AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Sky Brightness Measurements and Ways to Mitigate Light Pollution in Kirksville, Missouri

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

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Vayujeet Gokhale
Truman State University, 100 E Normal Street, Kirksville, MO 63501; gokhale@truman.edu
Jordan Goins
Truman State University, 100 E Normal Street, Kirksville, MO 63501; gokhale@truman.edu
Ashley Herdmann
Truman State University, 100 E Normal Street, Kirksville, MO 63501; gokhale@truman.edu
Eric Hilker
Truman State University, 100 E Normal Street, Kirksville, MO 63501; gokhale@truman.edu
Emily Wren
Truman State University, 100 E Normal Street, Kirksville, MO 63501; gokhale@truman.edu
David Caples
Moberly Area Community College, Kirksville, MO 63501
James Tompkins
Moberly Area Community College, Kirksville, MO 63501

Abstract

We describe the level of light pollution in and around Kirksville, Missouri, and at Anderson Mesa near Flagstaff, Arizona, by measuring the sky brightness using Unihedron sky quality meters. We report that, on average, the Anderson Mesa site is approximately 1.3 mag/arcsec2 darker than the Truman State Observatory site, and approximately 2.5 mag/arcsec2 darker than the roof of the science building at Truman State University in Kirksville. We also show that at the Truman observatory site, the North and East skies have significantly high sky brightness (by about 1 mag/arcsec2) as compared to the South and West skies. Similarly, the sky brightness varies significantly with azimuth on the top of the science building at Truman State—the west direction being as much as 3 mag/arcsec2 brighter than the south direction. The sky brightness at Anderson Mesa is much more uniform, varying by less than 0.4 mag/arcsec2 at most along the azimuthal direction. Finally, we describe the steps we are taking in the Kirksville area to mitigate the nuisance of light pollution by installing fully shielded outdoor light fixtures and improved outdoor lights on Truman State University's campus.