If you looked at bright Harvest Moon last night, you might have noticed a brilliant star closer to the horizon. This is the planet Jupiter, which is at its closest and brightest in decades. Besides the moon, Jupiter is plainly visible at night for Northern Hemisphere viewers even in light polluted urban areas, and is the brightest object in the sky after the moon.
Uranus is impossible to see with the naked eye, but that planet was in alignment between Jupiter and the moon last night as well. And last night, this astronomical alignment happened to coincide with the autumn equinox.
As of today in the Northern Hemisphere, days are shorter than evenings so it’s time to think about bicycle lights!
I really really really like Light & Motion‘s new commuter lights. The Vis 360 (shown to the right) combines a bright 110 lumen front light, 4 lumen tail light, and amber side markers with integral Li-Ion USB charing battery mounts to your bike helmet in a single $169 package.
Light & Motion balance the weight of the mounted light fore and aft to prevent the helmet tilt problem caused by some other lights I’ve tried, and at 130 grams, you won’t feel the Vis 360 compressing your skull. In their market research, they also learned that many people who otherwise might wear helmets think helmet mounted lights often look ‘dorky,’ so they worked to make the look of these helmet lights a little more streamlined.
Light and Motion’s Vis 180 tail light ensures visibility to the rear with a brilliant 35 lumens of red light — compare that against under 4 lumens for Planet Bike’s popular Superflash or Princeton Tec Swerve tail lights. I think the only brighter tail lights currently on the market are DiNotte‘s 400L and 140L taillights. Like the other L&M commuter lights, the Li-Ion batteries charge through a standard cell phone micro USB cable.
Light & Motion CEO Dan Emerson likes to show this photo comparing the Vis 180’s beam against Planet Bike’s Superflash. The bright red lighting in this photo, including the illuminated wheel and rider on the other bike, comes from the Vis 180 tail light.
The key new product from Nite Rider are “cordless” versions of their LED headlights. The MiNewt 150 and MiNewt 250 (the model numbers indicate lumens) are each a single piece of hardware with no battery cable — the LiIon recharchable batteries are contained within the light itself. NiteRider has also increased the brightness of their headlights.
If you need more light than that, Cygolite introduced their new top of the line Centauri 1000 headlight. This dual beam LED headline shines a brilliant 1,000 lumens, which is roughly the same brightness as your standard 55 watt car halogen low beam. Rechargeable Li-Ion battery mounts to the bike frame and will drive those beams for 2 hours 45 minutes at high power. The light has four power modes and four different flashing patterns. Centauri-1000 will be available in mid-October with $499 MSRP.