Category Archives: Light Pollution

Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) Soliciting Comments – Request For Light Pollution Comments And Consideration Of IDA Recommendations

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The following post to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Outdoor Lighting Forum from Gary Honis (astrophotographer extraordinaire) was sent along to me by John McMahon (local amateur astronomer and responsible-lighting proponent extraordinaire). John had also forwarded the youtube video from Gary concerning drilling-related light pollution made at Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park, home of the Cherry Springs Star Party (Ryan Goodson and I are currently registered for the event this year) late last fall (see the image above, taken from Gary Honis’ Skyglow from Marcellus Gas Well Drilling Site page).

Gary is requesting that concerned amateur astronomers comment on the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) website immediately as this new organization establishes standards for shale drilling. Of note is the request for the CSSD to consider the IDA lighting fixture recommendations. Of drilling-specific note is the recommendation that flaring times be limited. Gary’s post, including links to the CSSD page and several relevant articles, is provided below.

A new organization (CSSD) was formed this week comprised of the gas drilling industry and environmental groups that have reached agreement to create a system to set standards for reducing the effects of shale drilling. The article is here:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/03/both_sides_agree_on_tough_new.html

According to the article, multiple states will be covered but it does not mention any outdoor lighting or flaring controls.

The CSSD has a comment page set up for receiving comments. If you are so inclined, please consider requesting that they include exterior lighting and flaring standards to address the problem of light pollution. The CSSD comment page is here:

http://037186e.netsolhost.com/site/contact/

If they don’t receive comments from the astronomical community, I doubt lighting issues will be addressed. Below are the comments I provided:

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My recommendation is the CSSD should include flaring and lighting requirements in its standards to avoid the problems of light pollution such as glare, light trespass, energy waste and skyglow. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) maintains a list of IDA approved shielded light fixtures and also has developed lighting codes jointly with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). See

http://www.darksky.org/outdoorlighting

Utilizing the IDA approved light fixtures and CSSD adoption of the IDA/IESNA lighting codes would address lighting problems for adjacent land owners. It would also avoid the light pollution as documented in
the 2012 NASA Earth Observatory images showing wasted light and skyglow in North Dakota and Pennsylvania from gas drilling operations. See:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NPP/news/earth-at-night.html

Having standards that limit flaring operations to daytime or during New Moon periods, as is being done in sensitive areas of PA, would help preserve our disappearing night sky resource.

Thanks for your consideration of this request.

Gary Honis, P.E.
GHAAS

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I have one YouTube video of the effect on Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park from flaring and associated unshielded lighting at gas drill rigs posted here:

Jim Richardson – Our Vanishing Night: Light Pollution

Our world, for better or worse, is increasingly illuminated as cities grow and populations develop once unused land. To the amateur astronomer, light pollution is definitely a change for the worse, as those trying to observe the faintest and most distant objects find themselves either competing with ambient light or driving (or flying) to ever more distant locations away from the glow of the cities. The Syracuse University Lecture Series (lectures.syr.edu) will be featuring a talk on March 19th by renowned photographer Jim Richardson on the subject of Light Pollution. Details are below.

Jim Richardson – Our Vanishing Night: Light Pollution

March 19, 2013 7:30 pm, Hendricks Chapel

2012jan17_jim_richardson_2Jim Richardson is a photographer for National Geographic Magazine and a contributing editor of its sister publication, TRAVELER Magazine. Richardson has photographed more than 25 stories for National Geographic. His work takes him around the world, from the tops of volcanic peaks to below the surface of swamps and wetlands. ABC News Nightline produced a story about the long process of assembling a National Geographic coverage by following Richardson in the field and at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition to his color photography, Richardson has built a distinguished body of black-and-white documentary work about rural Kansas life. His audiovisual presentation, “Reflections From a Wide Spot in the Road,” has toured internationally. A 22-page story about his 30 years of photographing life in the north central Kansas town of Cuba, population 230, was published in National Geographic and featured twice by CBS News Sunday Morning, most recently in May 2004. His 1979 study of adolescence, “High School USA,” is now considered a photo essay classic and is used in college classrooms. Richardson speaks nationally and internationally. He lives in Lindsborg, Kansas, where his work is featured at his gallery, Small World.

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The University Lectures has brought to the Syracuse University campus and the Central New York community some of the world’s most dynamic, influential and inspiring movers and shakers. Previous guests have been world-renowned academicians, architects, designers, writers, business and media experts, and statesmen, who have all helped to shape the world in which we live.