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A Collective Awareness Platform for Promoting Dark Skies in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - STARS4ALL (A Collective Awareness Platform for Promoting Dark Skies in Europe)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-12-31

Artificial light at night (ALAN) is associated with a sense of security, wealth and modernity. Hence, artificial light has become an irreplaceable aid for human activities after the onset of darkness. As a consequence, the illumination of the nightscape has increased in its intensity, time and space.

There is a growing community concerned about this increasing illumination of natural nightscapes, because of escalating negative effects on human wellbeing, biodiversity, nightlife habitats, and visibility of stars and astronomical phenomena. Measures to reduce the negative impacts of outdoor lighting are easy of obtain, but need the awareness and activism of society at large.

Over three years of work, STARS4ALL ambition has been to involve as many community actors as possible in the fight against light pollution. For that purpose, STARS4ALL has deployed an online platform (http://www.stars4all.eu) to provide citizens, scientists and a wide range of stakeholders with the tools and support required to incubate and create local or global working groups (Light Pollution Initiatives - LPIs).
The STARS4ALL foundation was registered by the Spanish protectorate on June 19th, 2018 (https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2018-13691) as a foundation of general interest. This foundation is already in charge of providing legal and economical support to all the Light Pollution Initiatives (LPIs) that have been running during the project and that will continue operating, as well as new ones that may join in the future.

The open-hardware photometer TESS has been created in the context of the project, so as to allow monitoring night sky brightness. This photometer has attracted large attention from the scientific community, which is now considering it as one of the state-of-the-art measuring devices for monitoring sky brightness. By the end of the project, a world-wide photometer network is fully operational, generating open data (available from data.stars4all.eu and in Zenodo - https://zenodo.org/communities/stars4all/- following Open Science principles), and accessible through a live dashboard (tess-dashboards.stars4all.eu).

Following recommendations from the initial project review, work has been also done in cooperation with the main developer of the Dark Sky Meter app so as to improve the application and make it more robust, with support from the STARS4ALL tooling and data management.

Two games with a purpose (Night Knights - www.nightknights.eu - and StarsBeat - https://starsbeat.stars4all.eu/) have been developed. The first game was used to complement activities carried out by the Dark Skies ISS app, with over 30000 tasks solved by users. And both games have been used extensively in educational activities related to creating light pollution awareness. Furthermore, the generic game enablers have been used by 3rd parties to create their own games with a purpose in other areas.

Light Pollution Initiatives (LPIs) are the means by which citizens have been able to participate in the project. An initial set of 14 LPIs were setup during Y1, exceeding the initial set of 10 LPIs promised in the description of work, 10 new LPIs were incorporated in Y2, and finally by the end of the project 36 LPIs were active. LPIs have obtained support from STARS4ALL, which has offered them web hosting (from simple pages to a Wordpress instances, such us the one used for Cities At Night - www.citiesatnight.org) data hosting (via the data portal), data visualisation (via the dashboards), crowdfunding training and support, etc. One of the LPIs (Cities At Night) has obtained more than 5K€ of crowdfunding through our support, and there are at least five LPIs that are preparing their crowdfunding campaigns now.

Four public competitions have been launched for community engagement: 1) promotion of the Cities At Night LPI, with the incentive of travelling to the STARS4ALL expedition to Iceland; 2) incorporating 10 new LPIs; 3) participation in two STARS4ALL apps (Night Knigths, Cazasteroides), with the incentive of travelling to the STARS4ALL expedition to the USA; 4) incorporating 10 more new LPIs that can benefit from crowdfunding support.

The project has continued to be promoted through popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr), through the broadcasting of Astronomical phenomena, and being present in conferences, publications (papers & magazines), TV, radio, schools, etc. Some remarkable events: the Earth Hour (stars4all.eu/index.php/stars4all-at-earth-hour-with-wwf-spain/) in collaboration with WWF Spain, the Finde Científico (stars4all.eu/index.php/scientific-weekend/) in Madrid, ITB Berlin (stars4all.eu/index.php/stars4all-itb/) the III Jornadas de Contaminación Lumínica de la Sierra de Guadarrama (stars4all.eu/iii-jornadas-sobre-contaminacion-luminica) the CLIMATHON 2018 (stars4all.eu/los-ciudadanos-no-son-conscientes-del-problema-ni-de-sus-consecuencias/). Thanks to these activities, we have continued to raise awareness among citizens, and we are also perceived as the main project that supports the early-stage light pollution community: taking up results from the LoNNe (Lost of the Night) network, helping in intercomparison campaigns, performing educational activities, collaborating with grassroots activists, etc.

STARS4ALL is especially focused on achieving impact in terms of innovation and digital society.
Furthermore, although scientific impact in STARS4ALL is not a priority, we have also had
relevant scientific advances to the state of the art in the different domains of the STARS4ALL multidisciplinary consortium (ICT, Social Sciences, Economy, Astronomy, Biodiversity).

Innovation:
1) STARS4ALL proposes a new participatory model based on open software/data/hardware. APIs and dashboards have been developed to wrap most platform services (sensors, data, games). Data is accessible as open data from our data platform and through Zenodo.
2) STARS4ALL allows creating (aka incubating) working groups related with LPIs, with supporting tools and resources. The STARS4ALL foundation ensures financial and legal support. 3) STARS4ALL has attracted the attention of activists from disciplines beyond Astronomy and Biodiversity, including tourism, education, urban planning and gaming.

Digital society:
1) STARS4ALL encourages a more active collaboration of all stakeholders, with citizens able to participate in many steps of the light pollution awareness lifecycle (e.g. creating working groups, taking decisions, adding information and data and participating in our citizen sensors network).
2) STARS4ALL encourages a stronger citizen participation in decision making and collective
governance.