2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

Cloud Cover and Nighttime Sky Brightness in Missouri


Andrew D. Gentry
Dr. Vayujeet Gokhale, Faculty Mentor

Since the beginning of 2019, we have set up 12 Unihedron Sky Quality Meters (SQM) to measure the zenith nighttime sky brightness at various sites across the state of Missouri. We present an analysis of data recorded by these devices, combined with cloud cover data collected from airports located near each of our SQM’s, focusing on 5 locations for which we have data from more than 1 year. We find that the presence of clouds serves to amplify the effect that artificial light has on brightening the night sky. Our analyses show that the presence of clouds increases the sky brightness more significantly in areas that have higher base levels of light pollution. The brightest of the 5 locations, Rolla, Missouri, has an average sky brightness of 18.9 mag/arcsec^2, and increases in brightness in the presence of clouds by an average of 3.6 mag/arcsec^2.

Keywords: light pollution, sky brightness, cloud cover, pollution

Topic(s):Environmental Studies
Astronomy
Physics

Presentation Type: Asynchronous Virtual Oral Presentation

Session: 17-7
Location: https://flipgrid.com/db94b0d7
Time: 0:00

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