Citizen Science

Help us collect information regarding light pollution and energy consumption.

Help preserve the wilderness of the night sky

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is calling on citizen scientists to make brightness observations of the night sky over their homes. We would like to collect enough data about the skies over Calgary and surrounding municipalities to gain perspective on increased light pollution and related energy consumption.

After the data is gathered and analyzed, we can share the information with the city and province. The information is particularly important with the construction of ring road and the city's new community development, Providence.

Person with telescope.

Photo taken at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.

How to participate

As a citizen scientist you can help to protect and conserve the wilderness of the dark sky.

Utilizing the How to be an Astronomer Guide, you can take star magnitude measurements.

Follow the steps below and enter your star magnitude measurements on our online submission, see #4 for link

If the sky conditions are favourable – it’s time to get started!

Access the How to be an Astronomer Guide

Download the How to be an Astronomer Guide for step by step instructions on how and where and when to take star magnitude measurements. 

How to be an Astronomer Guide

How many stars can you see?

On a clear night, go outside to the darkest spot in your yard or neighbourhood. Compare your star charts to the constellation you see in the sky and pick the chart that best matches what you see. Make a note of the constellation you examined, magnitude chart number, date and time.

What's the moon's phase?

The phase of the moon is important. Make note of the moon's current phase (see link below for phase reference image), date and time. Be careful not to confuse the waxing and waning phases. Also, take note of sky conditions and how much cloud cover you observed. 

Moon phases

Submit your findings

Make note of your location where you made your observations and fill out the form linked below.

Share your findings