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LENSS

Lakeshore Environment and Night Sky Sensor

The goal of LENSS was to build and deploy remotely-operable Sky Quality Meters to take continuous measurements of how dark the night skies are around Geneva Lake. This was to improve community awareness and engagement in the important health and safety issues associated with light pollution. Students not only designed an original sky quality meter, but it cost less than commercial light sensors. Expansion of the program is on temporary hiatus as we seek additional support for the project.

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WHAT IS LENSS?

The Lakeshore Environment and Night Sky Sensor project was launched in May 2019 as one of the tech projects offered by GLAS Education for high school students interested in doing something positive for our community while learning first-hand about careers in STEM.  Working with professionals in engineering, project management, coding, and design, students designed, constructed, and tested a remotely-operable sky quality meter.  Students involved in the project learned practical skills in electronics, computer programming and building electronic components. Quality night skies are dark skies and they benefit wildlife, human health, boating safety,  and our ability to see and study the universe from Walworth County.

Six people, two men and four women, stranding in a sunny clearing. A young man with glasses is holding the upper section of a pole that pivots downward to give access to a light detector.
GLAS staffer Adam McCulloch, left, shows interns how to collect data from a LENNS light monitor which is mounted on a pole in the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy,.
GLAS students, from left, Maire Lucero, Syd Kraus and Liam Finley help GLAS staffer Adam McCulloch install a LENSS light meter at a lakeside house with the owners' permission.
LENSS – The special kind of Sky Quality Meter

See some of our LENSS results!

Our sensors continuously collected data using a Python program. Nighttime light frequency was plotted on a daily basis. This data was used to help educate communities about light pollution and to encourage updating and enforcing ordinances intended to control light pollution. 

How LENSS worked

Night time photo of old-fashioned street lamp in lakeside park.
Keeping the sky dark in Walworth county for everyone to enjoy.

The first long-term field testing of a LENSS Project meter started on Nov. 10, 2020, with two sensors placed at homes on the Geneva Lake shoreline.  Lake shore residents who  volunteered and who provided a power source and WiFi access were accepted as a part of the program. 

LENSS was generously supported by:

Environmental Education Foundation

Geneva Lake Association

Horizontal graphic for lake association.

Walworth/Fontana Rotary

Horizontal graphic for Rotary.
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