#MeasureTheSkyBC in Sept 2019

Loss of the Night App and MeasureTheSkyBC

As it gets closer to a new Moon, Sept 20th and into the first week of October are great dates to help with our #MeasureTheSkyBC campaign to measure light pollution  and it is your last opportunity to get a chance to win a prize – including a premium eyepiece!

It’s easy – all you need is your phone & your eyes!

Last Month, TK & CD from Kitsilano won by using the Loss of the Night app on 11 stars at Cascade Look Out in Manning Park. They reported their limiting magnitude was greater than 5 from that site.

This month, we are giving away a premium Celestron 15mm Luminos Eyepiece as main prize.

We are also giving away a copy of the RASC book “Explore the Universe Guide” and free registration to the Cascade Star Gazer’s Package at Manning Park’s Astronomy Weekend, on October 18-20 & 25-27, 2019.

To get a chance to win a prize, send an email to [email protected] with your location and experience with measuring the sky, include the date/time and limiting magnitude from the Loss of the Night app if possible.

Thanks go to the Merritt Astronomical Society, Starizona, and Manning Park Resort for providing prizes for this campaign.

Here are more details on using the Loss of The Night app:

Loss of the Nigh App Logo
  • Install the Loss of the Night app from the Apple App store or the Google Play store.
  • Start the app and enter some basic user information in the user data section such as your age, whether you wear glasses/contacts, and your observing experience.
  • Go outside on a clear night. Try to pick a location where you can see a large part of the sky and that is away from bright lights. Ideally, pick a time after 10:00 pm when the sun is well below the horizon (after the end of astronomical twilight).
  • Follow the instructions in the app to start measuring stars.
Loss of the Night app Screenshot  with direction arrow
Follow the arrow to find a target star.

Using the app is a fun, video-game like experience – great for kids. It works by helping you find target stars and then asking if the star is visible with your eyes. There is a demo mode so you can even try it out during the day. The app does not need internet (after it is installed) so you can use it when camping or out at a remote location.

Start by aiming your phone/tablet at the sky. The app displays a star field over-laid with a circle and an arrow.

Move your phone/tablet in the direction of the arrow. Go slowly and turn your whole body as necessary to follow the arrow.

Is the target star visible with your eyes?

When you locate the target star, a large orange circle is displayed, a smaller flashing yellow circle appears around the target star, and the display freezes.

Now you can lower your phone/tablet and look to see if the target star is visible with your eyes. Finish with this target by clicking the appropriate button.

Repeat on 8 target stars to get a good measure of the light pollution at your location. Expect some target stars to be easily visible, some barely visible, and some not visible, as the app tries to narrow down what you can see at your location.

After you’ve finished your measurement, the app will display your “limiting magnitude” which can be used as a measure of light pollution. Your data can be sent anonymously to a global database of light pollution measurements. You can see your measurement on a map, track changes over time, and compare it to other observations from around the world at http://www.myskyatnight.com.

Don’t forget to send an email to [email protected] for a chance to win a prize – please include the date/time, your location and limiting magnitude in the email if possible.