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Light sensors are at the heart of GLAS Education’s efforts at dark sky education.Alex Scerba, a GLAS Education intern, is designing improvements to the sensors, increasing their durability and their weatherproofing, while reducing their size and perhaps even their cost.Alex gave an update on his design improvements during a July 13 presentation.

Scerba said that among the improvements are a more durable box for the electronic components and a better shield to keep out ambient light. He is also enclosing the unit’s AC-DC converters, called bricks, within the box and changing the connection from a prong to a cable to make sure that there is no interruption in power.He said he experienced a day of heavy rains during which water infiltrated some of the light sensor boxes, causing interruptions in the monitors’ power. Right now, GLAS buys the boxes for its light sensors. Alex said he is designing a smaller box that can be 3D printed at GLAS, which will reduce the size and should reduce the cost of the boxes. The light sensors collect data about the amount of light that is leaking into the night sky from public and private lighting. That ambient, non-natural light obscures the nocturnal sky and has detrimental effects on plants, animals, and even humans.

GLAS Education is partnering with the International Dark-Sky Association to educate the public and local governments about the benefits of dark night skies. The monitors keep track of the amount of artificial light brightening the evening skies. GLAS Education has eight light sensors located around Geneva Lake to monitor light pollution in the area. Alex said he is also working with the data collected by the monitors. “We want to submit data to Dark Skies, and we must send information in a specific way,” Alex said. He is working with the GLAS Dark Skies website to ensure that the collected data is acceptable to Dark Skies. Alex said it will take several weeks to complete his design changes and then he needs to work out a deployment schedule for the redesigned monitors.

Learn more about our LENSS Project here:

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