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    Posted June 2, 2014 by
    Ocala, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your views of space and stars

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    Save energy, along with the night sky


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Steven Coates is a physician’s assistant by day and astrophotographer by night. His interest in astronomy fuels his desire to capture the night sky through pictures. These photos of the Milky Way were taken in rural Livermore and Canton Maine.

    Coates says “It is difficult to image the Milky Way from light-polluted skies as the city lights 'washes out' the light from space,” says Coates, which is why he is a member of the International Dark-Sky Association.

    This iReport is featured in our summer skies gallery on CNN.
    - taliaday, CNN iReport producer

    It is time to start thinking about wasted light and the economic impact it has on taxpayers.
    I am an amateur astrophotographer, having spent the past four years imaging deep space objects such as nebula and distant galaxies from my backyard in Ocala, Florida.
    Over the course of these four years, I have noticed an increase in my town's "sky glow," or the amount of light that has scattered above the ground and into space. Much of this comes from needed development, and with development comes parking lot lights, street lights and general lights from business that scatter light into space above the city.
    With responsible development comes responsible lighting. If we can shift the way we direct lights and direct them down, where light is needed, we can limit the amount of light, and energy, wasted to the sky above. Approximately 30 percent of energy used in unshielded lights is wasted to the sky. This wasted energy costs the U.S. $2.2 billion annually. Using full cut-off light fixtures with a lower-wattage bulb will save money for the city, provide security, limit distracting glare (while driving) and help preserve the night sky.
    The following images were images I took from dark skies of rural Maine durign the summer of 2013.

    For more information on light pollution please visit the International Dark-Sky Association ( http://www.darksky.org/ )


    Steve Coates

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