott Donnell
   Elbert, CO
  
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