Letters to the Editor – April 1, 2015

How to stop light pollution: well-planned lighting will allow us to see the stars

The Darlington International Raceway, NASCAR’s first (and best) Superspeedway is known for speed. Pole position speed in 1950 was 82 mph, and in 2014 it was over 184 mph. But there’s speed and then there’s…..Speed!

Earth rotates about 1,000 mph at the equator. Pretty good. The Moon orbits us at an average speed of 2,286 mph. Not bad. The International Space Station orbits the earth at 17,500 mph; fast lap! If you know the time and where to look, you can watch the ISS sail majestically over Darlington many times during the year.

And even though we can’t feel it, earth is orbiting the sun at 66,628 mph; now we’re getting somewhere! Our own star, the Sun, is orbiting the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at 514,500 mph and taking approximately 240-million years to complete one lap around the galactic racetrack. At an estimated 4.6-billion years old, the sun has made 19 laps, but no worry, it might be middle aged, but it still has plenty of horsepower left.

But the real Universal speed is off the charts! It’s the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second that takes the “Pole” position every time. When studying objects in deep-space such as star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies we’re seeing light that has travelled thousands, millions, and even billions of years to reach us – but what a tragedy to lose the information in the last millisecond of its journey to our ever-present, unnecessary, and wasteful light pollution.

But light pollution is easily mitigated. Of all the environmental problems, it’s the easiest to fix. First: Always install a fully shielded fixture that directs the light below horizontal and not into people’s eyes, a neighbor’s bedroom windows, or into the street blinding drivers and pedestrians. Second: Use the right amount of light for the task; over-kill just wastes energy and money. Third: Turn off all unnecessary lights at night leaving only the lights that are needed for security.

With well-planned lighting we’ll be able to see not only what’s going on around us at night, but we’ll be able to look up and see out real home – the Universe!

Francis Parnell
Darlington, S.C.
Citizens for Responsible Lighting

Uncle Albert seeks videos

My name is Albert Johnson. Most of you know me by “Uncle Albert” because I make the famous barbeque sauce.

Some time ago I requested tapes from the police department on an incident that happened to me. I want to set the record straight. I have not received any of the tapes that I requested. They showed me a tape in their office twice that had bits and pieces on it, but I never received tapes like I asked. And the tapes they gave me would not play on my computer, my DVD player, or my friends, relatives, and the Radio Shack DVD player.

The tapes say video error on it and it would not play.

The mayor and the city administrator promised me that I could get the tape that I wanted, but the chief said he is not going to give me those tapes.

I have not received those tapes yet.

Albert “Uncle Albert” Johnson
Darlington, S.C.

Author: Jana Pye

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