This citizen science project invites the public to help researchers learn more about the problem of light pollution by counting stars in the sky in their everyday environment. Our use of artificial light has dramatically changed the environment in large parts of the world. Scientific studies have shown unexpected and worrying effects on the biology of many organisms as well as on whole ecosystems, but also on human health. The problems of artificial light are commonly referred to as light pollution. In the Star-Spotting Experiment, thousands of pupils, members of outdoor associations, other clubs and members of the public in Sweden, UK, Ireland and Spain contribute to scientific research about light pollution by counting stars in the sky, while discovering the level of light pollution in their own neighbourhood.
The scientific leader of the project is Urban Eriksson, a researcher and senior lecturer in physics with a focus on astronomy education at Lund University and Kristianstad University in Sweden. The Star-Spotting Experiment is created by the non-profit organisation Public & Science (VA), the National Resource Center for Physics Education (NRCF), Lund University, Kristianstad University, the Swedish National Space Agency, and the two science centres House of Science (Vetenskapens hus) and Umevatoriet, Sweden. The project is run in collaboration with Fundación Descubre, Esciencia, La Palma Centre and Fundación madri+d in Spain, University College Cork and Trinity College in Ireland and Natural History Museum in London, UK.
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Lena Söderström, Project & Communications Manager, Public & Science (Vetenskap & Allmänhet). VA
Lena Söderström is a Project & Communications Manager at the Swedish non-profit membership organisation VA (Public & Science). Since 2015 she has been the national co-ordinator of the ForskarFredag science festival, a part of European Researchers’ Night. As part of ForskarFredag, hundreds of activities are organised across Sweden on the last Friday and Saturday of September each year. The festival is devoted to creating new encounters and inspiring dialogue between the public and researchers in different scientific fields through fun activities. Lena also manages the international citizen science project the Star-Spotting Experiment and is national co-ordinator of the Sweden-wide competition Researchers’ Grand Prix, in which researchers are challenged to present their research in four minutes in captivating, inspiring and educational ways.
Lena holds a bachelor’s degree in International Migration and Ethnic Relations. She has also studied journalism and has formerly worked as a journalist and in various communication roles.