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Can We Preserve Our View of the Starry Night?

TitleCan We Preserve Our View of the Starry Night?
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2005-02-15
Summary/DescriptionSegment #104 - "Can We Preserve Our View of the Starry Night?" (Air Date: February 15, 2005). Dr. Paul Guttman from Space Science from Schools discusess his work with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on the issue of light pollution, especially how to enforce current laws.
SubjectLight pollution
Pollution prevention -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2005-03-14
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment #A104 Light Pollution Air Date: 2/15/05 Tease @ 21:25 "Something you probably haven't thought much about...light pollution and lake Tahoe. I'm shelly Purdy, I'll have that story coming up on the Lake Tahoe Report." Anchor Intro: We all need lights to see at night, but just how much light is really necessary for safety and security is becoming an issue at Lake Tahoe. In tonight's Lake Tahoe Report, Shelly Purdy takes a look at the growing controversy over light pollution. ((TAKE PKG)) ((Track 1)) Lake Tahoe at sunset is an amazing sight to see. And once the sun goes down, you'd expect there to be nearly complete darkness. This is, afterall, the mountains. There are no big cities up here to flood the night sky with light. But there are other the big lights of the night skiing operation at Squaw Valley. ((sot @ 7:02 Dr. Paul Guttman, Space Science for Schools)) "Here's the situation. We have an economic reason for those lights to be on and that's night skiing. But those lights are on from dusk till dawn long after any nighttime skiing is being offered at 11pm when the mountain is closed." ((Tradk 2)) Dr. Paul Guttman is working with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on the issue of light pollution. He says the TRPA has rules about lighting on the books, but does little to enforce them. Dr. Guttman believes the issue is not just with big properties like Squaw Valley, but with small property owners as well. This light sits at the end of a boat dock at Incline Village. It is so bright and gives off so much glare, it can be seen from all the way across the lake. ((sot @ 3:31)) "Lights that produce glare by direct open bulbs do not really help us in terms of security or actually seeing." ((s/u @ 20:47 Shelly Purdy)) "This unprotected light bulb here is exactly what Dr. Guttman is talking about by a light that's done nothing but produce excess glare which is magnified by the snow around it." ((Track 3)) That reflectivity is called the "albedo effect." That's why glare and light pollution can be worse in the wintertime than in the summertime...since the light is magnified by the white snow. Dr. Guttman doesn't want to get rid of our lights altogether. But he does recommend using sensor lights that only come on when needed, turning light fixtures downward so they light the ground below and not the night sky, and turning off lights when they're not needed. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly PUrdy for KOLO News Channel 8. Anchor Tag: The public is encouraged to make their opinions heard about light pollution. The TRPA is currently reviewing their thresholds for light pollution as a part of the Pathway 2007 management plan. For more information on Pathway 2007 and how to get involved, visit our website at

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