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Dark Sky Meter
The Dark Sky Meter (available for iPhones) allows citizen scientists to contribute to a global map of nighttime light pollution.
The lite version is free and gives you a rough estimate of the night sky brightness.
The Pro version of the app also charts weather conditions and cloud cover so you can take readings at optimal times. The app is as easy to use as taking a picture, and is a fun way to learn about your night sky.
The Results are live and visible for everyone on a global light pollution map generated by the app users. Visit darkskymeter.com to see the map.
Loss of the Night
How many stars can you see where you live? The Loss of the Night App (available for Android devices) challenges citizen scientists to identify as many stars as they can in order to measure light pollution. The app is fun and easy to use, and helps users learn constellations as they contribute to a global real-time map of light pollution.
Stargazing is a fantastic way to engage young scientists, but this ancient past time has become increasingly difficult in growing urban areas. Help scientists understand the effects of light pollution and learn about your night sky!
You don't need to leave the city to take part, in fact, the app is designed specifically for use in very polluted areas.
The more stars you observe, and the more often you run the app, the more precise the data for your location will become. As the seasons change so do the stars in the sky, and since there aren't so many very bright stars it is extremely helpful if urban users do measurements in each season.
Salamander Crossing Brigades
As the earth thaws and spring rains drench New Hampshire, thousands of salamanders, frogs, and toads make their way to vernal pools to breed. Many are killed when their journeys take them across busy roads. Each spring, AVEO trains volunteers to serve as Salamander Crossing Guards at amphibian road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region. Volunteers count migrating amphibians and safely usher the animals across roads during one or more “Big Nights.”
GLOBE at Night
Six out of 10 people in the US have never seen our Milky Way Galaxy arch across their night sky from where they live. And the problem of light pollution is quickly getting worse. Within a couple of generations in the U.S., only the national parks will have dark enough skies to see the Milky Way.
Too much outdoor lighting not only affects being able to see the stars, but also wastes energy and money, about 2 to 10 billion dollars a year. And it has been shown to cause sleep disorders in people and to disrupt the habits of animals like newly hatched sea turtles that try to find their way back into the ocean but are disoriented by streetlights.
Light pollution may be a global problem, but the solutions are local. To help people “see the light”, an international star-hunting program for students, teachers, and the general public was created called GLOBE at Night. GLOBE at Night is now in its 6th year and is hosted by the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
For 2014 we are collecting your observations during all 12 months of the year! See the dates below and plan to get involved.
Through this program, children and adults are encouraged to reconnect with the night sky and learn about light pollution and in doing so, become citizen scientists inspired to protect this natural resource. Teachers like the GLOBE at Night program, because it lends itself to cross-curricular learning: astronomy, geography, history, literature, and writing. The possibilities are great.
Lunar Impact Monitoring
NASA needs your help to monitor the rates and sizes of large meteoroids striking the moon's dark side. By monitoring the moon for impacts, NASA can define the meteoroid environment and identify the risks that meteors pose to future lunar exploration. This data will help engineers design lunar spacecraft, habitats, vehicles, and extra-vehicular activity suits to protect human explorers from the stresses of the lunar environment.
Project MERCCURI! Microbes in Space!
Project MERCCURI: Space Station Microbiome and Microbes in Space
Project MERCCURI is a collaboration of UC Davis/microBEnet with the Science Cheerleaders, Space Florida, Nanoracks, NASA, and SciStarter.com. There are three components to the project:
1) Space Station Microbiome. Collecting microbial swab samples from the International Space Station (ISS) and examining the microbial communities therein (via 16S sequencing)
2) Swabbing Sports and Space Events. Collecting swab samples around the country at sporting and other public events from cell phones, shoes, and various surfaces (e.g. keyboards, screens, railings etc.) These will be used for comparison to the ISS samples and for a look at microbial biogeography across a national scale. In collaboration with Jack Gilbert at the Earth Microbiome Project and the Science Cheerleaders who will be organizing and leading the sampling events.
3) Microbial Playoffs. A microbial growth competition on the ISS. A subset of samples collected at public events will be cultured at UC Davis and the “best” microbe from each environment will be sent to the ISS for a “microbial playoffs” competition via Space X on February 22, 2014. A duplicate of this experiment will be conducted on earth and the results compared.