Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 184, Issue 4, pp 2537–2557 | Cite as

Night-sky brightness monitoring in Hong Kong

A city-wide light pollution assessment
  • Chun Shing Jason Pun
  • Chu Wing SoEmail author
Open Access


Results of the first comprehensive light pollution survey in Hong Kong are presented. The night-sky brightness was measured and monitored around the city using a portable light-sensing device called the Sky Quality Meter over a 15-month period beginning in March 2008. A total of 1,957 data sets were taken at 199 distinct locations, including urban and rural sites covering all 18 Administrative Districts of Hong Kong. The survey shows that the environmental light pollution problem in Hong Kong is severe—the urban night skies (sky brightness at 15.0 mag arcsec − 2) are on average ~ 100 times brighter than at the darkest rural sites (20.1 mag arcsec − 2), indicating that the high lighting densities in the densely populated residential and commercial areas lead to light pollution. In the worst polluted urban location studied, the night-sky at 13.2 mag arcsec − 2 can be over 500 times brighter than the darkest sites in Hong Kong. The observed night-sky brightness is found to be affected by human factors such as land utilization and population density of the observation sites, together with meteorological and/or environmental factors. Moreover, earlier night skies (at 9:30 p.m. local time) are generally brighter than later time (at 11:30 p.m.), which can be attributed to some public and commercial lightings being turned off later at night. On the other hand, no concrete relationship between the observed sky brightness and air pollutant concentrations could be established with the limited survey sampling. Results from this survey will serve as an important database for the public to assess whether new rules and regulations are necessary to control the use of outdoor lightings in Hong Kong.


Air pollutant concentration Environmental assessment Environmental monitoring Light pollution Night-sky brightness Pollution risk 


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© The Author(s) 2011

Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsThe University of Hong KongHong KongPR China

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