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Dark Sky Meter

Dark Sky Meter

The Dark Sky Meter helps citizen scientists measure night sky brightness via an app that runs on Apple iOS devices. The app provides instant information about the night sky quality and also enables citizen scientists to contribute their observations to a global map of sky darkness. (The app can submit citizen scientist measurements to the International Dark Sky Association.)

The Dark Sky Meter app, developed by DDQ, works by taking two pictures. First cover your camera phone using your jacket or a pocket and then press “dark shot” button. Then aim your iPhone to the point in the sky directly above your head and press the “sky” button. The greater the difference between your dark shot and sky shot, the more reliable the data.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: N/A
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: N/A
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Less than $20
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    DDQ’s Dark Sky Meter app can be downloaded from Apple’s iTunes site for $4.99

See more projects in Less than $20ObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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