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Paper: Astronomy Meets the Environmental Sciences: Using GLOBE at Night Data
Volume: 443, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach
Page: 373
Authors: Barringer, D.; Walker, C. E.; Pompea, S. M.; Sparks, R. T.
Abstract: The GLOBE at Night database now contains over 52,000 observations from the five annual two-week campaigns. It can be used as a resource to explore various issues related to light pollution and our environment. Students can compare data over time to look for changes and trends. For example, they can compare the data to population density or with nighttime photography and spectroscopy of lights. The data can be used in a lighting survey, to search for dark sky oases or to monitor ordinance compliance. Students can study effects of light pollution on animals, plants, human health, safety, security, energy consumption, and cost. As an example, we used data from the GLOBE at Night project and telemetry tracking data of lesser long-nosed bats obtained by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to study the effects of light pollution on the flight paths of the bats between their day roosts and night foraging areas around the city of Tucson, AZ. With the visual limiting magnitude data from GLOBE at Night, we ran a compositional analysis with respect to the bats' flight paths to determine whether the bats were selecting for or against flight through regions of particular night sky brightness levels. We found that the bats selected for the regions in which the limiting sky magnitudes fell between the ranges of 2.8–3.0 to 3.6–3.8 and 4.4–4.6 to 5.0–5.2, suggesting that the lesser long-nosed bat can tolerate a fair degree of urbanization. We also compared this result to contour maps created with digital Sky Quality Meter (http://www.unihedron.com) data.
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