Starry Sky Survey




Astronomy Donors

Astronomy Program

View Facility

Looking for Dark Skies

The Starry Sky Survey and Montana Learning Center need your help! The Montana Learning Center has partnered with libraries across Montana to help young scientists and their families monitor light pollution in Big Sky Country. Data will be added to the international database, “Globe at Night.”

Light pollution

Light pollution, caused by unnecessary or excess lighting, is a growing problem in Montana. It threatens our view of the Milky Way, even in remote and rural areas. Protecting our state’s dark sky heritage is important for many reasons.

Excess artificial light:

  • obscures the night sky,
  • wastes 3 billon dollars a year in the US in energy costs,
  • is linked to negative effects on human health,
  • is detrimental to wildlife and natural ecosystems.

How you can help

Contact your local library to see if it is participating in the Starry Sky Survey. If it is, you can check out a kit, which includes a sky meter, a red flashlight, and detailed instructions. Select a single location, such as your backyard or nearby park, and collect readings on three separate nights. To get the most accurate readings, choose a clear, moonless night. After each reading, upload your data online.

About the Project

The Starry Sky Survey Project kits are sponsored in part by NASA, Montana Learning Center, and the Montana Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association. If you are librarian in Montana and are interested in borrowing a kit, please contact the Montana Learning Center at

The survey kits include everything you need to participate

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