Back in December last year I reported on the BAA/CfDS/CPRE star count. Stuart picked up on this and, in the comments on Stuart's blog, Ian sort of got to thinking about an international effort to do something similar.
This morning I had an email from Robin Scagell, alerting me to Globe at Night. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
The international star-counting activity known as GLOBE at Night returns from March 8-21 in two flavors: the "classic" GLOBE at Night exercise that anyone can have fun doing with their unaided eyes, and a new effort to obtain precise measurements of urban dark skies using digital sky-brightness meters.It seems they're also using Orion as the patch of sky for doing comparisons and, helpfully, they have a set of magnitude charts to help in estimations (and don't you just love the fact that they've produced just such a chart from a cloudy night).
The GLOBE at Night 2007 program is intended to build upon the worldwide participation sparked by the first GLOBE at Night campaign in March 2006. This inaugural effort drew more than 18,000 citizen-scientist participants in all 50 U.S. states and 96 countries worldwide, who submitted nearly 4,600 observations of the darkness of their local night skies during the 10-day event. The program is designed to aid teaching about the impact of artificial lighting on local environments, and the ongoing loss of a dark night sky as a natural resource for much of the world's population.
There's even a nifty little tool for testing your estimation ability.
This all sounds like just the sort of thing that Ian will like.