NOAO < EDUCATION < FM21.2.02

Night sky photometry with amateur-grade digital cameras

Measurements of night sky brightness can give us valuable information on light pollution. The more the measurements we have the better is our knowledge on the spatial distribution of the pollution on local and global scale.

High accuracy professional photometry of night sky can be performed with dedicated instruments. The main drawbacks of this method are high price and low mobility. This limits an amount of observers and therefore amount of photometric data that can be collected. In order to overcome the problem of limited amount of data we can involve amateur astronomers in photometry of night sky. However, to achieve this goal we need a method that utilizes equipment which is usually used by amateur astronomers, e.g digital cameras.

We propose a method that enables good accuracy photometry of night sky with a use of digital compact or DSLR cameras. In the method reduction of observations and standarization to Johnson UBV system are performed. We tested several cameras and compared results to Sky Quality Meter (SQM) measurements. The overall consistency for results is within 0.2 mag.

Tomasz Mrozek

AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: T. Mrozek, M. Steslicki, Solar Physics Division, Space Research Centre PAS, Wroclaw, POLANDT. Mrozek, D. Gronkiewicz, S. Kolomanski, Astronomical Institute, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, POLAND

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