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Data from: Anthropogenic disruption of the night sky darkness in urban and rural areas

Citation

Bará, Salvador (2016), Data from: Anthropogenic disruption of the night sky darkness in urban and rural areas, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kv072

Abstract

The growing emissions of artificial light to the atmosphere are producing, among other effects, a significant increase of the night sky brightness (NSB) above its expected natural values. A permanent sensor network has been deployed in Galicia (northwest of Iberian peninsula) to monitor the anthropogenic disruption of the night sky darkness in a countrywide area. The network is composed of 14 detectors integrated in automated weather stations of MeteoGalicia, the Galician public meteorological agency. Zenithal NSB readings are taken every minute and the results are openly available in real time for researchers, interested stakeholders and the public at large through a dedicated website. The measurements allow one to assess the extent of the loss of the natural night in urban, periurban, transition and dark rural sites, as well as its daily and monthly time courses. Two metrics are introduced here to characterize the disruption of the night darkness across the year: the significant magnitude (m1/3) and the moonlight modulation factor (γ). The significant magnitude shows that in clear and moonless nights the zenithal night sky in the analysed urban settings is typically 14–23 times brighter than expected from a nominal natural dark sky. This factor lies in the range 7–8 in periurban sites, 1.6–2.5 in transition regions and 0.8–1.6 in rural and mountain dark sky places. The presence of clouds in urban areas strongly enhances the amount of scattered light, easily reaching amplification factors in excess of 25, in comparison with the light scattered in the same places under clear sky conditions. The periodic NSB modulation due to the Moon, still clearly visible in transition and rural places, is barely notable at periurban locations and is practically lost at urban sites.

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