The view from my Houston Heights front porch. This study came about by noticing the graceful movement of the wind dancing with a small group of trees, with a mercury vapor street lamp close by. For me it's mesmerizing. I get lost in the motion and the coloring in these images.
A mercury-vapor lamp is a gas discharge lamp that uses an electric arc through vaporized mercury to produce light. The arc discharge is generally confined to a small fused quartz arc tube mounted within a larger borosilicate glass bulb. The outer bulb may be clear or coated with a phosphor; in either case, the outer bulb provides thermal insulation, protection from the ultraviolet radiation the light produces, and a convenient mounting for the fused quartz arc tube.
Mercury vapor lamps are more energy efficient than incandescent and most fluorescent lights, with luminous efficacies of 35 to 65 lumens/watt.Their other advantages are a long bulb lifetime in the range of 24,000 hours and a high intensity, clear white light output. For these reasons, they are used for large area overhead lighting, such as in factories, warehouses, and sports arenas as well as for streetlights. Clear mercury lamps produce white light with a bluish-green tint due to mercury's combination of spectral lines. This is not flattering to human skin color, so such lamps are typically not used in retail stores. "Color corrected" mercury bulbs overcome this problem with a phosphor on the inside of the outer bulb that emits white light. They offer better color rendition than the more efficient high or low-pressure sodium vapor lamps.
They operate at an internal pressure of around one atmosphere and require special fixtures, as well as an electrical ballast. They also require a warm-up period of 4 – 7 minutes to reach full light output. Mercury vapor lamps are becoming obsolete due to the higher efficiency and better color balance of metal halide lamps.