What we do

Save The Night Sky 285! is dedicated to preserving and protecting the dark night skies along the 285 Corridor and its environs. We do this by 

  • Building public awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of our dark night skies; 
  • Advocating with local governments, businesses, homeowners associations and homeowners of the benefits of Responsible Lighting; 
  • Making available resources to help guide lighting choices that meet homeowner and public health & safety needs while protecting the night sky as a resource available to all. 

Here you’ll find descriptions of some of the work we’re engaged in.

What is Responsible Lighting?

Responsible Lighting

  • Light only where it is needed
  • Light only what is needed
  • Light only when it is needed
  • Light only how it is needed. 

Reducing Excessive Lighting at the Eldorado Community School

Fully illuminated Eldorado Community School Parking Lot
The Eldorado Community School parking lot and buildings are fully illuminated all night, every night, whether school is in session or not.

An empty parking lot at a closed workplace does not need to be brightly illuminated all night. That lighting does not promote safety, does not promote security, and is an unnecessary burden on public funds meant for education. It is also in violation of the New Mexico Night Sky Protection Act and the Santa Fe Sustainable Land Development Code. Save The Night Sky 285! is working with the County of Santa Fe to bring the Eldorado Community School, and the adjacent Max Coll Corridor Community Center, into compliance with State and County law.

Join Us!

Do you appreciate the dark night skies of the communities along the 285 Corridor? Are you concerned that we are losing them owing to careless, needless, and wasteful lighting?  Are you interested in helping to preserve and protect our night sky? Join us! We need volunteers to help us advocate and agitate for responsible lighting with local area businesses and homeowner associations.

Eldorado's Northern Night sky is dominated by the Santa Fe Light Dome
Eldorado’s Northern Night Sky, January 2020. The skyline is dominated by the lights of Santa Fe, whose light dome obliterates all but the brightest stars through a 30 degree elevation. Santa Fe City’s proposal to increase the color temperature of its street lights from 2200 K to either 3000 K or 4000 K would greatly increase the intensity of the City’s lights in the 285 Corridor. 

Take Action: Write to the Santa Fe City Mayor and City Council!

The City of Santa Fe is considering a proposal to replace all of its street lighting. Some of that proposal is good: the new lighting fixtures will be much better shielded than the old. Another part of that proposal is very bad: the new lights will have a much higher “correlated color temperature” (CCT)  than the old lights. The increase in CCT – from 2200 K to (depending on the light) 3000 K or 4000 K, will – even with the increased shielding, significantly increase the scattered light from Santa Fe City and degrade the night sky in the City and all surrounding areas, including the 285 Corridor. 

In addition to its damaging effects on the night sky, the CCT change has other serious public health and safety ramifications: 

  • Public highway safety research shows that CCT less than 3000 K – consistent with current lighting – is preferred over higher CCT lighting. 
  • In 2016, the American Medical Association issued a rare warning, recommending that night-time street lighting should not exceed a CCT of 3000 K, and is best kept below that level.

Finally, the change in color temperature is unnecessary: options available for the same cost, and used in many other cities across the nation, will preserve the lower color temperature. 

We urge everyone who cares about the public health, highway safety, and night sky implications of this proposal to write to the Santa Fe Mayor and City Councilors, expressing their concerns. The choices made by the City will affect us all, even if we don’t live in the City. A template letter expressing the concerns raised here, which you can adapt to your own style, or use to inspire your own letter, can be found here

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Meade