Southern Arizona Chapter of IDA (SA-IDA)

"Light Pollution" - The Only Pollution that Costs More to Perpetuate than to Eliminate!






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Science Fair Awards - School Year 2004-2005

 We all know about the importance of Light Pollution.  Now it's also becoming a topic for students competing in the Southern Arizona Science Fair.  Members of the Southern Arizona Section of the International Dark-Sky Association scoured the rows of over 1,300 projects at the fair, and found several dealing with Light Pollution and outdoor Lighting. Three excellent exhibits were found and cash prizes and gift certificates were awarded to each of these projects.

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Our First Place Award went to Carter, a 7th grade student from Doolen Middle School. His “Light Pollution over Tucson” project was very professional and detailed, measuring sky brightness from five different areas in and around Tucson using a couple of different methods.

One of the prototype Light Pollution Meters (LPM) by Avery Davis was utilized for measurements. Carter developed measurement techniques and was able to get very repeatable results from the LPM which others had not been able to achieve.


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Second Place Award went to Jessica, a 6th grade student at Satori Charter School. Her “For Stars at Night Turn Down Your Lights” project was very innovative and coupled two different but related concepts. 

Using a cardboard box to shield exterior light while doing star viewing, she introduced various levels of white light through a hole in the side of the box, to determine the effects of that light on her viewing.  She also did an experiment as to how much light was necessary to do minimal tasks.  She concluded that, even with significant reduction in lighting, she could still see enough to do those tasks.

The two experiments together showed that we can use less lighting, while enjoying more stars and saving energy.


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Third Place Award went to Amie, a 7th grade student at Alice Vail Middle School. Her “A Study of Lampshades and Light Pollution” project showed that different shapes of lamp shades produced varying degrees of light intensity on the target, with inverse effects on light pollution.  Using simple paper materials, in a variety of shapes and sizes, her results showed fully shielded bulbs resulted in more light on the ground and far less upward and horizontal light.


All three winners have been invited to bring their projects to the conference of the International Dark-Sky Association, which will be held in Tucson from April 7-9, at the Hilton East Hotel.

 story by Joe F. & Dave B.

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