Annual Perseid Meteor Shower: Star Light, Not Flood Light
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Annual Perseid Meteor Shower: Star Light, Not Flood Light

Sep 16, 2023

By Myra Klockenbrink, Greenwich Sustainability Committee

August is the month of letting go and relaxing at our favorite getaways. The weather, especially in the evenings, can be inviting, and it’s pleasant to be outdoors. This weekend is a great time to set up camp outside and observe the annual Perseid meteor shower. Viewers will be rewarded with a fantastic display of shooting stars. It’s a time to contemplate where we came from —stardust — and where we are going — stardust?

The Perseids will peak tomorrow night and will be visible from about 10 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday. The best conditions are the very darkest you can find with a good view of the night sky.

Unfortunately, most of the night sky is obscured by the light given off from towns and cities, which obscures the Milky Way and all but the brightest stars. LightsOutGreewich, a group of residents, experts and nonprofits, advocates for darkness, to protect habitat for wildlife and human health, and to give us access to the night sky.

All life on Earth evolved with the dark, and darkness is necessary to many creatures, including human beings, whose sleep patterns are affected by light pollution. Darkness can provide a respite from the stresses of the day, allowing our minds to rest and our bodies to restore themselves.

Darkness is a resource, like our forests, waterways and Long Island Sound and can be preserved if we each take a few simple measures.

• Turn off the lights when not needed.

• Use motion sensors or timers on necessary lighting that isn’t always needed.

• Use only downward-directed outdoor lighting.

• Use bulbs with the right brightness for the use. LED bulbs are measured in lumens not watts like incandescent bulbs. A 60-watt incandescent bulb = a 500-700 lumen LED bulb. Convert wattage to lumens here.

• Use bulbs on the yellow end of the spectrum instead of blue. Kelvin temperature of a light represents the color that a bulb will produce. Kelvin temperatures of 2000K-3000K produce a warm, calm, inviting light and is sufficient for most needs.

Take this opportunity to spread a blanket under the stars and when you see a shooting star, make a wish for a better world that celebrates darkness and the night sky.

Learn more: LightsOutGreenwich or get involved: [email protected].

Suzanne Lio, formerly Managing Director/Chief Operating Officer of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra.

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