LDR is a special type of resistance whose value depends on the brightness of light which is falling on it. It has resistance of about 1mega ohm when in total darkness, but a resistance of only about 5k ohms when brightness illuminated. It responds to a large part of light spectrum.
Needs no manual operation for switching ON and OFF. When there is a need of light it automatically switches ON. When darkness rises to a certain level then sensor circuit gets activated and switches ON and when there is other source of light i.e. daytime, the street light gets OFF. The sensitiveness of the street light can also be adjusted. In our project we have used four L.E.D as a symbol of street lamp, but for high power switching one can connect Relay (electromagnetic switch) at the output of pin 3 of I.C 555 that will make easy to turn ON/OFF any electrical appliances that are connected through relay.
When light falls on the LDR then its resistance decreases which results in increase of the voltage at pin 2 of the IC 555. IC 555 has got comparator inbuilt, which compares between the input voltage from pin2 and 1/3rd of the power supply voltage. When input falls below 1/3rd then output is set high otherwise it is set low. Since in brightness, input voltage rises so we obtain no positive voltage at output of pin 3 to drive relay or LED, besides in poor light condition we get output to energize.