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Education & Public Engagement

Quality Lighting Teaching Kit

Introduction: Poor quality lighting not only impedes astronomy research, but creates safety issues, affects human circadian sensitivities, disrupts ecosystems, and wastes billions of dollars/year in energy consumption and carbon emissions. The United Nations-sanctioned International Year of Light in 2015 (IYL2015) has provided an opportunity to increase public awareness of dark skies preservation, quality lighting and energy conservation. The Education and Public Outreach (EPO) group at the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) received grants through the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the Optical Society (OSA) to produce official “Quality Lighting Teaching Kits” for the IYL2015 cornerstone theme, “Cosmic Light”. The goal is to increase student and public awareness of light pollution issues and “quality lighting” solutions. In doing so, the program emphasizes the use of proper optical design in achieving quality lighting that promotes both energy efficiency and energy conservation and protects an endangered natural resource: our dark skies.

The Kit and Activities: The concepts and practices of quality lighting is explored through problem-based learning, hands-on/minds-on activities, as well as assessment probes. The six activities use quality lighting to solve realistic cases on how light pollution affects wildlife, the night sky, our eyes, energy consumption, safety and light trespass into buildings. The impact of the kits is amplified by providing professional development using a tutorial video created at NOAO and conducting question and answer sessions via Google+ Hangouts for program instructors.

Quality Lighting Teaching Kit

Our Partners: NOAO’s partners are the Optical Society (OSA), International Commission on Illumination (CIE), the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development. Their networks are disseminating the program and kits to formal and informal audiences worldwide. The impact sought is a change in knowledge, attitude, and behavior in each community by learning how to light responsibly, improving the quality of life in “illuminating” ways.

Contact Information: For further information, please contact Connie Walker at

Quality Lighting Teaching Kit

Quality Lighting Teaching Kit YouTube video screen grab of Quality Lighting Teaching Kit Video


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