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Question

I need something to make a city shut down any illuminating activity at night.

Considerations

  1. The city is on the center of the a crater as on the picture except that the crater is in the middle of the ocean

enter image description here

  1. The cities on the rim of the crater have to be affected, too.
  2. The rest of the world may not be affected.
  3. It's only allowed to appear at night.
  4. It's not allowed to poison anything except the cities.
  5. The crater is artificially created by slamming a large colonization ship into the ocean.
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    $\begingroup$ Your "question" isn't a question and your title is grammatically incorrect come on bro! $\endgroup$ – wposeyjr May 9 '15 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ London, Alexandria, etc. did black out all city lighting for fear of lethal consequences. You don't need to make it up. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 10 '15 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't a crater in the middle of the ocean be covered with a few miles of water? The impact event you describe would not create an atol, but just belly flop. How can that raise a mountain that reaches all the way to the surface? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 10 '15 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ @wposeyjr I see no problem with the title... $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode May 10 '15 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz see 1 $\endgroup$ – JKK1111 May 12 '15 at 8:11
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I see a few options here.

The American Medical Association accepted a report in 2012 that indicated nighttime artificial light is already detrimental to psychological and physiological health. The locals could have a particularly strong response to this effect, becoming (hyper) aggressive if exposed to prolonged artificial light in the absence of natural solar light. Of course, this has a side effect that it may also spring into effect during heavy daytime cloud cover.

There's also the option that it's not actually the artificial light that causes harm, but rather what it attracts. Suppose there was a species of plant/fungus that thrived under artificial light, causing it to bloom nightly. When it does, it releases an enormous amount of spores that can cause whatever behavioral or physiological effects you want. Attempts to eliminate the plant/fungus could be difficult because it's invasive, dwells in the shaded side of rocks where natural sunlight doesn't reach, has extensive and deep roots than allow it to regrow and spread quickly, etc.

There are countless insects that are drawn to artificial lights at night. Maybe there is some exotic nocturnal species (not necessarily an insect) in the area that is likewise attracted to light and leaves radioactive droppings. If the species were fairly large, it might prey on the people living in the city and/or their livestock. This species could be extraterrestrial in origin and brought to the planet by the impactor that created the crater. Its need to be near some remnant of the impactor for its survival would ensure it could not spread to the rest of the planet.

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    $\begingroup$ Gigantic radioactive moth poop. I like. +! $\endgroup$ – Vince Scalia May 9 '15 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ This kinda goes against Nr.3 also edited the post to include an extra factor $\endgroup$ – JKK1111 May 9 '15 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking more of chronic sleep trouble, a marked increase in insomnia, narcolepsy, and similar conditions. Which are debilitating, especially when not medicated (and medicating an entire population with anti-depressants and sleep medication for life would have its own effects of course). $\endgroup$ – jwenting May 9 '15 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ Damn, my first thought on seeing this question was 'space moths'. $\endgroup$ – Samuel May 11 '15 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ If this city, is at war with someone with bombers. Shutting off all lights at night would be valuable to prevent enemies from targeting the city effectively. This was actually done back in WWII. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Snider May 12 '15 at 17:13
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Shutting down a lit city could be tricky. People tend to disagree with that markedly. This sort of thing was done all the time during WWII, but that was because there were men with thousands of pounds of bombs looking for lights in the night.

However, trying to simply develop a city without lights is easier. Religion could easily latch onto the stars, making any non-red lights forbidden for fear of accidentally extinguishing them. In a scientific situation, you might be able to claim a local observatory was so important that it could demand complete darkness. Kit Peak observatory, near Tucson AZ, didn't turn the lights out over the city, but they did at least get them to switch over to using one particular style of street lamp with clear spectral lines that could be filtered out. If you had an even more sensitive scope, that might be enough to ban light all together.

EDIT:

If the reason needs to be dangerous feeling, just introduce some danger that the observatory is vital to counteract. The system has numerous extinction-event-threatening asteroids or comets in play. You have the tech to readily swat them before they hit, if you can detect them in time. However, until you complete the infrastructure to be able to build another, then complete the additional scope itself, the only telescope you have that can do a good enough job of tracking them to get the job done, is one that came with the impactor, and is unable to be moved from the site. Likewise, can't move the city, it's also dependent on the wreck.

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  • $\begingroup$ About shutting down city lights is no problem, the observatory is a good idea but lacks the danger point. $\endgroup$ – JKK1111 May 9 '15 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JKK1111 Oh, it needs to have some sense of danger? Perhaps you might want to edit your question. I didn't get that feel from what I read. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 9 '15 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ Just introduce some danger that the observatory is vital to counteract. The system has numerous extinction-event-threatening asteroids or comets in play. You have the tech to readily swat them before they hit, if you can detect them in time. However, until you complete the infrastructure to be able to build another, then complete the additional scope itself, the only telescope you have that can do a good enough job of tracking them to get the job done, is one that came with the impactor, and is unable to be moved from the site. Likewise, can't move the city, it's also dependent on the wreck. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Najmon May 10 '15 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MatthewNajmon That's beautiful work! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 10 '15 at 5:00
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    $\begingroup$ @blaizor Indeed. Or rogue planets. Or a nearby quasar that sometimes blasts the place with gamma, and the scope in the ship is built into the FTL drive, and can use that FTL mechanism to give enough warning to put up shields that would be too draining to run continuously (the quasar has an erratic wobble, and while prediction will be possible eventually, the mapping out hasn't been completed yet). There are many possibilities for why the telescope has to be kept un-blinded at all costs, the meteors thing was intended merely as an example. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Najmon May 10 '15 at 5:45
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There are cities, today, which suffer from nighttime illumination: those close to the Arctic Cycle. The cities of Iceland or Scandinavia for example. Our bodies are conditioned for a specific light cycle, and it turns out that both over-exposure and under-exposure create troubles.

Now, it may be that for some reason the population of this city has never adapted to nighttime illumination. It was not needed in the past, and the lack of genetic mixing due to the isolation of the island means that while the world population at large mostly adapted, they never did.

A couple full moon days a month are not enough to have a large impact (although people get more sleep deprived and thus aggressive), but month-long nighttime illumination would result in chaos, and therefore a black-out is enforced.

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Tie the stars into your religion, and make it a state religion to boot.

Maybe have the veneration of your ancestors to be the core of the religion, and those who have passed are now the points of light. The stars ability to benefit and watch over you are directly related to your ability to see them. This could work out as a perversion of the first people to land in the wreckage looking to the stars for potential rescuers. You would need to let this stew for a while, like several generations.

The brightest stars are the deities. Their ability to bless and influence is also tied to visibility. Observatories and Telescopes become places of worship

Under these circumstances you are going to have a society that is very night lighting averse. Further reinforce with city ordinances for uncontrolled light sources after sundown.

It would help if the bulk of the local predators are not nocturnal. We began to make light because of fear, and many of our strongest predators are also active at night. If you change this bit of local Fauna to be day hunters, people would have less reason to fear the dark, making the religion easier to take.

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  • $\begingroup$ Think an enemy would attack at night and stuff and wipe them out maybe? $\endgroup$ – FreeElk Apr 25 '17 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeElk that might get into available tech levels. If they have access to ancient but still operational night vision goggles, then night attacks go down. If the religion is local, night marauding enemies could have issues because the locals would be up later for religious observances AND would not be doing things to spoil their own night vision, putting them on equal footing in the dark $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Apr 25 '17 at 17:09

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