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Saving the starry night skies of Maui

Lee Altenberg, Ph.D.

Dedicated to the memory of Jim Berry, founder of the Center for Reflection on the Second Law in North Carolina, who told me of the wondrous stars I would see when I moved to Hawaii.


Outdoor Lighting Standards Subcommittee

of the Maui County Council Public Works Committee

Subcommittee Members:

Law Enforcement and Low Pressure Sodium Lamps:

Progress on the Maui light pollution issue:


I have been working with a number of other Maui citizens and the County government to create outdoor lighting standards that will end the light pollution of Maui's skies, and allow everyone on the island to again experience the magnificence of the starry nights of our tropical Pacific island.

The primary sources of light pollution are the "cobra head" street lights that shine 30% of their light into the sky instead of on the street, and the athletic field night lights that do even worse. Non-fully shielded lights in private parking lots also contribute. Fortunately, there is a simple technical fix to the problem---using lights with fully shielded luminaires. And this simple solution allows electricity savings of 30%, and eliminates the blinding glare of non-fully shielded lights that plagues night driving along Maui's highways.

Many communities on the mainland have enacted strict light pollution ordinances. The communities that have pioneered such laws are those whose citizens prized the glory of their starry nights, and where some of the best astronomical observatories faced encroaching light pollution.

Resource Links

What Maui has now (King Kekualike High School field):
What Maui could have had now (Soft Lighting Systems):
Light Ordinances:

Vendors of fully-shielded lamps:

The source of the problem:

Vendors selling light-polluting, unshielded lamps:

Additional Information Sites:

Click to see light pollution across the globe