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The fight against a different kind of pollution: Capitol participates in Globe at Night campaign
March 24, 2010
If you went outside tonight and looked up, could you see the stars?
The Globe at Night project is an annual two-week international campaign in March, during which people from all over the world record the brightness of their night sky by matching its appearance toward the constellation Orion with star maps of progressively fainter stars. Participants then submit their measurements on-line and a few weeks later, organizers release a map of light-pollution levels worldwide.
Through Capitol’s Center for Space Science Education and Public Outreach, several members of the faculty and staff and Space Operations Institute students contributed to this year’s campaign. Using sky quality meters, they measured the brightness of the night sky in magnitudes per square arc second at their own homes around Maryland, taking readings for two or three nights to get the best results. Temperature, longitude and latitude were also measured and entered onto the Globe at Night’s website database.
Associate Professor Angela Walters commented, “this area of the world is usually an underrepresented area as far as readings go, so we knew that our readings would help the cause this year.”
Over the last four Globe at Night campaigns, volunteers from over 100 nations have contributed a total of 35,000 measurements. A record number of nearly 45% of these measurements came from the 2009 campaign as part of the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy. This year’s project, held from March 3-16, garnered more than 15,400 measurements from around the world.
“It’s wonderful that we can be a part of this international project, as it’s something that our students and staff can use to further our efforts in education and public outreach in the area of space and astronomy,” said Dr. Michael G. Gibbs, vice president for advancement and director of Capitol’s SSEPO.
For more information on Globe at Night, visit these links: