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Italians Participate in the First Scientific Flash-Mob on Light Pollution

Italians Participate in the First Scientific Flash-Mob on Light Pollution

Italy, which was seen the worst of the pandemic, has been home to many heartwarming sights from people singing their hearts out from their balconies and people dancing their balconies to civil initiatives making masks and providing innovative solutions for the beloved medical workers. Now, Italy has become one heart once again for the name of science, to measure light pollution from their homes.

Italian researchers are calling people to put on their scientist goggles and get on their balconies to help the science.

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Inspired by the isolation we experience together

The project #scienzasulbalcone is created by the Italian National Research Council by the initiative of Alessandro Farini, a researcher from the National Institute of Optics and Luca Perri, astrophysicist and science popularizer.

The idea was derived from a civil action where many tried to illuminate the night sky with their cellphones, a simple action that made people feel less alone. Inspired by the event, researchers decided to tackle the light pollution problem of Italy, which not only compromises our vision of the stars and universe but also represents an economic and public health problem.

Testing the darkness of our skies

Testing how much light penetrates our houses is not an easy thing since it would require data from each home. However, this project aims to do just that by forming a bridge between society and science. Researchers calling on people to collect the information using a special app by themselves and form a collective data.

Two weeks ago, during an initial run of the experiment, some 7,000 Italians turned off their lights, went out to their balcony or to windows, and pointed their phones to the brightest light source within their sight. Then, they uploaded the amount of illuminance (Lux) registered by the app and contributed to science.

The data showed that the average light trespass in Italian cities is nearly twice that of homes in the country. While everyone can guess the outcome, such precise data will provide a more grounded look for future studies.

For even more information on the events, you can visit the Science on the Balcony website, where you'll find all the information and the app to download to participate in the experiment.


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