Abstract

Light pollution (LP) can disrupt and/or degrade the health of all living things, as well as, their environments. The goal of my research at the NOAO was to check the accuracy of the citizen science LP reporting systems entitled: Globe at Night (GaN), Dark Sky Meter (DSM), and Loss of the Night (LoN). On the GaN webpage, the darkness of the night sky (DotNS) is reported by selecting a magnitude chart. Each magnitude chart has a different density/number of stars around a specific constellation. The greater number of stars implies a darker night sky. Within the DSM iPhone application, a user must put the iPhone above his/her head, orient the camera up towards the sky, while ensuring the phone is level, before telling the application to take a snapshot of and measure the DotNS. LoN is an Android application, which asks the user to try and locate at least seven different stars in the night sky. The stars vary in magnitude of brightness. Once an observer specifies whether or not they can see the stars, then the LoN application calculates the DotNS. All DSM, LoN, and GaN measurements were juxtaposed against handheld and stationary night sky quality meter readings, which are scientifically calibrated to exhibit minimal error. Nevertheless, all three applications offer Dark Sky conservationists a window into an extraordinary future. With students, teachers, and community members recording LP data internationally, more sites can be identified as either: Dark Sky certified or in need of night sky conservation/education/legislation.

Disciplines

Algebraic Geometry | Applied Mathematics | Applied Statistics | Astrophysics and Astronomy | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Education | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Sciences | Geography | Life Sciences | Mathematics | Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Nature and Society Relations | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Other Environmental Sciences | Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy | Statistical Models | Statistics and Probability | Sustainability

Mentor

Dr. Constance Walker

Lab site

National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).

 

URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/290

 

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