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Paper: Increasing Participation in Citizen Science During COVID-19
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 477
Authors: Newhouse, M.; Walker, C.
Abstract: Due to COVID-19, online programs for STEM education are in demand. One such international program, Globe at Night (GaN) hosted by NSF's NOIRLab, raises public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness. Online for the past 14 years, GaN needed to expand its reach in innovative ways to meet demand. Besides increasing webinar talks, workshops and social media postings, the GaN team created monthly themes to rally around. This led to establishing new partnerships with SciStarter, U.S. libraries, Girl Scouts, IDA chapters, a research institute, and astronomical societies worldwide. We began in February and March with themes of “Love Your Stars” and “Pi in the Sky,” to help gather more data to help a German researcher to compare light pollution in 2011 to 2020. April saw partnerships with Astronomers Without Borders and SciStarter, connecting us with the Girl Scouts and Libraries around the U.S. The summer partnership lead to receiving nearly 7000 measurement on 21 June (longest night in the southern hemisphere), and a world record for most participants in a citizen science campaign in one day. A few months later the solstice, with nights around the world being 12 hours long, provided a fair playing ground for countries to post the most observations. A highlight of the year was working with two Girl Scouts (twins), earning their Silver Award for the first kids' website on light pollution ( As a result of these partnerships and others, GaN broke its record for the highest number of observations by September. Watch our video poster to find out more!
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