Journal of Environment Protection and Sustainable Development
Articles Information
Journal of Environment Protection and Sustainable Development, Vol.3, No.1, Jan. 2017, Pub. Date: Sep. 18, 2017
Tracking Light Pollution: A Longitudinal Study Utilizing Two Methods
Pages: 1-7 Views: 112 Downloads: 92
[01] Paulette Hebert, Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, United States of America.
[02] Mahendran Balasubramanian, Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, United States of America.
The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and other groups have identified light pollution as an important outdoor lighting issue. Besides interfering with astronomical observations, research has uncovered negative effects on wildlife migration, marine life, star gazing and human health. Related issues include circadian rhythm disruption, melatonin suppression and cancer growth. In response to these threats, several European governments and American state legislatures have enacted legislation to curb light pollution. The main purpose of this longitudinal research project, based on data collected for the international Globe at Night program, was to measure light pollution levels at the same 20 sites in a small town in a Southern Midwestern U.S. state over a four year period. The research team members included University students and community member volunteers, supervised by University faculty members. Researchers visited sites at nighttime during the same month and lunar cycle each year and documented sky quality. One of two GLOBE at Night-approved data collection methods were used at each site: (1) manually comparing views of the constellation, Orion, to standardized star charts to determine Naked Eye Limiting Magnitude (NELM) or (2) using a Sky Quality Meter, which assigned magnitudes per square arcsecond (MPSAS) when energized and pointed at the night sky. Conversions allowed for results from both methodologies to be aligned in reporting. These observations were submitted to the GLOBE at Night worldwide data set. The research found evidence of light pollution at some of the sites. We also found that the mean light pollution increased significantly over the period of four years. In particular, NELM values dropped from 3.5 in 2009 to a 2.45 in 2012, which also marked the highest pollution levels over the period. Based on the results, it is evident that despite a sparse population of less than 50,000 people, this town showed changes in light pollution similar to the global trend. This study makes a meaningful contribution to light pollution research since previously only very limited topical research had been conducted in this geographic area. Light pollution mitigation efforts, including legislation, had increased in this area over time, rendering this work relevant to policy makers.
Light Pollution, NELM, Outdoor Lighting
[01] International Dark-Sky Association. (n.d.). Light Pollution Retrieved from
[02] Hebert, P. R. (2003). Light trespass and facility design and management. International Facility Management Association's 2003 World Workplace Japan Conference Proceedings [Disseminated on compact disc].
[03] (n.d.). Light pollution. Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved from pollution
[04] Linn, A. (2009) AMA links light pollution to cancer, health woes. Newswest, Retrieved from
[05] Fonken, L. and Nelson, R. (2011). Illuminating the deleterious effects of light at night. Retrieved from
[06] Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. IES Light and Human Health Committee. (2008). Light and human health: An overview of the impact of optical radiation on visual, circadian, neuroendocrine, and neurobehavioral responses, (Research Report IES TM-18-08). New York, NY: IESNA.
[07] Boyce, P. & Raynham, P. (2009). The Society of Light and Lighting Handbook, London, England: Entiveon Ltd.
[08] Illuminating Engineering Society (2000). Light Trespass: Research, results and recommendations. New York
[09] GLOBE at Night (n.d.) Maps and Data: Previous Globe at Night Campaigns. Retreived from
[10] GLOBE at Night. (n.d.). About GLOBE at night. Retrieved from
[11] GLOBE at Night. (n.d.).Globe at night sponsors. Retrieved from
[12] GLOBE at Night (n.d.) Magnitude charts for the constellation Orion at 40N. Retrieved from
[13] Birriel, J. & Adkins, J. K., (2010). A simple, portable apparatus to measure night sky brightness at various zenith angles. Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, 38, Retrieved from
[14] GLOBE at Night (n.d.). Using sky quality meters to measure sky brightness. Retrieved from
[15] Ward, D. (2007). Globe at Night analysis summary, Retrieved March 24, 2009, from
[16] Allen, D. (2005). Thanks, Oklahoma State, for robbing me. The Daily O'Collegian, p. 4A.
[17] Obtrusive Light Subcommittee of the IESNA Roadway Lighting Committee. (2000). Light trespass: Research, results and recommendation, TM-11-00. New York: The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
[18] Cannon, G. G. (2011). Norman council approves lighting ordinance. Retrieved from
[19] International Dark-Sky Association. (n.d.). Frequently asked questions, Retrieved from
[20] City of Owasso Zoning Ordinance (2011). Retrieved from
[21] Buscaglia, K. (2001). Light pollution is growing concern. Chicago Tribune, Retrieved from
[22] General Electric (2014). Attract Retail #14690, Retrieved from
[23] Pigeau, C. (2013). The many sources and effects of light pollution. Orillia packet news local, Retrieved from
[24] International Dark-Sky Association. (2000). Dark campus programs reduce vanadalism and save money Information Sheet #54, IDA.
[25] Owens, S. (2011). Do brighter street lights make you safer from crime? Dark sky diary: In Pursuit of darkness, Wordpress. December 22, 2011 Retrieved from
[26] Department of Physics, Florida Atlantic University (n.d.). Light Pollution Endangers Our Security and Our Safety: Light Pollution Is A Safety and A Security Risk Retrieved from
[27] Falchi, F, Cinzano, P., Duriscoe, D., Kyba, C., Elvidge, C., Baugh, K., Portnov, B., Rybnikova, N. and Furgoni, R. (2016). The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness, Science Advances, 2 (6), e1600377 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600377
[28] National Optical Astronomy Observatory (n.d.). GLOBE at Night: Using sky quality meters to measure sky brightness. Retrieved from
[29] Fisher, K. (2006). Conversion Calculator - NELM (V) to MPSAS (B) systems Retrieved from
MA 02210, USA
AIS is an academia-oriented and non-commercial institute aiming at providing users with a way to quickly and easily get the academic and scientific information.
Copyright © 2014 - 2017 American Institute of Science except certain content provided by third parties.