Our planet, seen from the International Space Station, looks like a Christimas tree. This light, visible from space, is called “light pollution” caused by street illumination that project the light to all directions, diminishing greatly the darkness of the night sky.

Light Pollution is a global problem that has that we have to fight for the following reasons:

  • It is a great source of money and energy waste;
  • Contributes to climate change;
  • Affects living beings and in particular humans lives;
  • Prevents people from seeing the stars and disturb astronomical observations.

The international project Dark Skies Rangers in Alqueva,  intends to promote the fight against light pollution, creating awareness amongst populations about the problem and possible smart solutions for outdoor illumination, economically viable and in harmony with the environment. It intends to recover the beauty of the night sky, the largest mankind heritage, a right to us all that needs to be preserved.

In order to promote the project Dark Skies Rangers, the  Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, a night sky turism destination certified by the Starlight Initiative,  and  NUCLIO – Núcleo Interactivo de Astronomia  (Galileo Teacher Training Program) are organizing the  Dark Skies Rangers Contest for students and teachers with the following objectives:

  • To stimulate the interest for research related to light pollution;
  • To promote the production of projects related to light pollution;
  • Develop skills in the field of: eLearning, writing, photography, video and artistic expression;
  • Contribute to establish a community of informed citizens, that participate in the solution to issues like this and with critical thinking about science in our daily lives.



The contest Dark Skies Rangers  is intended to teachers and students between 6 and 18 years old living on planet Earth !!



 The project must:

  • Be written in English;
  • Focus on the environment and/or energy issues,  related to light pollution;
  • Be the result of an investigation about light pollution at a local level;
  • Present factual data and information recovered during the field work;
  • Be oriented to the search for solutions and whenever possible trigger intervention actions addressing the detected problems.


Students must produce an original project/essay about the theme “Light Pollution”, with the guidance of an adult (eg, teacher, tutor, guardian or a member of the family). The mentor can support more than one student.

The work is based on the investigation of the problems at the local level, and must consist on an audit of a street (building, garden square, …) namely through the analysis of the type of light fixtures and lamps, their energy consumption, projection of light and its consequences, and followed by a proposal to solve the encountered issues.

The work can be presented in various formats, such as a report, poster, power point or other forms of presentation, video, play and music. All the development of the work has to be reported, observations, data analysis, conclusions and evaluation.


Teachers  applications are individual and the objective is the production of an innovative lesson plan, related to light pollution. The lesson must contemplate the use of digital resources and/or the creation of a community at the Open Discovery Space Portal as a support for the proposed activities. This component aims to allow the exploration of elearning tools available for teaching and learning.



The submitted projects grants to the organization all rights of reproduction, publication and display of images, worldwide, in any media, without prior notice, consent or compensation to the author or third parties.



The evaluation of the work will be carried out taking into account the following parameters:

  • Relevance, originality, applicability and scope of the proposed project;
  • Appropriateness of the methodology to adopt, or adopted for its implementation;
  • Feasibility of the work plan;
  • Scientific correctness;
  • Adequacy of resources and estimated costs;
  • Level of involvement of proponents  in any realization of the project;
  • Sustainability and ability to engage the community targeted by the intervention (if appropriate);
  • Expected results, particularly in terms of contribution to the reduction of energy costs and protecting the night sky.



The jury will select three winning entries in four categories:

  • Students between 6 and 12 years old;
  • Students between 13 and 15 years ols;
  • Students between 16 and 18 years old;
  • Teachers.

In each of these categories will be awarded the following prizes:

  • 1st prize: A week in the reserve Dark Sky Alqueva;
  • 2nd prize: A tablet;
  • 3rd prize: A smartphone.



The contest will be open until April 10, 2014. Participation is possible after pre-enrollment / contest. Pre-registration will enable the receipt of additional information.

Only projects submitted by the deadline will be considered in the competition. The date of receipt will be the date of delivery of the work. Projects should be sent by email to

The publication of the results will run until April 21st , 2014.



The jury will consist of the coordination group of the project and the international project coordinator Dr. Connie Walker will be invited.

The jury’s decision will be announced on April 21st , 2014 and the awards ceremony will take place in Cascais, on May 3rd, during the “Star’s Party –  2014″.



NUCLIO will, if necessary, promote several training sessions, face-to-face and/or video-conference, in order to support participants on the development of the project.



Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve

NUCLIO – Núcleo Interactivo de Astronomia
Tel.: +351214537440 / +351960356909



ABAE – Eco-Schools Programme

Municipality of Cascais

Open Discovery Space

Galileo Teacher Training Program

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  1. Pingback: Forecast: 98% Chance of Light Pollution | Educators Zone

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