Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cityname Light Beacons

Makes sure witch city you are passing by plane
 
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Just two days ago I've been flying with very clear weather at night from Quito to Madrid to Amsterdam. Especially the last part made me ask myself the same question over and over again; Which city is it I can clearly see from here, looking through the airplane-window?

As an answer to this question I suppose a lightbeacon could be placed so it will be clear what city I can see from the plane. At the size of a soccerfield, in four directions the name of the city can be spelled out. It's something that makes the flight more interesting (and documented), and can even support tourism; 'WOW, that city is enlighting, let's go there next time!'.

BartJan, Oct 31 2002

International Dark Sky Assn. http://www.darksky.org/
Campaign to design city lights to spew less light upward [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Aerial View HUD http://www.halfbake...Aerial_20View_20HUD
A modest counter-proposal [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       <sp>which</sp>   

       Witch cities only exist in Africa and New England.
PeterSilly, Nov 01 2002
  

       Welcome to WITCH CITY, your plane is about to be beamed down...
BartJan, Nov 01 2002
  

       As someone who also enjoys looking out airplane windows at the scenery below, I sympathise with the goal. However, as an amateur astronomy buff I can't support any idea that deliberately spews yet more waste light up into the air, making it increasingly difficult for folks to see the sky at night. I live in a big city, and when I want to see a decent sky full of stars I have to drive over 100 miles first. Please don't make this worse.   

       There are millions of kids growing up in big cities today who have never seen the stars.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002
  

       In line of your annotation [krelnik], which I support, it should be created with the light that's allready been wasted. Recycling of light. Blocks of houses in formation of the city's name. And even better, especially here in Holland, the greenhouses waste so much light in such a bright way, that it allso could be used that way.
BartJan, Nov 01 2002
  

       I say we ban telescopes and star gazing or, at least, levy heavy taxes against the practice. Also, a special gas tax should be added to those people who drive ridiculous lengths, wasting public fuel resources, just to look at a canvas that hasn't changed much in the last, oh, 100,000,000 years. In fact, roadside checkpoints could be raised to stop cars and search for telescopes without the appropriate fuel tax stamps. The amount could be rated against factors like overall mirror size, effective focal length, photography capabilities, etc. Telescopes with terrestrial-only mountings would be exempt.   

       As for the idea, perhaps if you used a projection system mounted atop a tall building that projected the cityname down onto a large flat "projection screen" area, less light would be lost to mingle in the heavens.   

       In any case, the intensity with which the city name needs to be lighted with doesn't need to be particularly intense, just distinctive. Very dim light is visible from an aircraft.
bristolz, Nov 01 2002
  

       Why not plan the street layout of any new city to spell out its name? It would also simplify giving directions ("Go up to the top of the "T" and turn left, you can't miss it").
friendlyfire, Nov 01 2002
  

       Wouldnt it just be easier to have an announcement/display on the aeroplane (thats the brit spelling, dont knock it) letting the passengers know what city they're passing? The pilot already has navigation equipment and stuff so he could use it to let the passengers know. The beacon might also create a glare effect so that the darker background features of the city cant be seen.
MrKangaroo, Nov 04 2002
  

       I never blither. Blather, maybe . . . . As for the big bad Krelnik A0124T asteroid that's going to hit the Earth, I'd just as soon not know about it ahead of time. What are you going to do, throw your Celestron at it?   

       In fact, taxes should be especially severe for those searching for such asteroids.
bristolz, Nov 04 2002
  

       a problem with all these ideas is that you would have to lay out the name such that it is oriented in the right direction fo rviewing from more than one direction
engineer1, Mar 02 2004
  
      
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