(Submitted May 23, 1998)
I am doing a summer research project on the affects of light pollution
on astrophotography. I was wondering if you could relay me any relevant
information and hopefully methods for measuring light pollution. I have no
way to measure different amounts of light pollution present at any given
location and was wondering if it is even possible to measure.
I've asked a colleague, George Gliba, who is a very experienced amateur
astronomer, who provided me with the following answer.
You may also be interested in the International Dark Sky Association:
for Ask an Astrophysicist
The best way to quantatively measure the amount of light pollution is by
the determination of the limiting magnitude for stars visible from your area.
It is known that, with ideal conditions, the average person should see stars
as faint as 6.0 to 6.5 magnitude with the naked-eye. The International Meteor Organization's web site provides some guidelines for determining your limiting magnitude at the web site:
This will provide you with different area of the sky maps, whose stars you can
count to determine your limiting magnitude, and thus the amount of the light
pollution in your night sky.
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