Saturday, May 30, 2015

1st Day part 2

Melatonin and Cancer
The real action - the scientific talks get underway with the lead by Dr Kristan Aronson, on  'Human health effects of exposure to light at night, with emphasis on biomarkers and breast cancer.'. This was a fascinating talk describing the observed relationship between the effects of shift work and the relationships to cancer.  After a session of statistics at university it was a real buzz to hear someone using terms such as 'the statistical power of a test' - makes it real and that the technical detail is a necessity.  The talk ranged over a number of issues and noted that melatonin is one of the most ancient hormones, present even in bacteria; melatonin is certain to prove to be a major driver of circadian rhythm and behaviour.

1st Day at ALAN 2015

It was an exciting day for the first day at ALAN2015.  So exciting that compressed into half a day it was twice as exciting.  The day started with Clifford Paul describing his traditional links to the land, the environment and the sky as a member of the Mikmaq nation.  In a modern world it is often suggested that the activities of humans are of  a new definition and are sure to become a replacement for tradition.  It is difficult to accept the awe inspired by a dark night sky and a vault of brilliant shining stars and the luminous galaxy could be seen as a lesser alternative to city buildings at night. Possibly the glittering toothless facades of buildings can be seen as a placebo of the night sky.

Reducing the Blue Spectrum
The second talk was from Pierre Goulet and Sebastian Guigere, Piere Goulet was instrumental in establishing the first International Dark Sky Reserve that is located nearby to Sherbrooke at Mount-Megantic.  The requirements for a day sky park can be difficult to meet and reducing the sky glow from neighbouring towns is of primary concern, there has been a considerable effort to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from street lighting.  Their talk concentrated on the on-going battle to reduce the content of blue spectrum in local lighting and the efforts of dealing with lighting manufacturers to come to the party with suitable luminaries.  Their approach was to not increase the amount of blue spectrum and to not reduce the current utility of existing lighting when compared to the existing high pressure sodium.

One of the solutions resulted in street lights at 1800K and PC-Amber lights in the low 2000's of K.  Of course these luminaries have a lower efficacy than the blue rich LEDs and when the market is being driven by government sponsored energy reduction schemes the financial reward for choosing the high efficacy blue-rich LED is too great for most public utilities.  This is a world-wide issue which is having far reaching effects.

The nature of the light emitted by blue-rich LEDs is seen as being cold and white and giving a high colour rendering.  Many people would describe the light as harsh and stark, yet local utilities and councils argue that this a better light for safety and visibility.

PEP Talk
The following talk by Scott Feierabend of the International Dark Sky Association fired us up to understand the power of numbers and the need for  a collective change of mind to understand the consequences of light pollution and what will be lost if the trend to over lighting and irresponsible use of outdoor lighting continues.

I need to come back for a second instalment - as it's time to go into the second day of ALAN 2015.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A quick update - 2nd day 1st

Half way through the second day.  I'll update on the 1st day later.  With a mind distorted by jet lag and failing co-ordination, typing a sentient sentence was far too challenging.  The morning has concentrated on the aspects of light pollution that are variables of spectral attributes.  Covering aerosols, photometry, lamps, aerosol optical depth.  Some great results derived from the DMSP, ISS and other satellite data, mobile SQMs and mobile spectrometers.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The first post

This is the first post to the SOLIS blog.  SOLIS is Sydney Outdoor Lighting Improvement Society.  I've been meaning to start this blog for a while and the current impetus is an imminent trip to Canada, Quebec for a conference on light pollution.  In fact, two conferences.  I'm missing out on two lighting events in Sydney #VividSydney (@VividSydney) and @SPARC2015 ) no hashtag for them (oops).  I'll be following these Sydney events from Canada and blogging on my two events in Canada.  The bags are packed - almost, I need to fire-up and build my new MacBook so I can stay in touch and get my University work done - a few other important things and then I'm out of here.