Special Issue "Light Pollution Assessment with Imaging Devices"

A special issue of Journal of Imaging (ISSN 2313-433X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Andreas Jechow
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, 12587 Berlin, Germany
Helmholtz Center Potsdam GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Interests: light pollution; ecology; remote sensing; imaging; ecological light pollution; darkness; night

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The excessive use of artificial light at night has become a form of environmental pollution—light pollution. Many studies have shown wide ranging consequences of artificial light on flora and fauna, as well as potential risks for human health. This has produced an increased demand for light pollution assessment from the ground, the air and from space.

However, the field of light pollution measurements is still in its infancy compared to other sensor systems. The work horses for global light pollution measurements are the ground-based single channel device called Sky Quality Meter (SQM), mainly used for zenith measurements and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite nighttime sensor (Day/Night Band, DNB). Both solutions suffer from a non-ideal spectral sensitivity to track the recent changes to solid-state lighting technology with LEDs and zenith-only measurements are often insufficient to evaluate impacts of light pollution.

This Special Issue addresses the demand for improved satellite technology and ground-based light pollution measurements across the entire sky (all-sky) ideally with increased spectral sensitivity (multi- or hyperspectral sensors). Contributions about imaging devices and image forming tools are invited including but not limited to:

  • Ground-based imaging solutions like wide field optics, custom imaging sensors (i.e., CCDs), the use of consumer cameras (and their modification);
  • Citizen science approaches with smart phone cameras;
  • Airborne and space-born sensors including new satellite sensors or the use of UAVs;
  • Recent developments in multispectral and hyperspectral sensors and color sensors;
  • Software and code for image processing in the context of light pollution;
  • Systems to produce all-sky maps from single channel devices or individual images (i.e., scanners).

Furthermore, results from light pollution measurements using imaging tools are explicitly invited, especially in the context of ecological light pollution and for different weather conditions (clouds, etc.).

Dr. Andreas Jechow
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Imaging is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Light pollution
  • Ecological light pollution
  • Imaging
  • Artificial light at night
  • Night sky brightness
  • Night-time lights

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Snowglow—The Amplification of Skyglow by Snow and Clouds Can Exceed Full Moon Illuminance in Suburban Areas
J. Imaging 2019, 5(8), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging5080069 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Artificial skyglow, the fraction of artificial light at night that is emitted upwards from Earth and subsequently scattered back within the atmosphere, depends on atmospheric conditions but also on the ground albedo. One effect that has not gained much attention so far is [...] Read more.
Artificial skyglow, the fraction of artificial light at night that is emitted upwards from Earth and subsequently scattered back within the atmosphere, depends on atmospheric conditions but also on the ground albedo. One effect that has not gained much attention so far is the amplification of skyglow by snow, particularly in combination with clouds. Snow, however, has a very high albedo and can become important when the direct upward emission is reduced when using shielded luminaires. In this work, first results of skyglow amplification by fresh snow and clouds measured with all-sky photometry in a suburban area are presented. Amplification factors for the zenith luminance of 188 for snow and clouds in combination and 33 for snow alone were found at this site. The maximum zenith luminance of nearly 250 mcd/m2 measured with snow and clouds is a factor of 1000 higher than the commonly used clear sky reference of 0.25 mcd/m2. Compared with our darkest zenith luminance of 0.07 mcd/m2 measured for overcast conditions in a very remote area, this leads to an overall amplification factor of ca. 3500. Horizontal illuminance measurements show values of up to 0.79 lx, exceeding maximum possible full-moon illuminance levels by more than a factor of two. Additional measurements near the Arctic Circle for clear and overcast conditions are presented and strategies for further studies are discussed. We propose the term “snowglow” to describe the amplification of skyglow by snow with and without clouds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Pollution Assessment with Imaging Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Measurements of Night Sky Brightness in the Veneto Region of Italy: Sky Quality Meter Network Results and Differential Photometry by Digital Single Lens Reflex
J. Imaging 2019, 5(5), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging5050056 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, we present the implementation of a monitoring network for artificial light at night (ALAN), based on Sky Quality Meter devices (SQM) installed in seven locations of the Veneto region. The system is coordinated by the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA-Veneto) [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present the implementation of a monitoring network for artificial light at night (ALAN), based on Sky Quality Meter devices (SQM) installed in seven locations of the Veneto region. The system is coordinated by the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA-Veneto) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Padova, in collaboration with a local dark-sky association, Venetostellato. A new centralized database containing zenith night sky brightness (NSB) data was implemented to collect data from all SQM stations of the regional territory, not only in real time (since 2017), but in some stations since 2011. We now have a dataset to determine how light pollution is affecting astronomical observatories. A WEB portal was created to offer different downloads from these NSB data. We present the results of some elaborations for the 2018 dataset (statistics, histograms, annual and cumulative plots) for seven monitoring sites. For Ekar and Pennar sites, we also present the NSB monthly trend from 2014 until the time of the study. We purchased a reflex camera with a fish eye lens, appropriately calibrated with the software (SW) Sky Quality Camera, which allowed us to study ALAN using differential photometry. Here, we present our first results obtained by studying the night evolution of light pollution in the urban location of Padova. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Pollution Assessment with Imaging Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Methods for Assessment and Monitoring of Light Pollution around Ecologically Sensitive Sites
J. Imaging 2019, 5(5), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging5050054 - 18 May 2019
Abstract
Since the introduction of electric lighting over a century ago, and particularly in the decades following the Second World War, indications of artificial light on the nighttime Earth as seen from Earth orbit have increased at a rate exceeding that of world population [...] Read more.
Since the introduction of electric lighting over a century ago, and particularly in the decades following the Second World War, indications of artificial light on the nighttime Earth as seen from Earth orbit have increased at a rate exceeding that of world population growth during the same period. Modification of the natural photic environment at night is a clear and imminent consequence of the proliferation of anthropogenic light at night into outdoor spaces, and with this unprecedented change comes a host of known and suspected ecological consequences. In the past two decades, the conservation community has gradually come to view light pollution as a threat requiring the development of best management practices. Establishing those practices demands a means of quantifying the problem, identifying polluting sources, and monitoring the evolution of their impacts through time. The proliferation of solid-state lighting and the changes to source spectral power distribution it has brought relative to legacy lighting technologies add the complication of color to the overall situation. In this paper, I describe the challenge of quantifying light pollution threats to ecologically-sensitive sites in the context of efforts to conserve natural nighttime darkness, assess the current state of the art in detection and imaging technology as applied to this realm, review some recent innovations, and consider future prospects for imaging approaches to provide substantial support for darkness conservation initiatives around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Pollution Assessment with Imaging Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Human Photoreceptoral Inputs from Night-Time Lights Using RGB Imaging Photometry
J. Imaging 2019, 5(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging5040049 - 16 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Night-time lights interact with human physiology through different pathways starting at the retinal layers of the eye; from the signals provided by the rods; the S-, L- and M-cones; and the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC). These individual photic channels combine in [...] Read more.
Night-time lights interact with human physiology through different pathways starting at the retinal layers of the eye; from the signals provided by the rods; the S-, L- and M-cones; and the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC). These individual photic channels combine in complex ways to modulate important physiological processes, among them the daily entrainment of the neural master oscillator that regulates circadian rhythms. Evaluating the relative excitation of each type of photoreceptor generally requires full knowledge of the spectral power distribution of the incoming light, information that is not easily available in many practical applications. One such instance is wide area sensing of public outdoor lighting; present-day radiometers onboard Earth-orbiting platforms with sufficient nighttime sensitivity are generally panchromatic and lack the required spectral discrimination capacity. In this paper, we show that RGB imagery acquired with off-the-shelf digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) can be a useful tool to evaluate, with reasonable accuracy and high angular resolution, the photoreceptoral inputs associated with a wide range of lamp technologies. The method is based on linear regressions of these inputs against optimum combinations of the associated R, G, and B signals, built for a large set of artificial light sources by means of synthetic photometry. Given the widespread use of RGB imaging devices, this approach is expected to facilitate the monitoring of the physiological effects of light pollution, from ground and space alike, using standard imaging technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Pollution Assessment with Imaging Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Beyond All-Sky: Assessing Ecological Light Pollution Using Multi-Spectral Full-Sphere Fisheye Lens Imaging
J. Imaging 2019, 5(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging5040046 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Artificial light at night is a novel anthropogenic stressor. The resulting ecological light pollution affects a wide breadth of biological systems on many spatio-temporal scales, from individual organisms to communities and ecosystems. However, a widely-applicable measurement method for nocturnal light providing spatially resolved [...] Read more.
Artificial light at night is a novel anthropogenic stressor. The resulting ecological light pollution affects a wide breadth of biological systems on many spatio-temporal scales, from individual organisms to communities and ecosystems. However, a widely-applicable measurement method for nocturnal light providing spatially resolved full-spectrum radiance over the full solid angle is still missing. Here, we explain the first step to fill this gap, by using a commercial digital camera with a fisheye lens to acquire vertical plane multi-spectral (RGB) images covering the full solid angle. We explain the technical and practical procedure and software to process luminance and correlated color temperature maps and derive illuminance. We discuss advantages and limitations and present data from different night-time lighting situations. The method provides a comprehensive way to characterize nocturnal light in the context of ecological light pollution. It is affordable, fast, mobile, robust, and widely-applicable by non-experts for field work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Pollution Assessment with Imaging Devices)
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