GLOBE at Night Light Pollution

March 16, 2007

Orionforglobe copy

Provided by: Martin Ruzek, USRA
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek

Can you see the stars? Join thousands of students, families and citizen-scientists hunting for stars now through March 21, 2007. The GLOBE at Night project is an international event to observe the nighttime sky and learn more about light pollution around the world. Participants locate the constellation Orion in the night sky, note the dimmest stars visible, and return their observations via a simple web site. The above dusky view of Orion from northeastern Wisconsin reveals stars to about the 5th magnitude.

Light pollution is the illumination of the night sky caused by artificial light sources on the ground (streetlights, billboards, etc.). Both the light and the loss of contrast make it difficult to find fainter stars and nebulae. The amount of outdoor lighting increases as a result of increasing population. As cities and suburban areas grow, the number of lights at night also increases. Lights, contrast, and glare all impact the number of stars that are visible in a given location. Only the brightest stars are visible when there is a lot of nighttime lighting.

GLOBE at Night aims to gather observations from around the world to document the extent of ground lighting and conditions that interefere with observing the night sky. It's a fun and easy way to learn more about maps and the night sky. Find a friend and check out the link below!

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