THE PROMISE FOR STARRY EYES ------------------------- John Pazmino Amateur Astronomers Association 2000 October 28
[ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS PRESENTED AT THE 89TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AAVSO, OCTOBER 27–28, 2000, WALTHAM, MASSACHUSETTS]
In this slidetalk, supplemented by a poster exhibit, a status report on New York City’s ongoing eradication of luminous graffiti as of the end of the 20th century was laid out. The focus was on Manhattan, the core of the Big Apple. Streetlamps are under global replacement in many parts of Manhattan, including Midtown, Greenwich Village, City Hall, and Lower Manhattan, with a variety of new lamps to give starfriendly illumination on the street. By the turn of the new millennium, the City achieved essentially complete evisceration of light pollution from store and facade lighting. This is a direct spinoff of the theme that stores on Manhattan must redo their frontages every three to five years to conform to the modern codes for illumination. Area and grounds lighting of immense corporate and commercial facilities stresses shielded, modest, occulted lamps. These include footlamps in parapets and sidewalls, lamppoles with large hoods, sconce lamps, ballards with concealed lamps. The World Trade Center, by a combination of these features, emits less light into the sky than a typical rural truck stop, despite it being quite the equal in urban activity as all of downtown Boston. Astronomers in New York can monitor their progress toward a star- friendly cityscape from the tops of the towers. From here, they see New York from the eye of a star! Photographs from the Empire State Building showed that on the whole Manhattan — a conurbation equal to the region around San Diego, Miami, or Boston, already sends fewer excess skyward photons than its suburbs across the rivers. With the accomplishments so far and with continuing work in progress, our profession set itself the goal that before this decade, the first in the new millennium, is over we will see the Milky Way from Manhattan—and see it with the bare eye.