Blessed with an ideal climate and location for stargazing, Bisei, which means "beautiful stars" in Japanese, has been working to obtain the IDA's Dark Sky Place certification. The town has enacted an ordinance to prevent light pollution since 1989. However, they could not find street lights that met the IDA requirements while still protecting the safety of residents.
In the old town hall, there is a 1993 Panasonic ad that features Bisei's starry night. The bonds with the company led the town's officials to the idea of consulting with Panasonic about the challenge the town was facing. Panasonic Life Solutions Company agreed to help them out as a contribution to the local community, even though it would not become a product with mass market appeal.
Panasonic began developing a street light to meet the strict standards with a color temperature below 3000K and absolutely zero light leaking upward. Just adding shields to the fixture was not sufficient to achieve zero light leakage, so the process of trial and error continued.
Finally, Panasonic's prototype was completed. The new lighting fixture became IDA-certified, and installation began in the town of Bisei. With these new lights, Bisei has taken a giant step forward to become Asia's first "Dark Sky Community."
When mindfully designed, street lights can protect both our lives and our starlit sky. Panasonic will continue to help local communities preserve the beautiful starry sky for future generations.
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