A Bright Idea to Darken the Night Sky

Mon, 08 May 2017 18:55:00

String lights over a beer garden are iconic. They foster a festive mood that leads to all sorts of laughter, sharing, and merriment. Unfortunately, they also illuminate the night sky, contributing to light pollution.

Is it possible to keep the party vibe alive without lighting up the night sky? The answer of course is “yes.”

The question is not simply academic around Beertopia these days. Now that the Worthy Garden Club is offering cosmic tours from the Hopservatory, it’s important that we help reduce our own contribution to light pollution.

More importantly, as the we launch a new mission to encourage our neighbors to turn down the lights, we have to set an example and “practice what we preach.”

So here’s one of the steps we have taken at Worthy to darken the night.

There’s an old saying: “Recycle Good. Re-use Better.”  Breweries generate a lot of “waste” aluminum cans, whether from factory blemishes, denting, or product packaging testing.

Instead of recycling those cans, which we do, we thought: why not repurpose a part of those cans by converting them into shields or mini-umbrellas that we can put on top of each string bulb?

Solve two problems at once. Repurpose and focus the beams of light where they belong – on the Earthlings partying happily below on good ol Terra Firma. And there’s a bonus benefit – perhaps our Worthy guests will look up, see the beer can shields, and have a conversation about light pollution.

So here’s what we did. We collected our “Blems.” We drilled a hole in the bottom of the can.

We marked, measured and cut the cans to spec.

Then we unscrewed each bulb – over 200 of them — and put the “custom retrofitted” Worthy beer can shields over the bulb, and screwed them back in.


A Worthy beer garden that lights up the party action without polluting the skies overhead with unnecessary and potentially harmful skyglow.

To learn more about the hazards of skyglow, and what you can do to help reduce it, please click here. Oh, and drink plenty of Lights Out Stout.


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