Yaquina Head seen in a new light

Pictured above: the new LED lamp inside of Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which was installed last month. (Courtesy photo)

NEWPORT — Locals may have noticed something different about the Yaquina Head Lighthouse recently: namely, its intensity and the abruptness with which it lights up. This is thanks to a technological leap for the lighthouse: a new LED lamp.

On December 3, 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation Team out of Coos Bay came to Newport to replace the lamp. The lighthouse, which has been lit since August 1873, is the second in the country to install this type of lamp; the other can be found on Long Island in New York. But while the lamp has changed, the Paris-built lens remains the same.

The new light was installed to continue the lighthouse’s efficacy as a navigational tool for mariners. As time has gone on since the initial building of the lighthouse,  “different fuels were used to keep up with technology,” explained acting site manager Katherine Fuller, “and the light today is just one more technological advance.”

Some other specific advantages to the new lamp include less frequently needed maintenance, lower power usage and a longer lamp life — 10 to 15 years of use, as opposed to the last lamp’s single year of life.

The lamp can also be programmed entirely from a computer to change frequency or intensity of the light but, Fuller chuckled, “hopefully no one’s doing that.”

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