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Citizen scientists: GLOBE at Night needs you!

March 16, 2009

Orion constellation (image from NASA)Those of you interested in astronomy and/or concerned about light pollution might like to know that today, 16 March 2009, is the start of GLOBE at Night (GaN) – a global initiative for UNESCO’s International Year of Astronomy 2009. GaN is a citizen science project that anyone can participate in: school children, parents, teachers, enthusiasts… anyone.

It simply involves viewing the magnificent Orion constellation with the naked eye from 16-28 March (or up to 7th April, if you like) 2009 in the evening after sunset, comparing what you see to a chart and reporting the results to the GaN website. It’s that simple!

Not only does it get you out of the house and under the night sky, but it gives you a chance to participate in science on a global scale.

As the Dark Skies Awareness website says:

At least 2 out of 5 Americans, 1 out of 6 Europeans and 1 out of 10 people worldwide have never seen 90% of the stars in our night sky. With half the world’s population now living in cities, this problem is only getting worse.

And read the first comment of this New Scientist article to place it into perspective.

The project’s function is to raise public awareness in the astonishing amount of light and electricity we waste for no useful purpose. So join in GLOBE at Night and the universe will open up to you… quite literally!

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