It may be the day after Thansgiving, but that did not stop the electrical contractors installing new streetlamps in Waikoloa Village.
We noticed the truck and crane setup mid-morning under the light across the street from our house. It was no surprise, the streetlights have been getting changed throughout the neighborhood over the last couple months. The new LED lamps are far better, with almost no glare seen from the side.
We are not sad to see the old low pressure sodium light go, it has been a nuisance. The poorly designed sodium lamp creating glare into our windows We had called to complain with the county, but nothing was ever done. The glare intruded on our bedroom window, a real issue, somewhat alleviated by the growth of our plumeria along the front blocking the light, a deliberate solution on my part.
The big question is whether the new LED light improves the astronomy situation from my driveway. The old sodium lamps along the street made it impossible to do visual observing, there was simply too much glare. The new lamps should darken the sky and create far less light directed at my driveway.
Even better, the lamps in question are C&W Energy Star Friendly® units with reduced blue emissions. Elimination of almost all of the blue light greatly reduces scatter in the atmosphere and is better for the observatories.
This seems to be the case. I can see the light from our driveway where it is strong enough to cast shadows. Still, it is much darker than it was with the sodium lamps. The overall amount of light is way down, indeed the entire neighborhood is darker.
With the old light I was able to do astrophotography from the driveway using an LPR filter that blocked the 589nm of sodium light. The new lights will have a broader spectrum and be more difficult to block. On the other hand they send very little light upwards, possibly improving the situation. It will be interesting to see what the difference is. When the Moon is a few days further gone I will have to setup the camera and find out.
It may also be a good idea to check the old CloudCam images against new images as the replacement continues. It will be interesting to see if the emissions from the neighborhood are effectively reduced as seen from the top of the mountain.