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
Open Access
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

References

  1. Benn, C. R., & Ellison, S. L. (1998). Brightness of the night sky over La Palma. New Astronomy Reviews, 42, 503–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blask, D. E., Brainard, G. C., Dauchy, R. T., Hanifin, J. P., Davidson, L. K., Krause, J. A., et al. (2005). Melatonin-depleted blood from premenopausal women exposed to light at night stimulates growth of human breast cancer xenografts in nude rats. Cancer Research, 65, 11,174–11,184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chalkias, C., Petrakis, M., Psiloglou, B., & Lianou, M. (2006). Modelling of light pollution in suburban areas using remotely sensed imagery and GIS. Journal of Environmental Management, 79, 57–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cinzano, P. (2005) Night Sky Photometry with Sky Quality Meter. Available at: http://www.lightpollution.it/download/sqmreport.pdf. Accessed 29 August 2010.
  5. Davis, S., Mirick, D. K., & Stevens, R. G. (2001). Night shift work, light at night, and risk of breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 93, 1557–1562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elvidge, C. D., Cinzano, P., Pettit, D. R., Arvesen, J., Sutton, P., Small, C., et al. (2007). The Nightsat mission concept. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 28, 2645–2670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Garstang, R. H. (1986). Model for artificial night-sky illumination. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 98, 364–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Garstang, R. H. (2004). Mount Wilson observatory: The sad story of light pollution. The Observatory, 124, 14–21.Google Scholar
  9. IDA (1994). Terminology and Units in Lighting and Astronomy. Available at: http://data.nextrionet.com/site/idsa/Archive%20IS099.pdf. Accessed 29 August 2010.
  10. IDA (2010). International Dark-Sky Association. http://www.darksky.org. Accessed 29 August 2010.
  11. Krisciunas, K. (1991). A model of the birghtness of moonlight. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 103, 1033–1039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Krisciunas, K., Semler D. R., Richards, J., Schwarz, H. E., Suntzeff, N. B., Vera, S., et al. (2007). Optical sky brightness at Cerro Tololo Inter-American observatory from 1992 to 2006. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 119, 687–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Marín, C., Jafari, J. (eds) (2007). Starlight: A Common Heritage, Proceedings of the International Conference in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars. International Initiative in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars, Starlight Initiative Instituto De Astrofisica De Canarias (IAC).Google Scholar
  14. Massey, P., & Foltz, C. B. (2000). The spectrum of the night sky over Mount Hopkins and Kitt Peak: Changes after a decade. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 112, 556–573.Google Scholar
  15. McKinney, M. L., Schoch, R. M., & Yonavjak, L. (2007). Environmental science: Systems and solutions. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Neugent, K. F., & Massey, P. (2010). The spectrum of the night sky over Kitt Peak: Changes over two decades. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 122, 1246–1253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ogden, L. J. E. (1996). Collision Course: The Hazards of Lighted Structures and Windows to Migrating Birds. World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Fatal Light Awareness Program.Google Scholar
  18. Patat, F. (2008). The dancing sky: 6 years of night sky observations at Cerro Paranal. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 481, 575–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Paulin, D. (2001) Full Cutoff Lighting: The Benefits. http://www.iesna.org/PDF/FullCutoffLighting.pdf. Accessed 29 August 2010.
  20. Pedani, M. (2009). Sky surface brightness at Mount Graham: UBVRI science observations with the large binocular telescope. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 121, 778–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pilachowski, C. A., Africano, J. L., Goodrich, B. D., & Binkert, W. S. (1989). Sky brightness at the Kitt Peak national observatory. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 101, 707–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roach, F. E., & Gordon, J. L. (1973). The light of the night sky. Dordrecht, Boston: Reidel.Google Scholar
  23. Sanchez, S., Aceituno, J., Thiele, U., Perez-Ramirez, D., & Alves, J. (2007). The night sky at the Calar Alto observatory. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 119, 1186–1200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith, F. (1979). Report and Recommendations of IAU commission 50. Reports on Astronomy, Transactions of the International Astronomical Union, 17A, 22.Google Scholar
  25. Stalin, C. S., Hegde, M., Sahu, D. K., Parihar, P. S., Anupama, G. C., Bhatt, B. C., et al. (2008). Night sky at the Indian Astronomical Observatory during 2000–2008. Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India, 36, 111–127.Google Scholar
  26. Stevens, R. G. (2006). Artificial lighting in the industrialized world: Circadian disruption and breast cancer. Cancer Causes Control, 17, 501–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Stone, R. (2010). Astronomers hope their prize telescope isn’t blinded by the light. Science, 329, 1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Taylor, V. A., Jansen, R. A., & Windhorst, R. A. (2004). Observing conditions at Mt. Graham: Vatican advanced technology telescope UBVR sky surface brightness and seeing measurements from 1999 through 2003. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 116, 762–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Unihedron (2007). Sky Quality Meter - L. http://www.unihedron.com/projects/sqm-l/. Accessed 29 August 2010.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations