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Reminiscence about amateur astronomy December 17, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.

I’ve lived in the Providence metro area all my life and I completely missed both the Perseid and Geminid meteor showers due to light pollution in the city.

That brought back some memories. I grew up in the city and back in the 1970’s the street lights were still incandescent bulbs in these interesting fixtures. They had a corrugated edge, they looked a little like pie plates with the top pinched in to form a small dome. They were painted green on the outside and white on the inside.

But then growing up I remember mailboxes attached to phone poles. Now you can’t find a mailbox in the city at all.

Back then the only major use of sodium lamps and high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps was the major thoroughfares and the highways.

But in the 1980’s things began to change. Those old incandescent fixtures were changed out for HPS fictures. Not only that with the uncovering of the rivers they started with globe lighting and uplighting. You can tell what I’m getting at here.

Back in the day we could see a sky full of stars, identify the big and little dippers, Orion, and a bunch of other constellations with the naked eye. But now, you’re lucky if you can see two or three of the higher magnitude stars. Orion still peeks through a bit, but I haven’t seen the dippers in a long time.

All because of HPS and crappy lighting design.



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