Journal Article

The effect of spatial and spectral heterogeneity of ground-based light sources on night-sky radiances

M. Kocifaj, M. Aubé and I. Kohút

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 409, issue 3, pages 1203-1212
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The effect of spatial and spectral heterogeneity of ground-based light sources on night-sky radiances

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Nowadays, light pollution is a permanent problem at many observatories around the world. Elimination of excessive lighting during the night is not only about reduction of the total luminous power of ground-based light sources, but also involves experimenting with the spectral features of single lamps. Astronomical photometry is typically made at specific wavelengths, and thus the analysis of the spectral effects of light pollution is highly important. Nevertheless, studies on the spectral behaviour of night light are quite rare. Instead, broad-band or integral quantities (such as sky luminance) are preferentially measured and modelled. The knowledge of night-light spectra is necessary for the proper interpretation of narrow-band photometry data. In this paper, the night-sky radiances in the nominal spectral lines of the B (445 nm) and V (551 nm) filters are determined numerically under clear-sky conditions. Simultaneously, the corresponding sky-luminance patterns are computed and compared against the spectral radiances. It is shown that spectra, patterns and distances of the most important light sources (towns) surrounding an observatory are essential for determining the light pollution levels. In addition, the optical characteristics of the local atmosphere can change the angular behaviour of the sky radiance or luminance. All these effects are evaluated for two Slovakian observatories: Stará Lesná and Vartovka.

Keywords: light pollution; scattering; atmospheric effects; methods: numerical

Journal Article.  6212 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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