Ken Walczak Geza Gyuk Andrew Kruger Enoch Byers Sigi Huerta


The NITESat (Night Imaging and Tracking Experiment Satellite) mission is a 2U CubeSat satellite designed for nighttime Earth imaging to quantify and characterize light pollution across the Midwestern United States. It is accompanied and supported by an array of ground-based light pollution observing stations called GONet (Ground Observing Network). NITESat is a pilot mission testing the potential for a simple and inexpensive (<$500,000) satellite to deliver high-resolution, three-color regional data of artificial light at night. In addition, GONet will form the core of an educational outreach program by establishing an array of all-sky monitors covering the imaging region of the satellite with 20+ full sky light pollution citizen-operated stations. This will provide synchronized data coinciding with the NITESat overpasses as well as providing near continuous night sky quality monitoring. If the initial mission is a success, the potential exists to expand the program into a low cost constellation of satellites capable of delivering global coverage. NITESat is being designed, built and will be operated by the Far Horizons program at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. Far Horizons is a student and volunteer centered program offering hands-on engineering and scientific research opportunities for education.