Apps to Help Out
Dark Sky Meter – iOS
The Dark Sky Meter measures the artificial sky brightness in two simple steps. Just cover the camera and aim to the point right above your head.
Light Pollution Citizen Science Research Project
We’re overseeing a citizen science project to establish some baseline data for light pollution in town an around the valley. We want to keep track of how much light pollution decreases as our campaign progresses. Download instructions for how to participate!
Realtime Night Sky Quality Measurements
for the Town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park
The green trace is the zenith brightness (“mag”, in TESS-Photometer magnitudes per square arcsecond). The readings we are getting on averaging of around 20 mags put Jackson into the Suburban category for sky brightness. We can do better!
The orange is the ambient air temperature in Celsius inside the TESS-Photometer (“tamb”); and the blue is the sky ‘temperature’ in Celsius (“tsky”).
tamb-tsky is a measure of how clear the sky is, and what the software uses to make a guess about whether the sky is clear or cloudy. If tamb and tsky are similar, it’s probably because there are thick clouds or overcast skies. But when the sky is clear (and cooling radiatively) there’s a big difference between tamb and tsky. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good first-order guess. If tamb < +10℃ and mag > 10, a resistive heater inside the case switches on to keep water from condensing on the window.
Understanding the Data
In the upper left-hand drop-down menu in the graph below, select stars725 for Grand Teton measurements and stars726 for Jackson measurements.
NASA Develop is focused on integrating NASA’s Earth observations to help meet the challenges of environmental change and improve life on our planet. Wyoming Stargazing was a Community Partner for two NASA Develop projects for two years. The first project involved the creation of a Skyglow Estimation Toolbox (SET) and the second was a refinement of that program to estimate sky glow at any angle above the horizon.
Anthropogenic disruption of natural lighting patterns, known as “light pollution,” causes measurable damage to Earth’s ecosystems, human health, and decreases enjoyment of night sky viewing. Increasing nighttime sky brightness is a serious problem in the United States, with nearly 100% of Americans living under light-polluted skies and only 3% able to see the Milky Way from their homes. Historically, Grand Teton National Park has been a sanctuary for those searching for dark night skies because of its isolation and low humidity. However, light pollution is encroaching on the park from nearby towns reducing the quality of the dark sky that brings tourism to the park and protects the wildlife inside. This project partnered with the National Park Service, Grand Teton National Park and the International Dark-Sky Association to use NASA’s Earth observations to identify sources of light pollution in the park and assess the impact of recent changes to lighting practices around the park. Through the use of Suomi NPP Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day-Night Band data, the team created maps of artificial night sky brightness in order to assess areas where changes in lighting practices are effective in reducing light pollution in addition to where further mitigation efforts are needed. Products created by the team provide the project partners with information about the extent of light pollution in the park.