Stargazing for science

Schoolchildren, families, and citizen scientists around the world gazed skyward after dark from October 20 to November 3 as part of the second Great World Wide Star Count. Their objective was to find specific constellations and then share their observations online. The data they collect helps scientists map light pollution globally, while educating participants about the stars. Approximately 12,471 individuals participated in the count this year, submitting 3,378 observations from all 50 U.S. states and 60 different countries.

The event, which was free and open to anyone, was organized by EO’s Windows to the Universe project in conjunction with planetariums and scientific societies across the country and abroad.

UCAR will use the observations to generate maps of star visibility across the United States and around the world. Last year’s results showed, as one might expect, a strong correlation between development and a lack of night sky visibility.