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Light pollution


With the term light pollution one intends the disturbing effects of the man-made lights spread out over the entire sky.

The total contribution of artificial nighttime lighting, coming from nearby cities for example, makes the sky background brighter than the other sites located far from the big urban agglomerates. Such lighting has produced a veil over all of our cities and is removing our view of the stars and the Milky Way.

The map on the right shows the effects of the artificial lights produced in the city of Catania (bright spot located at about 180 in azimuth) as observed at the stellar station of the Catania Astrophysical Observatory. Anyway, Catania is the most important source of light pollution but, unfortunately, not the only. Besides, there are too many little town  close to Catania, whose contribution to artificial sky brightness is not negligible.

This map is part of my PhD thesis and has been realized by photometric measurements in the standard UBV system. For detail see the paper "Measurements of the night sky brightness at the Catania Astrophysical Observatory" written by G. Catanzaro and F. A. Catalano and published in "Measuring and Modeling Light Pollution", ed. P. Cinzano, Mem. Soc. Astron. It., Vol. 71 , N.1, p. 211.

Light pollution is not only a problem for the astronomers, but for all the human beings as well. If we lose the view of the stars we'll lose something of ourselves since we can no longer look up and see our place in the universe.


Luminosity of sky background at the

"M. G. Fracastoro" observing station.

Click on the picture for a better view