'Sconset's Dark Sky

Those who visit 'Sconset for the first time are often in awe of our dark sky and the amazing, unobstructed view of the stars. Miraculously, it is like time has passed us by and we still have a natural resource that many communities can only dream about, a night sky free from light pollution. It is a treasure that many of us take for granted, but we shouldn't. Our view of the starry skies is at risk of slowly, imperceptibly, disappearing if we're not careful. Let's all work together to protect our dark sky from the glare of artificial lights so it will be preserved in all its beauty.  

Contact us if you have any questions about, or suggestions for, our Dark Sky initiative.
Board Dark Sky Policy

Replace bad lights with good lights.
You'll save energy and money. You'll be a good neighbor. And you'll help preserve our view of the stars.

Which bulb should you use for your outdoor light fixtures?

The Civic Association recommends an LED bulb with no more than 180 lumens (level of brightness) and no more than 2700 kelvins (hue of the light emitted).  A bulb with 180 lumens and 2700 kelvins will be a soft, warm white light that is roughly equivalent to a 25 watt incandescent light bulb. Available here

           Kelvin Temperature Scale

What You Can Do

We can all help protect 'Sconset's dark sky through our individual efforts. Here are some things you can do that will make a real difference:

  • Install exterior light fixtures that are downward pointing and shielded.
  • Use the minimum brightness needed and minimize blue light emissions. (See below for the kind of bulbs recommended by the Civic Association.)
  • Use outdoor lighting only when essential and only for the area that needs it.
  • Turn off all your outdoor lighting no later than 10:00 pm. (If you'll be returning home after that, a flashlight can light the way!)
  • At a minimum, comply with Nantucket's outdoor lighting ordinance

Click here to access

A violation of Nantucket's outdoor lighting ordinance is subject to a penalty of $100 each day a violation continues after receiving a warning from the Lighting Enforcement Officer of Nantucket and being given 30 days to come into compliance.

Among other things, the following are prohibited for residential exterior lighting, with certain exceptions, if the lighting output is more than 600 lumens (about 40 watts incandescent and 7 watts LED). (See the ordinance itself for more detail, including additional restrictions, and contact the Lighting Enforcement Officer with any questions.)

  • Fixtures that allow the bulb to be directly visible from adjacent and neighboring properties or public rights-of-way (Section 102-3B)
  • Ground-mounted floodlighting and floodlighting that is not down-directed and fully-shielded (Section 102-4D)
  • Uplighting of an entrance that is not under a roof, eave or other architectural element (Section 102-4A(1))
  • Uplighting of building facades, trees, and shrubs (Section 102-4B and C)
  • Blinking, flashing, moving, revolving, scintillating, flickering, changing intensity and changing color lights except for temporary holiday displays (Section 102-5C)
  • Safety and security lighting that does not have a motion sensor, photocell or timer to control the duration of nighttime illumination (Section 102-4E)
  • The use of lighting for recreational purposes after 10:00 pm (Section 102-4F)

  • Any architectural lighting that does not comply with relevant HDC guidelines and application procedures (Section 102-5A)

Nantucket's Lighting Enforcement Officer:  
Marcus Silverstein, 
508-325-7587, Ext. 7021; 

Before reporting a violation, please discuss it with your neighbor to see if he or she is willing to take corrective action without involving the Lighting Enforcement Officer!

Your Neighbor's Lighting

Does your neighbor have an unshielded fixture that casts a bright light onto your property and even inside your home? Here are some practical steps you can take.

  • Make friends, not enemies. Your neighbor probably doesn't even realize their lighting is bothersome.
  • Be tactful and understanding about your neighbor’s right to light their property and their need to feel safe.
  • Educate your neighbor about Nantucket's outdoor lighting ordinance if you think he or she is in violation of it.
  • Suggest alternatives to their current fixture. Ask them to move the light, shield it, or add a motion sensor so it’s activated only when needed. Offer to help get this done.
  • Be informative. Talking to your neighbor is an great opportunity to be an advocate for good lighting. There are many reasons to use dark sky friendly lighting (see links at right).
  • Help your neighbor find dark sky friendly fixtures and devices. Point to homes in Sconset that have outdoor light fixtures that are dark sky friendly.
  • Remember that everyone wants the same thing: a chance to relax in his or her own home. Work together to create an atmosphere that benefits the Sconset community.

(Slide from Mar. 23, 2021 light pollution forum)

Sconset at dusk
(Photo courtesy of Nantucket Aerial Photography Team)

Not as much light pollution as in other communities,
but we can do better!


Please report any public street lights t
hat seem unnecessarily bright to the Civic Association.

The Civic Association will contact the appropriate authorities to ask them to correct the situation.

The goal will be to have street lights that don't interfere with our beautiful dark sky but are still sufficiently bright to provide visibility at key intersections. 

Regardless of the street lights, please always use FLASHLIGHTS and BIKE LIGHTS at night to ensure your personal safety!

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