Wanna Know How Bad Pollution Can Get? Try Counting Stars in the Night Sky

by Tanya Thomas on  March 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
 Wanna Know How Bad Pollution Can Get? Try Counting Stars in the Night Sky
As part of global awareness activities for the International Year of Astronomy, a worldwide online 'star-counting program' has been initiated. The general public from the program's 110 partner-countries are called to participate in this activity in order to measure the extent of light pollution. National Geographic News has reported that this two-week online campaign, known as 'Globe at Night', will be on from March 16 to March 28.

As part of the campaign, participating public would be expected to go outside at night and count the stars visible in and around the bright constellation Orion.

Participants then match what they can see to online charts of stellar brightness.

Astronomers hope to use this data to determine how much of the night sky has been lost to light pollution and where changes need to be made.

"Sadly, about 60 percent of all Americans do not live in a place where they can see the gorgeous arc of the Milky Way across the sky," said Connie Globe at Night project co-manager at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.

"Since half of the world's population is living in cities and our urban centers continue to grow, we are rapidly losing our ability to see the universe," she added.

"By matching what you see in the sky with one of those charts, you are actually measuring the level of light pollution in your area," she further added.

According to Walker, the Globe at Night project will motivate people to conserve their night sky.

"Although it is a global problem, you can correct it locally by simply changing your lighting habits," she said.

Source: ANI

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