Observations and Modeling of Light Pollution

This work is critical to an understanding of the relation between light emission from a city and its effect on the night sky.

Pierantonio Cinzano has written a general introduction to his work on monitoring sky brightness with satellites. See his web page giving a list of more than 400 references of papers on Light Pollution.  Publications on this subject were growing exponentially over the period 1968-1992.  Dr. Cinzano's work ranges from the prediction of wholesale loss of a view of the dark night sky from most of Europe (at the polluted bright end) within the next 25 years to careful modelling of the effect of towns and cities near the prime dark sites of Northern Chile (at the still pristine dark end) where major astronomical investment is likely to be on-going for the next 25 years. Most authorities taking decisions about the use of spacecraft and setting national and global lighting policies live in cities which have lost their view of the night sky, so it is important for astronomers to be raising awareness in brightly-lit areas of the globe as well as working in areas around the truly dark astronomical sites.

See also:
                         P. Cinzano, F. Falchi, C.D.Elvidge and K.E.Baugh
"The artificial night sky brightness mapped from DMSP satellite Operational Linescan System measurements".
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 318, 641 (2000).
in electronic form at    http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0003412  or   http://xxx.sissa.it/abs/astro-ph/0003412 ,

                         P. Cinzano, F. Falchi and C.D.Elvidge
"Naked-eye star visibility and limiting magnitude mapped from DMSP-OLS satellite data".
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 323, 34 ( 2001).

and
                         P. Cinzano, F. Falchi and C.D.Elvidge
"The first world atlas of the artificial night sky brightness".
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 328, 689 (2001).
in electronic form at http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0108052
(see also their powerpoint presentation given at the La Serena
conference).

This last reference has attracted extraordinary, world-wide press interest and is a basic reference for workers seeking candidate sites for extremely large telescopes.

                         P. Cinzano and C.D. Elvidge
"Night sky brightness at sites from DMSP-OLS satellite measurements"
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, (submitted - see astro-ph/0406610) - in which they also remind us that "a global atlas of the growth rates of light pollution and zenith night-sky brightness from satellite data (Cinzano, Falchi, Elvidge in prep.) will make it possible to predict the evolution of the night sky situation at sites."  This product, in combination with the First world atlas of the artificial night-sky brightness are likely to be the most important individual outputs so far from our working-group membership.

Dr. Isobe has also been using data from the DMSP satellites to estimate the upward light being wasted by cities around the world.  This can be converted to equivalent costs in the local currency of each city and used to publicize the costly waste involved with light pollution.

Last revised: 30th June, 2004