When you look at the constellation of Orion from your area, what do you see?
Light pollution -- unwanted light that goes up into the sky instead of illuminating the ground -- has been steadily degrading our view of the sky for decades. Longer. As a civilization, we are less and less tuned to what's happening in the sky, and it's my feeling that this is one reason people fall for doomsday scares and astronomy scams on a regular basis.
We need to educate people about light pollution, and this week, there's something you can do. The GLOBE at Night program wants people (that means you!) to do a very simple thing: go outside, look at Orion, compare the view to some simple sky charts, and make a report on what you see. The whole thing will take maybe ten minutes of your time, and will help map out light pollution across the planet.
The GLOBE folks are doing this all week, from today, February 25, to March 8. This is the time when the Moon will not interfere with observations. If it's clear where you are, go out and take a look at Orion!
Last year, they had 8500 observations. This blog has three times that many readers. Let's see if we can front-load this survey!
Better yet, do this with a kid. Let them look at Orion, test their eyesight, see for themselves what their sky is like. If you are a teacher, make it a class project! It may quite literally open their eyes.