Some Success?

A couple of weeks ago I got in contact with RailTrack to see if I could get something done about the Manchester Longsight railway depot - they have five large floodlights to illuminate the depot but these also light up most of East Manchester.

I received a letter, from the Community Relations Officer at RailTrack, giving me contact details for Alstom, the company that is sub-contracted to run the depot. The person in charge at Longsight seemed quite happy to see me and we arranged a meeting for this afternoon.

I eventually managed to find their reception and was greeted with "oh, so are you the star-gazer". The man in charge was very friendly and willing to listen to my complaints. I gave him copies of the House of Commons Select Committee report on light pollution and a picture of the offending floodlights as seen at night from the University of Manchester's telescope dome on the roof of the Physics Department. We had a quick tour of the site and I saw the very badly angled floodlights. I suggested that they could put covers on them to better angle the light - this would reduce spill-over light and illuminate their site better at the same time.

The result is that he said he would look into adjusting the lights, however this involves turning off overhead power lines and things like thatso isn't straightforward. I left my contact details with him and he said he will get back to me in a couple of weeks, once he has managed to adjust them, to check that they have not been made worse.

Just before I left the office I was approached by some of the other people who work in the reception. They had heard that I was an astronomer and had some questions. I was asked if Orion's belt existed, what the Seven Sisters were and about buying land on Mars and the Moon. It just goes to show that people (whether astronomers or not) have an interest in the night sky - it is a pity that they are deprived the chance to see it properly.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Thursday 13th Nov 2003 (15:29 UTC) | Permalink
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