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The GLOBE at Night Program: an NSN Teleconference on Local Leaders in Dark Sky Advocacy Connie Walker National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Tucson, Arizona and Chuck Bueter www.nightwise.org, Granger, Indiana Light pollution is a global issue with local solutions…

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the globe at night program an nsn teleconference on local leaders in dark sky advocacy

The GLOBE at Night Program:an NSN Teleconference on Local Leaders in Dark Sky Advocacy

Connie Walker

National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)

Tucson, Arizona

and

Chuck Bueter

www.nightwise.org, Granger, Indiana

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

if you have ever been curious about
If you have ever been curious about…
  • Why should we care about light pollution?
  • How light pollution can be minimized?
  • How do we measure light pollution?
  • How do we expand this citizen-scientist experience to our outreach programs?
  • And how can we be involved with the International Year of Astronomy 2009?

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

here is what we will discuss
Here is what we will discuss….
  • Types of light pollution (briefly)
  • A little on lighting
  • Light pollution education kits
  • A little on shielding
  • GLOBE at Night
    • classic version
    • digital version
  • The International Year of Astronomy 2009

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide5
GlareToo much background light; can you see the stop sign in the foreground? Can you read the sign below it?

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

light trespass would you be able to sleep if your bedroom window faced this neighbor s light
Light TrespassWould you be able to sleep if your bedroom window faced this neighbor’s light?

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide7
Sky GlowLots of light scattering off particles in the air, giving the appearance of a glowing sky…See any stars?

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

typical car lot much better
Typical car lot? Much better!

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide9

Now you see the person…sort of…

Here we see a student on the walkway.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

quality lighting
Quality lighting…..
  • Maximizes the desired effects by minimizing the adverse effects:
    • Decreases glare, light trespass, sky glow
    • Increases safety and security
    • Conserves energy
    • Respects the habits & habitats of animals & plants
    • Maintains human health
      • Circadian rhythm (can impact immunology.)
      • Sleep disorders
      • The aging or disabled eye
      • Visibility (e.g., contrast)
    • Provides good (nighttime) ambiance

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

keys to quality lighting
Keys to Quality Lighting

- See the effect, not the source.

- Shine the light down.

- No glare.

- Light only where and when needed.

- Don’t over light.

- Use energy efficient sources.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

unshielded fixture
Unshielded Fixture

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

shielded fixture
Shielded Fixture
  • Minimizes glare.
  • Minimizes light directed upward.
  • Minimizes light trespass.
  • Controls the light output.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide15

Not bad, but a good deal is wasted,

and the glare is too high for comfort.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide16

An optimal design! Note the added light

near the entrances where there is more need.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

globe at night light pollution education kit
GLOBE at Night Light Pollution Education Kit
  • 2 “Mini-lights” with batteries (Take out plastic disc between batteries.)
  • 1 white paper cube with holes on 2 sides (i.e., mini-planetarium)
  • 1 white PVC cap + 2 toy figures
  • 1 book called “There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars”
  • 1 flashlight with a red balloon (to preserve one’s dark adaptation)
  • 2 D batteries for the flashlight
  • 1 DVD called “Saving the Night”
  • 1 “Our Globe at Night” poster
  • 10 GLOBE at Night postcards

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

a demonstration on shielding
A Demonstration on Shielding

Using the items in your Light Pollution Education Kit:

  • Make sure you are in a very dark room with a low ceiling and a white surface.
  • Unscrew the reflectors from both “Mini-lights” and turn 1 on (“candle mode”).
  • Place the bulb top of the “Mini-light” barely into the big hole at the bottom of the white paper cube.
  • With the room lights off, project the “stars” from the white paper cube onto the ceiling.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

a demonstration on shielding continued
A Demonstration on Shielding,continued…
  • Using the 2nd mag light as a “street light”, place it on a table and turn it on.
  • What do you notice about the number of stars?
  • Now place the PVC cap (or another shield) above the 2nd mag light to represent a shielded streetlight.
  • What difference do you notice with and without the shield?

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

why should we care a review
Why should we care? (a review)
  • We save money and energy;
  • We improve safety for motorists and pedestrians;
  • We increase security and the sense of well-being;
  • We benefit animal habitats;
  • We improve the quality of life;
  • We lessen greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming;
  • We preserve the starry night.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

what can we do about this
What can we do about this?

“A lack of awareness, rather than specific resistance, is generally the biggest problem in controlling light pollution.” - Kohei Narisada and Duco Schreuder

One path: Enable citizen-scientists to measure the quality of their local skies and share their results with their communities.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

the globe at night program
The GLOBE at Night Program
  • Designed to aid teaching about the impact of artificial lighting on local environments, and the ongoing loss of a dark night sky as a natural resource for much of the world’s population.
  • Citizen-scientists recorded the brightness of the night sky by matching its appearance toward the constellation Orion with 1 of 7 stellar maps of different limiting magnitudes.
  • Measurements were submitted on-line and resulting maps of all observations were created.
  • March 2006: 18,000 citizen-scientists made 4600 observations from 96 countries the inaugural year!
  • March 2007: An increase of 85% to 8500 observations

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

two flavors of globe at night
Two Flavors of GLOBE at Night
  • The “classic” GLOBE at Night observations that anyone can have fun doing with their unaided eyes.
  • A new effort to obtain precise measurements of the night sky using digital sky-brightness meters, especially to identify and preserve urban dark-sky oases.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide24

http://www.globe.gov/GaN/

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

to get the public started
To Get the Public Started…

Step #1. Find Your Latitude & Longitude

  • GPS units
  • Download “Google Earth” at http://www.earth.google.com
  • http://www.itouchmap.com/?r=v&st=l2

Step #2. How do I find Orion?

  • Determine the darkest area where most stars visible.
  • Wait 10 minutes for eyes to adapt to the dark.

http://www.globe.gov/globeatnight/observe_latlong.html

http://www.globe.gov/globeatnight/observe_finder.html

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide26
Step #3. Match Night Sky to a Magnitude Chart.
  • Estimate cloud coverage.
  • Fill out the observation sheet. Downloadable from Family Packet at http://www.globe.gov/GaN/Gan2008ActivityPacket_Family.pdf.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide27

http://www.globe.gov/globeatnight/report.html

/report.cfm

Step #4. Report

observations on-line

Observe anytime between Feb. 25 - Mar. 8, 2008

Do it again from a different location!

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

step 5 compare your observation s to thousands around the world

Limiting Magnitude 7

Limiting Magnitude 6

Limiting Magnitude 5

Limiting Magnitude 4

Limiting Magnitude 3

Limiting Magnitude 2

Limiting Magnitude 1

Step #5. Compare Your Observation(s) to Thousands Around the World

The darker dots represent darker skies & the brighter dots represent brighter skies.

http://www.globe.gov/GaN/analyze.html

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

zooming in with map viewer
Zooming in with “Map Viewer”

85 miles

42 miles

5 miles

11 miles

21 miles

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

ancillary materials for the public
Ancillary Materials for the Public

http://www.globe.gov/GaN/learn.html

  • Magnitude of Stars
  • Finding Orion (Interactive Tool)
  • Orion Mythology
  • Light Pollution
  • Apparent Magnitude Changes with Light Pollution and Affects of Latitude Change with Orientation of Orion (LP Interactive Tool)

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

globe at night a new twist
GLOBE at Night A New Twist
  • How can we expand the citizen-scientist experience?
  • How can we make it more scientific?
  • How can we make it more precise?
  • How can we measure changes over time?
  • Can we map a whole city in detail and identify oases?

We decided to take advantage of a portable sky-brightness meter to take the campaign to another level.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

the sky quality meter
The Sky Quality Meter

Press start button here:

Light enters here:

Read-out numbers here:

Sky-quality meters (SQMs) are built by Unihedron in Ottawa, Canada.

Readings are repeatable to +/- 0.1 magnitude/square arcsec (Dr. Patrick Seitzer at U. Michigan).

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

the sqm is easy to use
The SQM is Easy to Use!

Point the SQM directly above (at the zenith). The SQM sensor is on the same side as the display.

The SQM should be held at or above head level so that shadows or reflections from your body do not interfere with the reading.

Avoid using in areas that are shaded by trees or buildings.

  • After you press the button to take a reading, the SQM will beep each second while it is accumulating photons. The beeping will stop once the reading is ready to be viewed, face the SQM towards you at this time to note the reading.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide34

Magnitudes and Sky Quality Meter Readings

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

what to watch out for when using the sqm
What to Watch Out For When Using the SQM
  • The temperature in °C then °F is displayed when you press and hold the button a second time.
  • Also the model and serial number is displayed.
  • The meter readings are somewhat temperature dependent.
    • Leave meter outside a few minutes before taking measurements depending on the temperature differential.
  • ALSO: Avoid streetlights and buildings.
    • Be at least as far from them as they are high.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

data input for sqm
Data Input for SQM
  • SQM Serial # 
  • Date and Local Time    
  • Latitude and Longitude
  • Meter Reading (from sky brightness meter)

OPTIONAL INPUT:

  • Participant's Name
  • Cloud Cover and Moon Phase   
  • Comments on whether near a light, building tree; sky conditions, etc.
  • Outside Temperature, etc

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

slide37
http://www.nightwise.org/form3.htm

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

globe at night wants you
GLOBE at Night Wants You!
  • Participate in
    • unaided eye observations and
    • sky brightness meter measurements
  • With your kit and SQM:
    • become a local coordinator of teachers/students who would take measurements & report them on-line.
  • By 2009, quantitative approaches will be extended to other countries to make a worldwide major impact during the International Year of Astronomy!

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

the future 2009
The Future: 2009
  • GLOBE at Night campaign will expand to more countries under auspices of International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009
  • “Dark Skies are a Universal Resource”: 1 of 9 major US IYA themes
  • US IYA GOAL: “To offer an engaging astronomy experience to every person the country, and cultivate partnerships to sustain public interest.”
  • Coordinate with 3 commissions from the International Astronomical Union Division XII:
    • Astronomy Education & Development
    • Protection of Existing & Potential Observatory Site
    • Communicating Astronomy with the Public

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

contact information
Contact Information

Connie Walker

cwalker@noao.edu

520-318-8535

National Optical

Astronomy Observatory

950 N. Cherry Ave.

Tucson, AZ 85719

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night

sky quality meter outreach kit give away
Sky Quality Meter Outreach Kit Give-Away
  • GLOBE at Night will be giving away five more outreach kits at the end of the Q&A session.
  • To qualify, you must be a member of a NSN club that has not already won. Previous winners are:

Astronomical Society of Kansas CityAstronomical Society of Rowan CountyBerks County Amateur Astronomical SocietyBYU Astronomical SocietyCelestial NorthEstes Valley Astronomical SocietyKansas Astronomical ObserversKopernik Astronomical SocietyLatin School & Chicago Sidewalk Astronomy ClubMarquette Astronomical Society

Miami Valley Astronomical SocietyMorgan County Observatory FoundationNorth Houston Astronomy ClubORION, Inc.Oglebay Astronomy ClubSouth Bay Astronomical SocietyTucson Amateur Astronomy AssociationTwin City Amateur AstronomersWarren Rupp ObservatoryWestminster Astronomical Society, Inc.

NSN Telecon on GLOBE at Night