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July, 2015

Globe at Night Newsletter

So far in 2015, we have received over 14,700 measurements from 84 countries! This year is Globe at Night’s 10-year anniversary! Can we make it to 20,000 measurements by the end of the year?

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more dark skies news and Globe at Night Spotlights.

Topics in this month’s newsletter:

Upcoming 2015 Campaign Dates

Bootes
Northern Hemisphere
Bootes: July 7-16

Scorpius
Southern Hemisphere
Scorpius: July 7-16

Globe at Night Spotlight

Scott Kardel Our spotlight this month is on Scott Kardel, who left the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) last week to become an assistant professor in astronomy at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. Scott Kardel has contributed in many fantastic ways and has played a crucial role in accomplishing the goals of IDA. Scott Kardel lead the turtle study in Florida, was on the IDA Education Committee and completed over 2 dozen projects in partnership with the Education and Public Outreach group at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). One of these projects included a night sky inventory during National Geographic Society’s BioBlitz in 2011 that found the night sky at Tucson’s city center was a 100 times brighter than the eastern side of the Rincon Mountains. Other notable collaborative achievements came through the IDA Education Committee that he and C. Walker from NOAO were on: creating the free planetarium show and video, “Losing the Dark”, and a gorgeous set of 6 thematic pop-up display banners on how light pollution affects various parts of our lives. Scott also has a great personality and will be missed at IDA!

The 2015 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest Winners

The winners of the 2015 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest have been announced! The winners were announced on June 16th, and they are spectacular! You can see the photos that won the top spots in the two categories “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights” here. The contest was part of collaboration between The World at Night, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and Astronomers Without Borders. The entries this year included around 1,000 fantastic photos from 54 countries. Wonderful job to everyone who participated in the photo contest! In addition to the category winners, there are 70 honorable mentions, which can be seen in this video. You don’t want to miss these awe-inspiring images!

Above the Light Pollution“Above the Light Pollution” by Evgeny Trisko is one of the winning photos in the “Against the Lights” category.

The Enchanted Forest“The Enchanted Forest” by Trifonova Lubov is one of the winning photos in the “Beauty of the Night Sky” category.

Exceptional Data Points

Tokyo, Japan

Check out these measurements that were taken in Tokyo, Japan in June! Awesome job contributing data points Japan. Keep up the good work! Japan now has 465 total data points this year, up from their 331 data points in May. Great work Tokyo!

Globe at Night Podcast

Dark Sky Crusader logo

Did you know that we have a Globe at Night podcast on the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast? Will the Dark Night be able to protect our dark skies from light pollution? Find out by listening to the latest Globe at Night podcast, aired on June 1, as our light pollution heroes aid the Tokyo Police Force catch a purse snatcher using light pollution to hide his crimes! Our next podcast adventure will be aired August 1.

“Over 100” Club 2015 Update

Did you know that there is a Globe at Night “Over 100” club for countries and U.S. States? If your country or state submits over 100 Globe at Night measurements in 2015, you’re in the club!

Our “Over 100” Club members for this month include: United States (4951), Croatia (2219), South Korea (1560), Uruguay (1229), Poland (782), Chile (541), Japan (465), United Kingdom (355), Spain (236), Germany (220), France (204), Canada (196), Australia (131), Puerto Rico (130), Macedonia (112), Costa Rica (111)

Our “Over 100” Club members for states in the U.S.A. include: Michigan (1640), Texas (796), Arizona (477), California (513), and Colorado (166), and Oregon (128).

Good job 2015 “Over 100” Club members! Keep up the great work!

Globe at Night Call-To-Action

Call to action map

Ever wonder what happens to your Globe at Night measurements once you’ve submitted them? Both scientists and citizen-scientists have used them in a variety of projects. Most projects need however multiple data points at the same location over time. This map shows 5,000 locations on Earth where someone made an observation in the past but there hasn’t been a new observation within the last five years. If you can make an observation near to one of these points (or if you have a friend who lives close to one of them), it would be extremely helpful. Also, try taking measurements where no data points have been taken yet! See Global Astronomy Month’s Call-to-Action on behalf of Globe at Night.

2015 Globe at Night Challenge

In 2014, global citizens contributed over 20,000 data points to Globe at Night’s light pollution campaign! We challenge you to beat that number for 2015! So far we have reached 13,740 observations. To reach our goal of over 20,000 by the end of the year, we challenge you to surpass 1000 data points every month! Do your part, as a citizen scientist, to help us reach our data goal and participate in the upcoming 2015 Globe at Night Campaigns. The campaigns will be:

Earth at Night

  • July 7-16
  • August 5-14
  • September 3-12
  • October 3-12
  • November 2-11
  • December 2-11

Astronomers and Drilling Companies Team Up to Fight Light Pollution

McDonald Observatory in West Texas is one of the prime Astronomical observing sites in the United States. It has some of the darkest skies in North America as well as one of the world’s largest telescope- the Hobby-Eberly which is undergoing a $30 million upgrade as part of a project focusing on dark matter. However, a glow from lights just a couple hundred miles away is threatening the darkness and proving to be problematic to research. This light has been getting brighter as more companies are using lighted drilling rigs, towers, and equipment to drill oil from the oilfields in this part of the country.

Light Pollution near McDonald Observatory Light pollution on the horizon from oil fields north of the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis on June 18, 2015.
Photo by: Cooper Neill

Due to ordinances in the counties around the observatory, home and business owners keep their lights to a minimum in an effort to help keep the skies dark for the research being conducted at the Observatory. However, at the drilling sites, the glow has increased by about 30% over the last decade. Luckily, astronomers have found a new ally against light pollution in the petroleum companies themselves! The companies and industry groups have partnered with the observatory in order to educate operators and drillers on reducing their part in light pollution. Stacy Locke, the CEO of Pioneer Energy Services says, about the dark skies, “When I go to West Texas, it’s just something I cherish and appreciate there. Any place that has a dark sky should strive to protect it generally. And those who have lost it should strive to get it back, because it’s just magical.” He continued to say about the observatory, “It’s a gem, and we cannot - we cannot put it in jeopardy. I mean, absolutely can’t be done. It’s too important to the world.” After learning about the problem from the observatories spokesman Bill Wren, Pioneer Energy Services has taken steps to drastically reduce the output light pollution. The other companies, too, are eager to help the situation, and possibly save money themselves, in the long run! What a great collaboration in support of the effort against light pollution. We are so happy to hear about such great work being done. Keep up the good work!

NOAO AURA NSF

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