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Android Application Counts Stars to Measure Light Pollution

German researchers created an application that lets Android smartphone users count visible stars. Scientists with the Loss of the Night/Verlust der Nacht project will use the data sent to them to better understand global light pollution and how it influences health, biodiversity, and other important matters. The interactive application asks users to indicate what individual stars are visible in the night sky. This lets researchers use the faintest visible star seen to extrapolate how bright the sky is at a given location. In most large cities, light pollution is an issue and, biologists say, the artificial light changes habitats. An added benefit discovered during testing the application, is that users learned the names of several stars and constellations. The German Ministry of Education and Research funds the Loss of the Night project, which involves researchers from various organizations throughout the country. (PhysOrg)(Verlust der Nacht)

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