NOAO < EDUCATION < FM21.1.03

LEDs/ALAN–Working To Be Good Neighbors [3.8 MB PDF]

ALAN (Artificial Light At Night) and LEDs have recently become major discussion topics in the areas of astronomy, light pollution, endangered species and human health to mention but a few. In years past, MH, LPS and HPS dominated night lighting with LPS and its associated narrow spectrum as the preferred source around observatories and shorelines. LEDs offer the ability to modify the spectrum, realize substantial energy savings and other associated benefits while meeting the requirements of the astronomy community.

The primary concern of the different groups relates to blue light content of the LED. For astronomers, the molecular (Raleigh) scattering related to the blue light interferes with certain portions of the spectrum used for deep space studies. The ecologists studying various endangered species find blue and green light can be related to declining leatherback turtle population in certain areas of the world. Other animals ranging from bats to moths and other insects are now being studied to determine the effect of the blue light spectrum on their behavior. The impact of blue light on the human circadian rhythm and vision, especially in the older population, is being extensively studied today.

This presentation will discuss the spectral power distribution (SPD) of various light sources, the performance of new LED solutions and how the SPD of these new LED’s can be adapted to address some of the issues raised by various constituencies. A discussion describing why some of the metrics used to describe standard lighting are not adequate for specifying the new LED solutions with the modified spectra will be included.

Today, lighting plans and implementation are all too often based on opinions and limited data. The ensuing problems and repercussions make it imperative to collect accurate and thorough information. Data collection is now ongoing using a variety of techniques analyzing the “before” and “after” lighting results from the C of HI LED streetlight conversion. The studies will focus on any quantifiable impact LEDs may have on such topics as light pollution, endangered animals, astronomy and, most importantly, the citizens of our local communities.

Robert Adams

AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: R. Adams, CW- Energy Solutions, Paradise Valley, Arizona, UNITED STATES

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