2015-03-26

Night Watch - Help Measure Light Pollution

Today I am very happy to announce that an article of mine has been selected as cover story in Sky&Telescope magazine: Surveying Skyglow - or Why are Amateurs needed to help measure the ongoing Spreading of Light Pollution. The full article has been published in the May 2015 issue, which is available digitally here.


It might be surprising that amateur observations of skyglow (the brightening of the night sky due to artificial illumination) are still useful in the age of satellite monitoring of our planet. But there are several reasons for this: Foremost, satellites measure from space, and thus cannot capture the visual impression of skyglow on the ground. And then there is the ongoing transition to LED fixtures, which is threatening to make things even worse.

It might be even more surprising that light pollution seems to be decreasing in some areas of several developed countries, as indicated by satellites (read more about this here). Is this a real trend? What are the reasons? Do ordinances to reduce light pollution (e.g. around National Parks) really darken the sky? Only earth-bound measurements can answer these questions.

So at a glance, amateur contributions are: a) needed, b) useful and c) easy to do - there are a lot of new apps that allow almost everyone to measure and submit skyglow measurements using different techniques. 

If you are interested to make a contribution, you might consider buying a copy of the magazine (there's more interesting stuff in it, of course)!

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