Last chance to participate in the GLOBE at Night Campaign!

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Earth at night. Composite image by C. Mayhew & R.
Simmon.
Courtesy of NASA.gov.

Earthlights_dmsp
Are you a stargazer? Act quickly! Unfortunately, a majority
of Americans will never have the opportunity to see a sky unobstructed by
ambient light and air pollution, illuminated by stars and not artificial
fluorescents. This fact is the impetus behind the GLOBE at Night Campaign.

“GLOBE at Night” is an engagement initiative to inspire
people to experience the worlds beyond our own wonderful world by observing the sky at night. The public is encouraged to actively participate in
this grassroots scientific effort to chart the impacts of light pollution on
our views of the cosmos. Easy instructions explain how to submit nighttime sky
observations to the GLOBE organization, which undertakes the task of compiling
and analyzing data from viewers around the Earth each year. Visit the website for more information on how to to participate.
There are great extension resources for teachers, students, and parents,
including family activity packets in six languages and e-postcards to send to
your friends!

This year’s observation period ends Saturday, March 8, and
views are likely to become increasingly clouded in the future as the world
continues to urbanize. In fact, 2008 marks the first time in history when over
half of Earth’s population will be living in cities!

I feel lucky to have had an opportunity to witness a seriously
star-saturated sky a few summers ago during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Breathtaking vistas
and charismatic megafauna greeted us at every turn along the park’s loop road
during daylight hours. One evening we crossed back through the North entrance
after a trip out to small-town Montana.
Gazing sleepily out the car windows, we were collectively awakened by the
dazzling twinkle of the starlit sky. Hailing from suburban eastern Massachusetts, we had never seen a sight
quite like it. Immediately, I understood why Montana’s state epithet is “Big Sky
Country,” and what the ancient explorers had been describing in the many
colorful accounts I had read. It was truly awe-inspiring–I wish everyone could have
such an experience!

Quick pick:
Another fortnight feature is rapidly approaching the end of the road–the U.K.’s Fairtrade Fortnight ends Sunday, March
9. Visit the Fairtrade Foundation’s
website
to learn more about environmentally, socially, geographically responsible fair-trade products.

Sarah for My Wonderful World.

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4 responses to “Last chance to participate in the GLOBE at Night Campaign!

  1. SHED LIGHT ON LIGHT POLLUTION!
 JOIN THE GLOBE AT NIGHT CAMPAIGN, 16-28 MARCH 2009!
    More than one-fifth of the world population, two-thirds of the United States population and one half of the European Union population are unable to see the stars in our Milky Way galaxy arch across a pristinely dark sky. With half the world’s population now living in cities, this problem is only getting worse. Yet you can easily be part of a local solution to a global problem.
    Shed light on light pollution! Take a few minutes to monitor your local night sky brightness, place your measurement on-line noting your location, date and time and within a few weeks see a map of light pollution levels worldwide.
    Be part of the “GLOBE at Night” citizen-science campaign and make a world of difference! The GLOBE at Night campaign runs March 16-28, 2009. Help preserve our natural heritage for generations to come. Find out more information at the GLOBE at Night web site (www.globe.gov/GaN). GLOBE at Night is an official International Year of Astronomy Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone project.
    To learn more about other IYA2009 Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone projects and the effects of light pollution, visit the links on http://www.darkskiesawareness.org.

  2. Was that near either Rotorua, Taupo, or Ohakune? I wanted to make it to that region of the North Island when I traveled to New Zealand, but didn’t have the time!

  3. I had the wonderful opportunity to observe the southern sky at night from the North Island of New Zealand. It was spectacular, with the stars seemingly jumping out of the sky. There was very little light pollution in the center of the island where we were staying. The night seemed particularly dark as a result, contributing to the unusually bright appearance of the stars.

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