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A report on the International Dark-Sky Associations Public Forum Meeting on Light Pollution
by Liam Kennedy - April 27th 2002

Lisa Bruhn of the IDA.
On April 15th I received an email from Lisa Bruhn, San Diego Section Leader for the IDA, about a public meeting to be held at the Holiday Inn at Carlsbad on April 25th.

Plans had been in place for a while to have the meeting - however it was members of the San Diego Astronomical Association and Oceanside Photo and Telescope who prompted Lisa to contact us about our interest.

Thanks SDAA and OPT!

This whole area is a very important one for us to be very involved in.

After some emails between the board we decided to formally sponsor the meeting to the tune of $250. The board believes that we must get involved in this way - to show our profound support for the IDA and these issues. The funds would be found very useful by the IDA in covering their costs for the meeting and also setting up the new southern California section of the IDA.

I drove down to the meeting with Russell Sipe and Bill Hepner. We arrived in good time to be able to setup some displays on our club.

I was especially concerned that visitors to the meeting would understand why the OCA was involved in a San Diego Light Pollution meeting.

Our display at the meeting.
We had one panel explaining why we were there, another about our Anza site, and a print of Russ Sipes Southern California Light Pollution Map.

You will also see that we had some color brochures on our club (we are working on creating a new brochure on our club to hand out at various outreach events and meetings such as this one)

Why are we here?
No I was not asking for the answer to one of life's mysteries... but I did want attendees to understand some of the important reasons why they were being visited by folks from "up north"

Dr David Crawford
David is Executive Director of the IDA and he gave an excellent presentation on the Dark-Sky issues and just how easy it is to overcome light pollution on a win-win basis.
Blinded by light!
The presentation had several practical demonstrations of good and bad lighting fixtures. Guess which one this represents.
Russell Sipe.
Russ was added into the meeting program when Lisa learned of his excellent work that he had done to produce a detailed map of Light Pollution for southern California. Members who were at the April meeting will know exactly what this is about as Russ presented the information as part of his presentation then.
SDAA Vice President John Restivo presented several examples where their efforts have resulted in good lighting decisions which otherwise would have been very bad for their clubs observing site near Tierra del sol.
The Audience .
Quite a number of people attended and enjoyed both the talk and the good food that was laid on. Here you can see quite a number of the SDAA members on the left. We also had 6 members attend including Dick Greenwald, Barbara Toy, Pamela Brandt, Bill Hepner, Russell Sipe and myself.
Raffle drawing.
Various excellent prizes were raffled off to help raise money to cover IDA costs. The grand prize was a Meade ETX 70AT telescope. I won nothing - however Bill Hepner walked away with a nice new pair of binoculars. The prizes were donated by Meade, Oceanside Photo and Telescope, SDAA and the Glare-Buster lighting company.
IDA presentation board.
The IDA had much information on display about lighting issues - including an article that appeared in a San Diego area paper and the recent interview with DR Crawford that appeared on CNN.com.

IDA work in San Diego

Lisa Bruhn will be working in the short term on some relevant and timely issues related to light pollution in San Diego. This includes a meeting with the Mayor of San Diego specifically regarding the execution of the cities choice to change from Sodium light fixtures to higher power "white-light" versions. There is some expectation that with the IDA's help it may be possible to limit the impact of the new lights by careful implementation of proper fixtures.

At some time over the next few months we are hoping that Lisa Bruhn will visit with us in Orange County to see how she can leverage her expertise in all the appropriate areas impacting our club (including issues related to Anza and also local issues for Orange County). We shall see if we can arrange for Lisa to give our members a presentation at an upcoming monthly meeting.

A call to action - how you can help!

I spent some time talking with Lisa about what our next steps should be. Specifically I wanted to know how we could best help our cause by helping her in any way we could. Lisa suggested that we should at the very least start photographing examples of good and bad lighting around Orange County.

For example (images taken from the IDA web site)







Please email your examples of good / bad lighting in Orange County to me include details of where the fixtures are and if possible have a picture of the light fixture in daylight and another one at night time.


Liam Kennedy
OCA President

Links of interest relevant to this article
International Dark Sky Association
San Diego Section of the IDA


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