GLOBE@Night at Lawrence Hall of Science 03.21.09

by Eric on March 4, 2009

March 21, 2009
8:00 pmto10:00 pm

Possibly the most insidious manmade problem ever to plague the astronomical community (other than that whole confusion with astrology thing) is the issue of light pollution. As communities grow, they tend to require a lot of light what with the minigolf, tennis courts, and prevention of crime. Due to suburban sprawl, those shimmering tendrils of civilization begin to impinge on what used to be remote observing locations.

But light pollution can be mitigated through proper lighting technology and judicious restrictions on lamp placement and timing. This tends to become a sticky political issue for astronomers — who wants to be accused of potentially decreasing safety simply to satisfy the whims of pesky “star-gazers?”

A good way to engage communities in the search for solutions is to get them involved in seeing the problem firsthand. Enter the GLOBE@Night project: a relatively simple experiment designed to collect data on light pollution from around the world. During the period of March 16-28, observers will note which of the stars in the constellation Orion (one of the easiest to recognize Winter/Spring constellations)is visible and then record the results at the GLOBE@Night website.

 As part of their ongoing support for the International Year Of Astronomy, the Lawrence Hall of Science will be holding a special GLOBE@Night event on March 21 from 8-10pm (weather permitting).

For more information, visit the Lawrence Hall of Science IYA site. To get detailed instructions, star charts, and to enter log observation data, check out GLOBE@Night.

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