InfoStarrySkies@yahoo.comJoin the Save Roane Starry Skies yahoogroup                 Save Roane County's Starry Night Skies!
Bad Lights  

Welcome to the Save Roane Starry Skies Website 


We are concerned homeowners, business owners, educators, students, clergy, and others who live and/or work in Roane County. Many of us can remember when we could see the Milky Way at night, but now that pale river of stars is almost lost in the glare of light pollution in Roane County. 


Our mission is to recover and preserve the beauty of our starry night skies in Roane County. By encouraging responsible outdoor lighting for security, energy conservation, and aesthetics, we want to pass along our heritage of beautiful night skies to our children and their children. We are pursuing our light conservation goals through education, by cooperating with like-minded groups, and by working with the Roane County Commission, Zoning Commission, Environmental Board, and Industrial Boards. Our goal is well-designed, well-shielded lighting that will:

  • Keep our county property values high -- our miles and miles of beautiful lakeshore and lakeview property, with their unspoiled view of the Milky Way, are attracting record numbers of prospective homeowners to Roane County. This increases our property values and builds the county's tax base. 

  • Keep our property taxes low -- exterior lights that direct light only where it's needed make it possible to use lower-wattage bulbs. This means significantly lower electricity bills for the county, as well as for businesses and homeowners. Communities in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere are saving tens of thousands, even millions of dollars in energy costs by switching to properly shielded and aimed lighting. 

  • Reduce the county's use of costly, polluting fossil fuels -- we can decrease our contribution to global climate change at the same time we're saving our taxpayer dollars.

  • Improve public safety -- poorly shielded, glaring lights can blind drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Moreover, studies by the U.S. Department of Justice and the experiences of Roane County business owners clearly show that motion-sensitive night lights are the most effective way to keep property safe from theft and vandalism.

  • Extend the lifetime of Tamke-Allan Observatory -- one of our community's most unique educational and research facilities, the Roane State Community College Tamke-Allan Observatory, is being adversely affected by light pollution. Alleviating light pollution will preserve Tennessee taxpayers' continuing investment in this singular university facility. 



What is light pollution and how is it caused?

Many outdoor lighting fixtures are poorly designed and direct much of their light upward or sideways rather than downward where it is needed. This causes numerous problems including:

  • The unnecessary waste of electricity and tax dollars.

  • Glare that blinds drivers and other passersby, often intruding on neighbors' houses and yards; and night lights that help thieves and vandals more than they help you.

  • Human health effects including increased incidence of certain cancers, particularly in women, due to excess light exposure at night.

  • Negative effects on birds' and other animals' migration, breeding, and feeding activities; and on the dormancy cycles of certain trees and other plants.

  • Increasing impact on the Roane State Community College Tamke-Allan Observatory, 3 miles south of Roane County Park. This state-funded facility, like most places in Roane County, is suffering from light pollution but remains open to the public on the 1st and 3rd Saturday evenings of each month, when college staff and amateur astronomers provide children and adults the opportunity to view  the wonders of the night sky through a variety of telescopes. (TAO is also a premier learning opportunity for home-schoolers, church groups, visitors to our area, backyard skywatchers -- everyone!)

Visit our Light Pollution! and Links/Other resources pages for more information.


Is it expensive to switch to well-designed lighting?

Properly designed fixtures cost the same as poorly designed ones. Light fixtures that effectively direct light downward are affordable and readily available at local home improvement and hardware stores. Existing lighting can be improved by adding shields or reflective paint. Fixtures that put light only where it is needed and not where it is wasted can, in many cases, also permit the use of lower wattage bulbs. Each 400 watts saved can reduce electricity costs by about $100/year. A typical Tennessee county could save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. See our Star-friendly lighting page for sources of "good" light fixtures.




How do I get involved in Save Roane Starry Skies?


We encourage you to use the links on the left to browse our website and learn more about light pollution and the problems it causes; the many economical lighting solutions available through local suppliers and the internet; and our efforts to put in place a zoning ordinance that will require new construction and new light poles in the county (not the 4 municipalities) to employ well-shielded, properly aimed fixtures.


We hope you will also urge your County Commissioners to pass our  Roane County Light Conservation Initiative.


Please also consider JOINING Save Roane Starry Skies. We initially tried offering memberships, but what we really need instead is some help offsetting our expenses for educational brochures, bumperstickers, Friend of the Milky Way Awards, and so on. If you'd like to help out, please send your contribution to:  


Save Roane Starry Skies

P.O. Box 7114

Oak Ridge, TN 37831-7114


In addition, we have a Save Roane Starry Skies email group; just click on the JOIN US! link in the top left corner of this page. If you have questions or comments, you can either post them to the Save Roane Starry Skies discussion group (membership required) or email us directly via the Email us link in the top left of the page or at




Where can I get my Save Roane Starry Skies bumpersticker?!


Show your neighbors you care -- just click here!



Good Lights
Public Saftey
Our Proposed Ordanance
Roane County Commision
News and Events
Links / Other Resoruces
About SRSS
Friend of the Milky Way Award














Click for Kingston, Tennessee Forecast
12/28/2007 08:20:08 PM [Copyright ã 2007 Save Roane Starry Skies. All copyrighted images and written material on this website are used with permission or according to fair use doctrine.]