Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

How dark is your sky?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

27-02-2008 13:45 CST


The GLOBE Program is asking people around the world to participate in a project to map light pollution from February 25 through March 8. All you have to do is go outdoors after dark -- you can go right outside your house or report from any location you choose -- and look up at Orion. Then you visit the GLOBE website's reporting form and click a button next to the sky chart that looks like Orion from your location. I've gone outside both Monday and Tuesday and it looks like I can see down to just a little fainter than magnitude 4 from my street, which has bright streetlights every 100 feet or so. The page encourages you to take observations on multiple nights, reporting even if it's cloudy, and also to try multiple observations on one night from locations separated by at least a kilometer.

Why do this? More and more of humanity is living in cities with severe light pollution, which means that they know less and less about the sky -- and, perhaps, have less awareness of Earth as a planet. Many people have never seen the Milky Way, and don't realize that light pollution is not only an ecological issue (it can play havoc with such things as bird migration and the habits of nocturnal animals), it's an economic one. Much of light pollution represents wasted light, from fixtures that send as much light up into the sky as down onto the ground.

Anyway, please help out the GLOBE program by reporting the level of light pollution in your area sometime before March 8!

Thanks to Phil Plait for the tip.

See other posts from February 2008


Or read more blog entries about:


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 26,400 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition

Featured Images

Soyuz TMA-18M liftoff
Soyuz TMA-18M launch crew
Soyuz TMA-18M
Ceres map with nomenclature as of August 2015
More Images

Featured Video

Bill Nye & Neil DeGrasse Tyson on a Roof

Watch Now

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!