Can Help




The Nighttime




A Guide for Students, Families & Businesses



Select Outdoor Lights So They:


1) Are Cost Effective – The cost of lighting is not only the cost of the initial fixture and installation but also the annual operating cost (the electricity!).  For example, the five-year operating cost of a Quartz floodlight may be over $400, while a comparable fluorescent floodlight is just over $100. 


2) Minimize Glare & Excessive Brightness – Glare occurs when you can see light rays directly from the fixture or bulb.  It can hamper the vision of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, which creates a safety hazard.  The human eye can take over 10 minutes at night to adjust to normal conditions after being exposed to an excessively bright area, such as a gas station canopy. 


3) Eliminate Light Trespass – Light that travels outward (horizontal) leaves your property and shines somewhere else. This can be very annoying and offensive to neighbors often many blocks away.  All lighting should be directed downward by using fixtures with “full cut off” shields.  The light source should not be visible from about 20 feet.


4) Eliminate Sky Glow – Light fixtures that allow light to travel outward and/or upward create Sky Glow.  This is very harmful to night sky viewing (amateur, professional and casual observers of stars and planets).  It is also harmful to migrating birds and many other animals


5) Reduce Air Pollution – Electricity to light up the night increases the amount of pollutants put into the air.  Turn on outdoor lights only when needed and consider using motion sensors properly aimed and adjusted to turn them on and off. 

Better Lights for Dark Nights
Help eliminate light pollution.
Select the best fixture for your application using this guide.
Use the lowest wattage bulb appropriate for the task and turn off the light when it is not being used.
turn off - turn down - time - sensor - shield - recess - cover *



Things Families Can Do


·     Review your home or living area for GOOD outdoor lighting. Use the “Better Lights for Dark Nights” brochure as a guide.  Look at your house from the outside at night, or better yet, from your neighbor’s point of view.  Be sure all fixtures have full cut off shields and do not emit light horizontally or upward to the sky.  Only turn on Outdoor Lights when needed. 


·     Survey your neighborhood for Good and Bad outdoor lights.  Tell neighbors who have Good lights how much they are appreciated.  If there is a bright outdoor light that gives off a lot of Glare or Sky Glow (light shining upwards or outwards), talk to the owner politely (children should always be accompanied by an adult) to see if they are aware of it and if they would be willing to do something about it. Give them a  “Better Lights for Dark Night” brochure as a guide. If they are not willing to do anything, thank them for their time. 


·     Come to one of our “Better Lights for Your Nights” meetings and help with one of our projects or offer to start a new one.  Gain knowledge about Outdoor Lighting issues and meet some of the people who are actively working to reduce light pollution.


·     Speak at neighborhood meetings on the importance of Good Outdoor Lighting and hand out information brochures.  Talk about Good lights and Bad lights and explain the difference.


·    Join the Astronomy Club of Augusta. We serve the CSRA, GA, SC, and are members of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).   



Things Students Can Do


·   Prepare a talk for classmates about light pollution or the importance of Dark Skies.


·   Design a class project that everyone can be a part of about Light Pollution or Dark Skies.


·   Choose Light Pollution or some topic related to Dark Skies as a subject for a science fair project. 


·   Make a “Light Pollution Catcher” game and play with a friend.  The game can be downloaded from


·   Talk to your teacher about having a person from The Astronomy Club of Augusta to come to your class to talk about light pollution. 


·   Initiate a project at your school to review and correct any poor or bad outdoor lighting on your school grounds. 


·   Come to one of our “Better Lights for Dark Nights” meetings and help with one of our projects or offer to start a new one. 


·   Join the Astronomy Club of Augusta. We serve the CSRA, GA, SC, and are members of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).   



Things a Business/Group Can Do


·     Review your business properties to see if they have any Poor outdoor lighting and see if you can make improvements.  Hand out Good outdoor lighting educational materials in your stores.


·     Invite the Astronomy Club of Augusta and Better Lights for Dark Nights’ to your business clubs as guest speakers. 


·     At the start of any business meeting or council or board meeting, give a brief introduction about Dark Skies (hand out a Fact Sheet) stating the importance of doing something to help maintain them. 


·      Scout Leaders or other groups, Contact Better Lights for Your Nights to see what materials are available for discussion for your particular age group.  Create a community project or merit badge to help reduce Light Pollution in your area. 


·     Join the Astronomy Club of Augusta. We serve the CSRA, GA, SC, and are members of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).


·     Make a Tax-Deductible Donation.  IDA is a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which means your donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be earmarked for specific projects or Sections like the Astronomy Club of Augusta.  We need funds to print brochures, give awards, and other educational activities. 



This guide was prepared by the Better Lights for Dark Nights committee to help students, families and businesses with ideas

for things they can do to help preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting.




“Light Pollution”

The only Pollution that costs more to Perpetuate than to Eliminate!



Good Outdoor Lighting Will:


·         Save energy and reduce air pollution from power generating plants. 

The US spends about $2B a year on wasted light radiating skyward.


·         Make a Safer and more Secure night time environment. 

Glare and harsh lighting creates shadows and causes poor visibility.


·         Preserve dark skies necessary for astronomers

and allow the casual observer to enjoy starry skies from their backyard.


·         Minimize harm to trees, plants, insects and animals

by not disrupting their seasonal cycles and habitat with artificial light.


·        Enhance the natural beauty of our cities and neighborhoods.



presented by:


Astronomy Club of Augusta
serves the CSRA, Georgia, South Carolina


International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)

3225 N. First Street, Tucson, AZ  85719