Look after our night sky

This project has finished as of December 2021, thank you to everyone who took part, we look forward to doing more citizen science projects with the community in the future.


Join Space Place in a Citizen Science project where we measure light pollution — the excessive use of light at night, in Wellington and take action to darken our skies.

In this project we are calling for citizen scientists to help us measure light pollution around the city, using your naked eyes to estimate the brightness of the stars, or you can use a couple of phone apps. The results will be used to create a light pollution map that will show changes over time and in different weather conditions. We will use this information as part of a worldwide project to inform planners and reclaim the night sky in our cities.

What can I do?

Join in by measuring light pollution on your street!

Go out on your street at night a couple of hours after sunset and count the number of stars you see around the Southern Cross.
Compare your results with the maps we provide. Then report them on the Globe at Night website. We will support you to do these activities. 

Follow this link for a step by step guide of what you need to do.

Join us for the Light Pollution Project

New Zealand is famous for its dark sky. It’s our heritage but we also owe many advancements of science to those who tried to decipher its mysteries. When we lose our stars, we lose our inspiration, our links with our tupuna. We know that both Polynesians and European settlers navigated here by the stars. A Polynesian navigator described once the journey on the ocean as akin to floating inside the Milky Way, among the stars descending to the horizon. Go to the centre of any city and you are lucky if you can see the brightest stars when they pass above your head. When we turn artificial lights on, the stars always disappear. Their light is too dim.

New Zealand hosts the world’s darkest dark sky reserve, the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve as well as two Dark Sky Sanctuaries, one at Aotea/Great Barrier Island and one at Rakiura/Stewart Island. A proposed new dark sky reserve may expand to include all of Wairarapa. Imagine having yet another dark sky reserve but so close to home.

Night sky at Red Rocks on Wellington's south coast

What is this about? 

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Join Space Place in a Citizen Science project where we measure light pollution in Wellington and take action to darken our skies. 

Full moon over Wellington at sunset

What does this project do? 

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A follow up from last year’s campaign “Know your Night Sky”, this project provides a new and meaningful way for Wellingtonians to connect to their night sky.

Read more.

Wellington at dusk with a pink sky

What’s in it for me?  

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A range of environmental and personal benefits! Light pollution increases energy consumption, disrupts ecosystems and wildlife, harms human health and effects crime and safety. Light pollution affects every citizen and unlike many other forms of pollution is reversible and each of us can make the difference.

What is light pollution?

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When the first street lights were created, people were not aware of the faults in the designs nor of the effects that light overspill would have on the environment. Design decision for light fixtures were not based on vision science but rather on “daylight lighting” demanded by citizens to reduce crime or shop owners to attract customers. But just because nobody thought about it then, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about it now, when we have a better understanding of the overspill they create.

Saving money, protecting wildlife and bringing back the Milky Way. And of course, keeping everyone safe. That’s what we stand for.

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