Citizen Science can be a fun way to learn about light pollution while providing data for use by scientists in data analysis. 

Program Overview

The "Dark Sky Citizen Science Program" is a collection of citizen science projects allowing patrons of public libraries to contribute data that will help scientists better understand the impact of artificial light on our night sky and life on Earth. The citizen science program is made available to libraries through SciStarter which was founded in 2014 to improve the citizen science experience. Partners of SciStarter include Arizona State University’s School of Future Innovation in Society, the National Science Foundation, NASA Space Science Education Consortium and Globe at Night. 

The Dark Sky Citizen Science Program offers six citizen science projects.  Three of the projects collect data on light pollution's impact our view of the night sky.  The remaining three projects collect data on light pollution's impacts on the diversity of life on Earth. 

  1. Projects Measuring our View of the Night Sky
    According to the 2016 groundbreaking “World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness,” 80 percent of the world’s population lives under skyglow. In the United States and Europe, 99 percent of the public can’t experience a natural night! The following projects will help scientists better understand how light impacts our view of the night sky:
    1. Measuring Light in the Night Sky – Help gather light pollution data
    2. Astrophotos Measuring Light Pollution - Help astronomers study light pollution by taking photos of the sky with your smartphones
    3. Astrophotos Lunar Photography - Experiment using smartphones and telescopes for astrophotography
  2. Projects to Measure the Diversity of Life on Earth
    Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants. Projects in this group will help scientists understand the diversity of our natural world:
    1. Birds of North America – Collect pictures of birds
    2. Exploring Biodiversity – Document and identify plants and animals around you.
    3. The Great Sunflower Project – Identify where pollinators need help

For patrons who have questions around the projects

If you have checked out a project from your local library and have questions, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For libraries interested in participating in the program

The projects are designed for use by libraries in any city in the continental USA.  For a list of participating libraries, click here.

To learn more about launching the program in your community, click the link provided below:

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