The idea of this project is to establish a map of "light pollution", the illumination of the night sky caused by artificial light sources on the ground. Light pollution is nuisance to everyone who wants to marvel at the stars, and it can be harmful to the biology and ecology of animals in the wild.
To map the extent of light pollution over the planet, participants of GLOBE at night are just asked to look at the constellation of Orion and report what they see. Yesterday night, what I could see from the patio was something like this:
which means visibility of stars corresponding to a Magnitude 3 Chart. But then, this result may have been skewed a bit, as there was a huge natural source of light pollution - the nearly full moon. To avoid this interference by the moonlight, the actual observation period is scheduled towards the next New Moon, between March 16 and March 28.
So, we all can become "Citizen Scientists", by reporting our view of Orion to the GLOBE at night! I just hope my view will soon be better again than tonight:
Tags: Astronomy, Light Pollution, Citizen Science