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[DSLF] Digest Number 928
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There are 3 messages in this issue.
Topics in this digest:
1. Re: Help needed with HB1282 in Arkansas!
2. Message from astronaut
From: Gary Citro <callisto@optonline...>
3. Re: Message from astronaut
Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 21:35:27 -0600
Subject: Re: Help needed with HB1282 in Arkansas!
> Please help make Arkansas's Night Sky Protection bill become law:
I applaud how far you've gotten with the effort, but to help get it
passed and protect it from enforcement challenges, you should be
prepared to make some concessions. Please take these in the spirit they
Be prepared to strike "8-14-104 (b) No mercury vapor outdoor lighting
fixtures shall be sold or installed after January 1, 2004."
"8-14-104 (d) This chapter does not apply to: (1)
Incandescent fixtures of one hundred fifty (150) watts or
less, or other light sources of seventy (70) watts or less"
...will bite you in the butt down the road as newer technologies mature
and your 70 Watts suddenly gets a lot brighter. Use "Lumens" instead of
"Watts" to distinguish lamp brightness, and set the unshielded limit at
1000 or 1800 lumens to exempt grandma's 60-watt porch light.
"(6) Outdoor lighting fixtures that are necessary for worker safety at
farms, ranches, dairies, feedlots or industrial, mining or oil and gas
.... exempts not only the very people that would benefit most from
glare-free lighting, but lets every ratcheted gas station in the state
off the hook.
Lastly, Astronomy is a special interest. Unless you have a big lobby
group there, donít make it the focus of your push, especially when
things like glare should be addressed in the interest of public safety, etc.
You might be able to negotiate a better deal by giving them back their
mercury lights in exchange for requiring recessed lenses on new filling
station canopies. I wish you the best, and congratulations on getting
it this far.
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 07:14:20 -0500
From: Gary Citro <callisto@optonline...>
Subject: Message from astronaut
An excerpt from a message sent by astronaut Kalpana Chawla on
February 21st, 2002 to a Planetarium in New Delhi appears below.
Ms. Chawla was a member of the ill-fated Columbia Shuttle crew.
An example of a minority woman driven to great scientific accomplishment.
> Growing up in Karnal, India, some of my precious
> memories are sleeping under the stars in summers and being awed by the
> majesty of the night sky. My mother pointed out the milky way and some
> of the constellations; I suspect some times we gazed forever, without
> blinking for minutes. Something about the night sky causes us all,
> young and old, to ponder over the very basic questions. We are inspired
> and motivated
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 08:23:09 EST
Subject: Re: Message from astronaut
In a message dated 02/10/03 7:19:29 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> An excerpt from a message sent by astronaut Kalpana Chawla on
> > Growing up in Karnal, India, some of my precious
> > memories are sleeping under the stars in summers
> > and being awed by the majesty of the night sky. My
> > mother pointed out the milky way and some of the
> > constellations; I suspect some times we gazed forever,
> > without blinking for minutes. Something about the night
> > sky causes us all, young and old, to ponder over the
> > very basic questions. We are inspired and motivated
That is a very profound message. Thank you Gary. Amazingly, I pointed
reference to a very similar experience while giving testimony before the CT
State Legislature this past Friday. CT has a Bill in the legislature to
declare the dark night sky as a natural resource.
This is what I told them (in part)...
"When I was seven years old, or thereabouts, my Mom went to let the dog out
after dinner and raced back into the house somewhat in a panic. She started
turning out all of the interior lights without saying a word to the family.
We wondered what was going on, a bit unnerved because of her unusual
behavior. She kept insisting we had to go outside but did not tell us the
We apprehensively followed her into the back yard and she threw down a
blanket on the summer dew laden ground and told us to lie down on our backs.
The Milky Way was cutting the night sky in half as splendid as I have ever
seen and M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) was distinctly visible as a naked eye object
that did not require averted vision to see. "Isn't it spectacular? Just lay
here for a while and watch it," she said.
The sky was resplendent with stars and so dense with tiny points of light it
was not possible to count them all, nor was it easy to pick out
constellations. After our eyes adapted a tiny spec of yellow light about the
size of the point on a pin passed slowly overhead. It was the Russian
satellite Sputnik according to my Dad, and probably so because that was
before the magnetosphere became tainted with space junk, Telstar, telecomm
and other geostationaries. Today that same back yard well away from the
outskirts of town only shows 40 visible stars on the clearest of nights.
Sadly, similar activities are no longer possible for the children or their
parents to experience today. The Milky Way is just a sweet wrapper in the
candy aisles of the local store for most kids today.
The night sky is just as much of a natural resource as water, soil, and air.
It is the food and fuel of our imagination and innovation. Were it not for
Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler and others inventing the
fundamentals of the Calculus and forming the foundations of modern Physics in
their attempts to understand and explain the Universe and why celestial
bodies interact with each other in the manner they do we might not have the
incredible science, engineering, and technology that has brought us as a
species to the point where we have evolved to today.
Both Physics and Calculus are taken for granted as general education
requirements today, but a mere 250 years ago they hardly existed. If it were
not for the dark night sky resplendent with stars I have to wonder what other
force of innovation and imagination could have ever driven those incredible
breakthroughs? That fact above all is the most profound reason to declare
the dark night sky to be a natural resource worthy of protection for all
generations to come.
Another reason why it is vital for this Bill pass into law is to raise the
level of importance so everyone will finally realize why and how it is
necessary to protect this amazing natural vista that drives imaginations
beyond all expectations. It is a view that has enveloped our planet since
the dawn of time."
Throughout my testimony, winged on the fly with no benefit of written script,
I could see people's heads nodding up and down in agreement around the room --
both Senators, Representatives, and attendants in the gallery. At the end
when I was finished speaking the Chairman thanked me for *compelling
testimony* and then he requested my contact information.
It was a REALLY fun and productive day for the night sky on Friday. >:-)
Oh, did I mention that we were in the middle of a blizzard at the time?
There was over 8 inches of snow in my driveway by the time I returned home.
Today four more light pollution Bills are on the block for public comment and
I'm heading off to the Capitol again in a few minutes to do my best to defend
them. CT now has 7 LP bills in the legislature to protect the sky. Snow is
on the way again too. Maybe that's a sign?
Clear skies and good seeing,
Keep looking up!
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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