NCAR/UCAR/UOP

Atmospheric Research - NCAR & UCAR
photo Home Our Organization Community Tools News Center Our Research Education Libraries Community Tools
Contacts for This Release
   
UCAR Communications
   

UCAR News Release

Thousands of Schoolchildren Around the World to Help Map Light Pollution in March

March 1, 2007

BOULDER—Schoolchildren around the world will gaze skyward after dark from March 8 to 21, looking for specific constellations and then sharing their observations through the Internet. The initiative, called GLOBE at Night, will help scientists map light pollution around the world while educating participants about the stars.

Now in its second year, GLOBE at Night is a special project of The GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment), a worldwide science and education program managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and Colorado State University (CSU). Last year, more than 18,000 people from 96 countries on every continent except Antarctica reported a total of more than 4,500 observations. This year's event promises to be even bigger.

world

GLOBE at Night is offering participants around the world the chance to contribute data on light pollution. Click here or on the image to view observations of the night sky recorded by families and children who took part in GLOBE at Night last year.

"This is an exciting event for schoolchildren, families, and citizen scientists across the country and around the world," says Kirsten Meymaris of UCAR's Office of Education and Outreach, who is the GLOBE at Night project coordinator. "It brings families together to enjoy the night sky and to become involved in science. And it also raises awareness about the impact of artificial lighting on our ability to see the stars."

GLOBE at Night will last two weeks to improve the odds of observers experiencing at least one cloud-free night. Children in overcast areas who cannot see stars will be able to input data about cloud conditions instead.

Threat to stargazing

Bright outdoor lighting at night is a growing problem for astronomical observing programs around the world. By having students in many places hunt for the same constellation, such as Orion, GLOBE at Night will allow students to compare their observations with what others see, giving them a sense of how light pollution varies from place to place. The young observers will also learn more about the economic and geographic factors that control light pollution in their communities and around the world.

magnitude

These images show the extent to which ambient light can affect our views of the nighttime sky. In the Magnitude 1 chart, the Orion Constellation is almost completely obscured. In the Magnitude 7 chart, however, numerous stars are clearly visible. (Images courtesy UCAR Office of Education and Outreach.)

GLOBE at Night was inspired in part by a similar project carried out in Arizona and Chile by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the Centro de Apoyo a la Didactica de la Astronomia, which are cosponsoring GLOBE at Night. Other cosponsors are the GIS software and technology firm ESRI and the UCAR-based Windows to the Universe program.

More details on GLOBE at Night are available on the project Web site.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under primary sponsorship by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

GLOBE is an interagency program funded by NASA and NSF, and supported by the U.S. Department of State. It is implemented through a cooperative agreement among NASA, UCAR, and CSU. Internationally, GLOBE is a partnership between the United States and more than 100 countries.

Related sites on the World Wide Web 

GLOBE at Night

Windows to the Universe

Contacts for This Release
   
UCAR Communications
www.ucar.edu/news/contacts.shtml
   

The contents of this page are preserved for archival purposes. Information and links may be out of date. For the latest NCAR and UCAR news, please visit www.ucar.edu

*News media terms of use: Reproduction to illustrate this story and nonprofit use permitted with proper attribution as provided above and acceptance of UCAR's terms of use. Find more images in the UCAR Digital Image Library.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Untitled Document