Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour from Palomar Mountain

Earth Hour 2009 from Palomar Mountain:

As my family and I were checking out the stars above (that's Orion above the tree and Taurus to the right) we were also looking for any signs of dimming in the lights below Palomar Mountain.

As you can see their wasn't much sign of people turning their lights out on any large scale in San Diego, Escondido, Vista, San Marcos, Oceanside, or just about anywhere in San Diego County.

That is a lot of light. A lot of wasted energy. A lot of sky glow. Thankfully the observatory is not located in the middle of all of that.

There was one major source of light, located near the base of Palomar Mountain, that did dim their lights during last night's Earth Hour event. Harrah's Rincon Casino. (It seems they even participated in Vegas.)

Have a look:
That is Harrah's near the lower right of the image above and below. Their 21-story hotel stands tall above the surrounding buildings. The shot above was taken during Earth Hour. The very bright "Harrah's" signs on top of the hotel and at the entrance are turned off.

In the shot below, after the end of Earth Hour, the lights have returned to their normal status. You may need to click and enlarge the images to notice much of a difference.

You can also see Valley View Casino in these shots too. It is the bright, but mostly astronomy-friendly low-pressure sodium lights, group of lights to the top right of the dead tree. They clearly did not change their lighting.

There are several other casinos in the Palomar area, that I could not see from my vantage point. I wonder if they participated in Earth Hour?

It is my hope that events like Earth Hour will gradually take hold and show people that there are many unneeded lights that are on all the time (many are even on during the day!). Turning them off will save energy and show people that life at night can be safely maintained without excessive illumination. If that comes to pass people will be able to enjoy the night sky in all its glory from where ever they live. Personally, that's why I support organizations such as the International Dark-Sky Association.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you want to get the public to turn off unnecessary lights, tell them that the US alone wastes $3 billion annually in this, and in fact that number may have gone up.

Sadly you need to hit them in their wallets rather than their heads or hearts, no matter what the economic weather is.