Home Lighting for Amateur Astronomers
You don't have to search to the ends of the Earth to find exterior residential lighting that's dark-sky friendly.
With a bit of paraphrasing, his statement applies equally well to light pollution. As amateur astronomers we are concerned with the “big picture” issues of light pollution and how they affect the public’s awareness and appreciation of the night sky. But when it comes to backyard observing, our concerns lie much closer to home. All annoying light pollution is local.
Here’s a case in point. We both live on the outskirts of metropolitan Boston. While the city’s rampant light pollution affects our entire sky, for me [di Cicco] it is worse toward the east in the direction of the city. But my sky is almost as bright to the south because of a cluster of back-to-back shopping centers straddling a mile or so of roadway only a fifth as far away as downtown Boston. When I’m at the eyepiece of a telescope, however, the lights that really annoy me are those illuminating porches and yards of nearby houses. Indeed, I occasionally suspend my observing when any of these with a direct line of sight are turned on as neighborhood dogs go out to answer nature’s final call of the night.
As explained in "Your Home Lighting Guide", there are many approaches that today’s homeowners can take to providing safe and effective residential lighting. We tested some of the most commonly chosen options as well as a few that seem particularly “astronomy friendly.” Some of the things we discovered surprised us.