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Citizen science project hosted through North Valley Public Library

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Hiker Viewing Milky Way

Are you fascinated by the stars and planets? Now is your chance to collect valuable information on the clarity of our night skies by participating in a citizen science project, the Starry Sky Survey.

Montana Learning Center, in partnership with NASA and the Montana Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Society, has made a Starry Sky Survey Kit available for check out through the North Valley Public Library. Astronomers need the help of young scientists and their families to monitor light pollution in Big Sky Country. The Starry Sky Survey Kit includes a star chart called a planisphere, a red flashlight, and a sky quality meter to directly measure the local light pollution in your night sky. Your data is added to the international database, “Globe at Night.”

“Citizen Science projects are an important way to involve the public in gathering data for scientists. Young scientists participating in this project develop important skills in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math by measuring and calculating averages of light levels to share with astronomers” said Barbara Hayford, events and programming specialist at North Valley Public Library.

Light pollution is relatively low in the Bitterroot Valley, but 80% of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way. According to the Montana Learning Center “Light pollution, caused by unnecessary or excess lighting, is a growing problem in Montana. It threatens our view of the Milky Way, even in remote and rural areas.”

So stop by the North Valley Public Library, check out the Starry Sky Survey Kit and be part of a global scientific effort by documenting the clarity of our Montana night skies.

For more information call us at (406) 777-5061.

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