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Characterizing and Quantifying Night Sky Brightness in Utah and Arizona
ALAN 2013 First International Conference on Artificial Light at Night, Berlin, Germany
  • Rachel K Nydegger, Utah State University
  • Shane L. Larson, Northwestern University
  • Connie Walker, National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Document Type
Poster
Publication Date
10-28-2013
Abstract

As part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), I (with mentor Dr. Constance Walker of NOAO) characterized light pollution in and near Tucson, Arizona using eight Sky Quality Meters (SQMs). In order to analyze the data in a consistent way for comparison, we created a standard procedure for reduction and analysis using python and MATLAB. The series of python scripts and MATLAB codes to remove faulty data and examine specifically anthropogenic light pollution and illustrate how the light pollution changes in relation to time, distance from the city, and airglow. Data are then analyzed by a recently developed sky brightness model created by Dan Duriscoe of the U.S. National Park Service. To quantify the measurements taken by SQMs, we tested the wavelength sensitivity of the devices used for the data collection. The findings from the laboratory testing have prompted innovations for the SQMs as well as given a sense of how data gathered by these devices should be treated. Dr. Shane Larson and I are implementing findings and procedures at Utah State University (USU), along with equipment acquired through the Undergraduate Research and Cre- ative Opportunities (URCO) grant to create a light-map of the university campus and surrounding city. Addi- tionally, the luminosity output of outdoor light fixtures will be analyzed via a Pocket Lux Light Meter. As USU has a sustainability program, Blue Goes Green, that has already implemented lighting codes, the goal of this project is the work with the collegiate administration to renovate old lighting fixtures.

Comments

Poster presented at ALAN 2013 First International Conference on Artificial Light at Night, Berlin, Germany. PDF of poster is available for download through link above.

This project has been supported by funding from the Na- tional Science Foundation and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities grant. Travel funding was given by the USU Physics and Honors departments and the USU Academic Senate.

Citation Information
Nydegger, R., Larson, S., & Walker, C. (2013, October 28). Characterizing and Quantifying Night Sky Brightness in Utah and Arizona. Presented at the ALAN 2013 First International Conference on Artificial Light at Night, Berlin, Germany.