Posts Tagged ‘light pollution’

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star! – New App Measures Sky Brightness

Photo: Jeremy Stanley

Photo: Jeremy Stanley

Researchers from the German “Loss of the Night” project have developed an app for Android smart phones, which counts the number of visible stars in the sky. The data from the app will be used by scientists to understand light pollution on a world wide scale.

n natural areas you can see several thousand stars with the naked eye” says Dr. Christopher Kyba, physicist at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Freie Universität. “In Berlin, we can still see several hundred, but the situation in most large cities and world capitals is far worse.”
The smartphone app will evaluate sky brightness, also known as skyglow, on a worldwide scale. It will be an extension to the “GLOBE at Night” citizen science project, which has been running since 2006. This data can be used to map the distribution and changes in sky brightness, and will eventually allow scientists to investigate correlations with health, biodiversity, energy waste and other factors.

“Life evolved periodic changes of bright days and dark nights” says Dr. Annette Krop-Benesch of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). “The introduction of artificial light into the atmosphere is changing ecosystems worldwide, and might even have an impact on our health. Unfortunately, we have very little information about light levels in different habitats at night.”

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NOAO: Dr. Malcolm Smith Receives IDA David Crawford Lifetime Achievement Award

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

On August 29th, the lights went off and the stars turned on during a special event at Beijing Planetarium. As part of the meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Dr. Malcolm Smith, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) was honored for his long and substantial contributions to light pollution abatement on behalf of astronomical observatories and the community at large. Dr. David Silva (NOAO Director) and Bob Parks (International Dark-Sky Association Executive Director) presented Dr. Smith with the IDA David Crawford Lifetime Achievement Award. This award, in honor of the International Dark-Sky Association’s (IDA) co-founder and first executive director, recognizes those who have made substantial effort and change in light pollution abatement education.

The presentation was witnessed by a crowd of 100 people from the International Astronomical Union’s special session on light pollution. At the same event, a planetarium Public Service Announcement “sneak preview” on light pollution, created by Loch Ness Productions for IDA, made its world debut.

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International Dark Sky Week 14 – 20 April, 2012

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Celebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, IDSW has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.

Light pollution is a growing problem. Not only does it have detrimental effects on our views of the night sky, but it also disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.

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Big Bend Designated as International Dark Sky Park

February 8, 2012 2 comments

The stars at night are big and bright in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The park was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Park, one of now just ten in the world. Big Bend National Park (BBNP) came in at the ‘Gold Tier’ level meaning that the skies above the park are free from all but the most minor impacts of light pollution.

Measurements by the National Park Service Night Sky Team show that the Big Bend Region offers the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 states making it a worthy jewel to the worldwide crown of dark sky oases recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

With an area of over 801,000 acres, Big Bend National Park is also the largest International Dark Sky Park to date.

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