Stowupland: Stargazer’s sight obstructed by street lights

Astronomer Lawrence Harris is struggling to see the stars due to the light pollution from street lig

Astronomer Lawrence Harris is struggling to see the stars due to the light pollution from street lights in Stowupland. - Credit: Archant

An astronomer is struggling to see the stars at night because of the power of nearby street lights.

Stargazer Lawrence Harris was delighted when he moved to Stowupland four years ago as the views from his telescope were ideal for watching the night sky.

But he has spoken of his frustration that street lights are now obstructing his line of sight.

“Suffolk skies are absolutely wonderful – Stowupland was fantastic,” he said.

“The view from our garden was quite spectacular but all of the area is slowly going downhill and it’s difficult to stop.

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“On a clear sky I could not believe what I was seeing – the new lights were much brighter and part of the light went straight in to the garden –it was disappointing.”

He said he expected the new lights to be more effective at reducing the upward glare from them which can affect astronomers.

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The 68-year-old often has to stay up past midnight after the lights are switched-off to get a good view.

Stowupland Parish Council installed 54 lights in the village last year. Parish clerk Rachel Godbold said: “Stowupland Parish Council upgraded all of its lighting stock in summer 2012 to cut emissions, reduce energy costs to the village and to reduce future maintenance costs.

“The lights chosen were downlighter PLT lanterns which the council was told would reduce light pollution. The lights were one of two low energy options offered by Suffolk County Council.

“The alternative option offered would have cost an additional £30,000 and in the current economic climate the council decided that this was not cost effective.”

The cost of the lights chosen was about £15,000.

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