The new World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

I present the main steps toward the completion of the new World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness (WA II) and some results. The computational technique has been updated, in comparison to the first World Atlas, to take into account both sources and sites elevation. The elevation data are from USGS GTOPO30 global digital elevation model, with the same pixel size as the WA II maps. The upward emission function used to compute the Atlas is a three parameters function. The parameters can be constrained to the database of Earth based night sky brightness measurements. In this way we can use the better fitting upward function for the final map’s calibration. We maintained constant atmosphere parameters over the entire Earth, identical to those used for the first Atlas (Garstang atmospheric clarity coefficient k=1, equivalent to a vertical extinction at sea level of 0.33 magnitude in the V band). This was done in order to avoid introducing a local bias due to different conditions that may confound the light pollution propagation effects. The radiance data used are those from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day-Night Band (DNB) on board the Suomi NPP satellite. The use of this newly available radiance data allows for an increased real resolution, even while maintaining the same 30”x30” lat-lon pixel size. Anyway, a higher resolution is really appreciable only in the immediate proximity of sources of light pollution (e.g. inside a big city). The VIIRS DNB data used for the input data were chosen from the months ranging from May to September in order to avoid introducing bias from the variable snow coverage in mid to high northern latitudes. In the southern hemisphere this problem is far less pronounced. The WA II takes advantage of the now enormous database of Earth based sky brightness measurements obtained mainly with Sky Quality Meters, but also with CCD measurements.

Fabio Falchi

AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: F. Falchi, P. Cinzano, ISTIL - Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute, Thiene, ITALYC.C. Kyba, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, GERMANYB.A. Portnov, Department of Natural Resources & Environ-mental Management, University of Haifa, Haifa, ISRAEL


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