As streetlights the world over change from sodium lamps to LED, scientists wonder what this will mean for the artificial skyglow over cities. Because not every city lights the same way, the best way to understand whether skies worldwide are getting brighter or darker is to study the observations of citizen scientists. The new project “Myskyatnight”, led by the GFZ and the IGB in Germany, invites interested people from all over the world to examine changes in their night sky. The goal is not only for the participants to collect data. Instead, the new web-based platform makes all data available to the public, and offers tools to visualize and analyze the measurements.
Christopher Kyba is a researcher at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). He studies light pollution – too much light at the wrong time and place. He initiated the “Loss of the Night” app project in 2013, where citizen scientists from around the world send in their observations of sky brightness by determining the number of visible stars in the night sky.
On this screenshot the data of a user’s entire “Loss of the Night” app observation is displayed. You can see which stars the participant was able to see.
“The data from these observations are crucial for our science. We urgently need them to evaluate how skyglow is changing worldwide”, says Kyba. This research cannot be done with satellites, because they measure the light emitted upward, not the light experienced on the ground by humans and other living creatures.
A further complication is that the current satellites are not sensitive to the blue part of the visible spectrum. So far, only professional scientists have analyzed the skyglow data taken by citizen scientists. Kyba wanted to change that, and put the data and tools to analyze it back into the hands of the public.
Citizen science on a new level
Together with the company Interactive Scape GmbH in Berlin (www.interactive-scape.com), Kyba developed the web-based application “myskyatnight.com”.
The data from the “Loss of the Night” app and two other citizen science projects on light pollution are freely available there. Citizen scientists can easily navigate, view, and download the data, and perform their own analyses directly on the site. Users of the “Loss of the Night” app can also create a profile to easily view their own data.
Kyba hopes that giving citizen scientists access to the data will increase their motivation to participate in taking data: “With the new web application, it’s easy to see that the best results come when citizen scientists make multiple observations from the same location each year”.
The scientists also hope that the data will eventually feed back into local decisions about outdoor lighting. “In the ideal case, we will find examples of success stories: cities that invest in environmentally friendly lighting and end up seeing more stars above well-lit sidewalks”.
The project was funded by the European Commission within the MYGEOSS program, which aims to develop smart Internet applications informing European citizens on the changes affecting their local environment. The new website “myskyatnight.com” became available on 3 December 2015.
Website of the project: http://www.myskyatnight.com
Dr. Christopher Kyba
Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam and
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin
Telephone: +49 (0)331 288 28973
Nadja Neumann/Angelina Tittmann
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
Telephone: +49 (0)30 64181 -975/-631
The Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, IGB, is an independent and interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge about freshwater ecosystems. Working in close partnership with the scientific community, government agencies, as well as the private sector, guarantees the development of innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing freshwater ecosystems and human societies.
Angelina Tittmann | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Tiny microenvironments in the ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cycle
23.04.2018 | University of Rochester
Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
20.04.2018 | Geological Society of America
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News