Rome Heads Back to the Dark Ages November 18, 2005Posted by jtintle in Space News.
- NewScientist.com news service
A romantic evening in Rome is going to become even more enchanting. While enjoying the historic monuments and late night cafés, you will now have a better view of the heavens too.
Rome is the latest major city to begin dimming its lights to prevent light pollution obscuring the night sky and to save energy. And the trend could pick up next year with publication of an “off the shelf” law that cities anywhere will be able to adopt to combat glare drowning out the stars.
Rome has 170,000 street lights, and stands to save 40 per cent on its lighting bill through its dimming programme. Next to be turned off will be signs in shop windows and hotels, and the already dimmed lights illuminating monuments may be lowered still further.
David Crawford, director and founder of the International Dark-Sky Association based in Tucson, Arizona, is architect of the model “ordinance” for cutting light pollution. “The ground rules are simple,” he says. “Shine light down, not up or sideways; don’t over-light; turn off lights when they are not needed; use energy-efficient lights and fixtures; and impose curfews,” he says. Illuminated adverts could be switched off at night, for example, as could lighting in parking lots.