2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

Cloudy Night, Sky Bright, Won't You Shield Your Lights Tonight: Investigating the Relationship Between Sky Brightness and Cloud Cover in Missouri

Daphne J. Zakarian
Dr. Vayujeet Gokhale and Dr. Rasanjali Jayathissa, Faculty Mentors

We investigate the effects of light pollution on the nighttime environment by studying the relationship between night sky brightness and cloud cover for multiple locations across Missouri. By comparing sky brightness on cloudy and cloudless nights, we quantify the impact of unshielded, upward-pointed lighting at each location. We obtain zenith sky brightness measurements using Unihedron Sky Quality Meters (SQMs) installed at locations ranging from remote, rural, to urban sites. Additionally, weather data are obtained from the nearest airport. Analyses of SQM data from these sites indicate a correlation between the regional population and the difference in sky brightness between cloudy versus cloudless nights. By quantifying the impact of outdoor lighting on the environment, this study helps promote discussions about environmentally conscious lighting practices and policies in local communities. 

Keywords: Sky Brightness, Sky Quality Meters (SQM), Light Pollution, Cloud Cover, Artificial Light at Night (ALAN)


Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 109-2
Location: MG 1096
Time: 9:30

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