Citizen Science: GLOBE at Night

[/caption]Are you a fan of Citizen Science? Do you enjoy participating in projects that help researchers and possibly the environment?

GLOBE at Night is one such program! By taking naked-eye observations of the night sky in your area, you can help a world-wide effort to track the effects of light pollution.

Here’s all the info you need in order to participate in GLOBE at Night during 2012.

For starters, what is GLOBE at Night?

The GLOBE at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign designed to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution on our night skies. GLOBE at Night aims to raise awareness by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone.

Light pollution not only threatens our “right to starlight”, but also affects energy consumption, wildlife and health. For the past six years, the GLOBE at Night campaign has been involving people in 115 countries.

Participating in GLOBE at Night requires only five easy steps:

1) Find your latitude and longitude.

2) Find Orion, Leo or Crux by going outside more than an hour after sunset (about 8-10pm local time).

3) Match your nighttime sky to one of the provided magnitude charts.

4) Report your observation.

5) Compare your observation to thousands around the world.

Map of 2011 GLOBE at Night participation. Image Credit: GLOBE at Night / NOAO

You can also use the new web application data submission process. The GLOBE at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive and holds an abundance of background information. The database is usable for comparisons with a variety of other databases, like how light pollution affects the foraging habits of bats.

If you’d like to learn more about GLOBE at Night, visit: http://www.globeatnight.org/ , or the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: GLOBE at Night Kickoff: Seeing the Light.

Ray Sanders

In addition to being a published astronomer specializing in variable stars, Ray Sanders has blogged for Universe Today, and The Planetary Society blog, among others.

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