Initial Publication Date: April 28, 2011

Example Project 3: You Created an Entry for the Youth Community Atlas Project

Mapping Light Pollution in Our Community

By Sally Student, Sam Student

Circle High School, Ms. Teacher, grades 6-8
Team Project (2-10 students)

Project Overview

Image that Represents the Project

GlobeAtNightWorld Citizen reported data on the brightness of the night sky by comparing well known constellations.


Many people in the world miss much of the Milky Way sweeping across the sky. In fact, most of us are able to see only a dozen or so of the brightest stars in the sky and don't realize there are about 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye. As more and more people reside in cities, increasing light pollution is causing the ongoing loss of a dark night sky for much of the world's population. Light pollution is a growing, serious issue that impacts not only astronomical research, but also ecology and ecosystems. Light pollution affects animals and plants in a variety of ways. It has been shown to disorient animals, interfere with mating, alter predator-prey behavior, confuse migration patterns, and influence animal physiology. We mapped light pollution in our community and also participated in the GLOBE AT NIGHT project. We recorded the limiting magnitude of stars in the constellation Leo at several locations across our community. We found out that the valley floor was much more impacted by light pollution. This fit our understanding as the city is a much higher source of the light scattering particles from car exhaust and raising dust, light manufacturing, and major city growth in construction. Higher altitudes were generally much less impacted due to being above the thickest part of the atmosphere to less disturbed landuse areas at the outskirts of the metroplex. Our research has implications for the secondary impacts of the particles as environmental pollutants.

Key Words

limiting magnitude, light pollution, environmental impact

Research Question

What is the Extent of Light Pollution in Our Community and How Does it Affect us?

Geospatial Technology Tool(s)

ArcGIS Online, gps, constellation guide to star magnitudes

URL Link to Your Community Atlas Project

Supporting Attachments

Right-click(PC) or control-click(Mac) any of the links below to download files to your computer.

Excel Spreadsheets

excel_table_globe_night.csv (Comma Separated Values 1.8MB Apr13 11)

PowerPoint Presentations

Geospatial Data: Images, Shapefiles, KML files, etc.

Flash Animations

YouTube Videos

Discussion Thread

Create a thread to share with the author(s) your questions and ideas about this project.

Comment? Start the discussion about Mapping Light Pollution in Our Community.

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