October 23, 2002
Note to Editors/Producers: This release is accompanied by publication-quality illustrations and an animation; see details below.
Energy and lighting specialists from throughout the U.S. and Canada are gathering in Boston, Massachusetts, this weekend for a meeting of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). They'll be taking aim at the ubiquitous pall of urban skyglow known as "light pollution," its effects on our health and our society, and what can be done to halt and reverse its spread.
Members of the news media are welcome to attend the sessions on Friday, October 25th. These invited talks and panel discussions will take place at the Museum of Science in Boston. Speakers are nationally recognized experts from the lighting industry, government agencies, power-utility companies, and others from the fields of medicine, environmental science, and astronomy. Key areas of discussion will include:
- the glare and energy waste associated with poor-quality lighting
- the effects of light at night on humans and wildlife
- communityand commercial efforts to develop better lighting practices
A press conference will be held at 12:45 p.m in Cahners Theater at the Museum of Science.
The second day of the meeting, Saturday, October 26th, will convene at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge. Due to limited seating, we are not encouraging attendance by members of the news media. Instead, we will try to arrange interviews on Friday with the Saturday sessions’ invited speakers and other experts in attendance.
Satellite images dramatically reveal that roughly of a third of the light used outdoors escapes upward, totally wasted, into the night sky. The IDA estimates that each year in the United States, more than $1 billion is spent to generate that wasted light — resulting in the needless burning of some 6,000,000 tons of coal annually.
Founded in 1988, the IDA has about 10,000 members in all 50 states and 70 countries. Its 450 organizational members include lighting engineers and manufacturers, security personnel, government agencies, and municipalities. The IDA is a nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting.
Sky & Telescope is pleased to make the following images available to the news media. Permission is granted for one-time, nonexclusive use in print and broadcast media, as long as appropriate credit (as noted in each caption) is included. Web publication must include a link to http://SkyandTelescope.com/ and http://www.darksky.org/.
Program for the Fall 2002 IDA Meeting
Friday, October 25, 2002, 9:00 a.m.;
Cahners Theater, Boston Museum of Science
- Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Session 1: Historical/Sociological IssuesThis will be a general introduction to outdoor night lighting, including lighting terminology, history, and sociological factors (crime, fear-of-dark, safety, and aesthetics).
Session 2: Medical IssuesA discussion of the effects of outdoor light on people, particularly disability glare and issues involving the aging eye for senior citizens; also human photobiology and disruption of melatonin production.
Lunch (12:45–2:15 p.m.): Press Conference (Cahners Theater)
Session 3: Environmental and Ecological IssuesA discussion of issues involving the effects of outdoor light on flora and fauna — a good transition topic between medical effects and energy issues.
Session 4: Government, Industry, and YouA discussion of issues involving local, state, and national government as they interrelate to the lighting industry and to the general public, including energy consumption/costs and the IESNA's new ETAL-based standards.
Saturday, October 26, 9:00 a.m.;
Phillips Auditorium, Center for Astrophysics
- Session 5: Residential and Small-Business Lighting Issues
- A discussion concerning lighting of private housing, residential neighborhoods (including problems with sports fields), and small businesses. Relevant discussion will include lighting fixtures now available on the market, appropriate lumen levels and IESNA guidelines, and ordinances/bylaws.
Session 6: Legal IssuesWith many new lighting ordinances and laws going into effect, this session will discuss the legal issues surrounding outdoor night lighting, including the enforcement (and enforceability) of laws/ordinances and results of previous litigation.
Lunch (12:30–1:30 p.m.): Exhibits, Posters, and Networking
Session 7: Lighting-Industry IssuesA reality check provided by lighting designers, manufacturers, and power-utility representatives, in the context of what's "best" vs. what the marketplace wants.
Session 8: Research and Education/Outreach IssuesA review of ongoing and needed research, the prospect of establishing a centralized information database, and discussion about how education and outreach efforts might advance the cause of better outdoor night lighting.
(Additional details are available on the IDA's meeting page.)
About the IDA
Incorporated in 1988, the International Dark-Sky Association (www.darksky.org) currently has nearly 10,000 members worldwide, including affiliated chapters in most U.S. states and 11 other countries. The organization's goals are to be effective in stopping the adverse environmental impact on dark skies by building awareness of the problem of light pollution and of its solutions, and to educate everyone about the value and effectiveness of quality nighttime lighting. The IDA believes in a united approach that is very supportive of the many local and individual efforts.
About Sky & Telescope
Sky Publishing Corp. was founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, the original editors of Sky & Telescope magazine. The company's headquarters are in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In addition to Sky & Telescope and SkyandTelescope.com, the company publishes an annual magazine called SkyWatch as well as books, star atlases, posters, prints, globes, and other fine astronomy products.