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223rd AAS Meeting: 5-9 January 2014, Washington, DC


As part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), I (with mentor Dr. Constance Walker of NOAO) characterized light pollution in and near Tucson, Arizona using eight Sky Quality Meters (SQMs). In order to analyze the data in a consistent way for comparison, we created a standard procedure for reduction and analysis using python and MATLAB. The series of python scripts remove faulty data and examine specifically anthropogenic light pollution by excluding contributions made by the sun, moon, and the Milky Way. We then use MATLAB codes to illustrate how the light pollution changes in relation to time, distance from the city, and airglow. Data are then analyzed by a recently developed sky brightness model created by Dan Duriscoe of the National Park Service. To quantify the measurements taken by SQMs, we tested the wavelength sensitivity of the devices used for the data collection. The findings from the laboratory testing have prompted innovations for the SQMs as well as given a sense of how data gathered by these devices should be treated.


Poster presented at the 223rd American Astronomical Meeting. 5-9 January 2014, Washington, DC. PDF of poster available for download through link above.

This project has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.

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