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Watch the meteor shower, consider dark sky-friendly lights

Posted by Rob Klovance

As you gaze up at 2009's Perseid Meteor Shower, consider helping make dark skies more accessible to all.

BC Hydro Power Smart continues to promote energy-saving, dark-sky friendly lighting options  to residents and business owners alike. And joining the movement are various astronomical and dark sky assocations, who are pushing for the development of lighting products that minimize light pollution.

Home Depot is among the stores starting to carry dark sky-friendly products. Meanwhile, several manufacturers are working with Dark Sky  associations to develop products. U.S.-based Hinkley Lighting advertises that it can make about 25% of its outdoor fixtures light compliant.

Power Smart's flat-lens streetlight initiative

For Power Smart, the fight against light pollution begins with a Product Incentive Plan initiative to get municipalities and businesses to convert to flat-lens streetlights. Promotion of that initiative began a few months back and was highlighted in a pair of bchydro.com stories, including one that focussed on the enormous costs associated with light pollution, and another on the flat lens streetlight incentives.

The first story also offers information on what homeowners and businesses can do to save money, cut energy use and reduce light pollution.

Perseid Meteor Shower peaks Aug. 12

If you're reading this before August 12th, start planning now to view the 2009 Perseid Meteor Shower event, perhaps at a dark sky location near you. And let's hope the grey skies clear up in time for the event.

The meteor shower occurs every year in August as the Earth passes through rock and dust fragments left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. What we're seeing is the burn-up and streak of light that occurs when these small paricles collide with the Earth's atmosphere.

The event gets its name from Perseus, the star constellation that appears – but isn't – the source of the meteor shower. For meteor event viewing tips, check out stardate.org's meteors page.

Astronomers recommend viewing the event in the pre-dawn hours of August 12th, although many will be watching beginning on the evening of Tuesday, August 11th. That includes the Vancouver Astronomy Meetup Group, which will meet at Aldergove Lake Park – a dark-sky park – beginning at 8 p.m.

If you happen to be near Wells Grey Park  and Clearwater, B.C., there's also a presentation on basic star gazing in conjuction with the Perseid event  Tuesday night at the Clearwater Stock Car Races Track. Call 250 674 3530 for details.

Rob Klovance in managing editor of bchydro.com.