A team of scientists from Comenius University, with the cooperation of the Institute of Construction and Architecture of Slovak Academy of Sciences, achieved significant results in determining factors that influence the amount of light pollution in the environment.
Physicists created a computer programme called SkyGlow that is able to quantify the impact of light pollution, potentially able to influence changes in street lighting other sources of light pollution.
“Light pollution outside of towns caused by light leaking from towns is not only an economic problem but also a problem for astronomers who cannot observe the skies,” said František Kundracik from the Faculty of Maths, Physics and IT, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “Brightening of the environment disturbs the life rhythm, behaviour and population count of many night animals,” he continued.
Blue light is of special concern because it decreases melatonin production in humans, increasing the risk of developing illnesses and negatively impacting sleep.
The work of the physicist team was published in the prestigious Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer. The community of scientists dealing with the issues of light pollution appraised it as the most significant contribution to the whole topic and the publisher made it accessible to the whole scientific community.
“Programme SkyGlow is now the fastest and most accurate simulator of light pollution in various atmospheric conditions,” described researcher Kundracik for SITA.
“The American city of Tucson in Arizona has asked us to do a study of light smog because they are planning to renovate their street lighting,” said Miroslav Kocifaj, head of the team, in an interview for Daily Pravda, explaining that such calculations may save money.
The team of researchers also work on practical measurements of light pollution and bright characteristics of towns. They developed a prototype of a unique whole-sky scanner that is easy to move and is rechargeable from a car battery. It is highly sensitive even when measuring low levels of light pollution and combines a daily spectrometer for determining the amount and type of aerosol in the atmosphere.