Everyone has the right to illuminate his or her own property. With homeowners, this includes the use of white light if desired. Businesses have the right to visible signage and adequate illumination during hours of operation. All of us, businesses or homeowners have the right to display a flag and to properly light it at night. None of these rights will be removed under a bright stars/dark skies program.
But there are other things that should be rights. Homeowners should have the right to enjoy their yard at night or sleep in a dark room without the blinding nuisance of a neighbor’s flood light. Motorists should have the right to see obstacles or children in the road without the hazard of a “glare bomb”. Palomar Observatory’s right to continue astronomical research should be greater than the neighboring community’s right to waste energy through direct illumination of the heavens. And last, all of us should have the right to look up at night and see a rich assembly of stars against a black night.
None of the these goals – the right to use light and the freedom from intrusive and excessive lighting – have to be in conflict. However, how we design light for safety, security, and ambiance determines whether we are free from glare nuisances and intrusive lighting, whether Palomar observatory continues its research, and whether we see stars at night instead of the white glow typical of urban skies. If you can 1) have the light you need for safety, security and ambiance, and 2) see stars at night, would you not take both?
Dark Sky/Bright Stars Wildomar is an effort to promote good lighting design so as to have a minimal impact on the night sky. These goals can be met through public awareness, voluntary guidelines, and enforcible ordinances. I will elaborate on each of these in subsequent posts to this site.
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