Detecting Changes in Nighttime Sky Brightness over Grand Teton National Park with the Suomi NPP VIIRS Sensor

Authors: Veronica Warda*, NASA DEVELOP Program - Virginia, Ryan Avery, NASA DEVELOP Program - LaRC, Steven Chao, NASA DEVELOP Program - Virginia, Stanley Yu, NASA DEVELOP Program - Virginia
Topics: Earth Science, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Earth Science, Remote Sensing, GIS, Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band, Light Pollution, Skyglow, Artificial Light, National Park Service,Grand Teton National Park
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Studio 1, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As more outdoor lighting is installed for safety and development, light pollution has become a growing problem that threatens the quality of life for humans and wildlife. The onset of light pollution in cities and dark sky areas not only hinders humans from seeing the stars and the Milky Way but also has been linked to health disorders in humans and behavioral changes in flora and fauna. Grand Teton National Park is concerned about the scattering of light pollution and its associated impacts on visitor experience and the environment. Thus, in collaboration with the National Park Service and Wyoming Stargazing, the NASA DEVELOP Wyoming Cross-Cutting II team created the Skyglow Estimation Toolbox that utilizes data collected by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite Day/Night Band. This software used images of the park and a 300 km square buffer collected by the sensor from the summer months (July, August, and September) of 2014, 2015, and 2016 to calculate the effect of light scattering. By processing the pixel values in this image through convolution, the Toolbox applies Cinzano (2001) and Garstang’s (1989) model of light propagation to create Artificial Skyglow Maps in Esri’s ArcGIS that measure skyglow at various viewing angles and lines of sight in the park, helping park officials determine current sky quality and identify sources of light pollution that are diminishing its quality. Moreover, the data produced by the Toolbox will help government officials make informed decisions regarding lighting ordinances in Teton County.

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