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GUAIX researchers will monitor the night sky brightness of Madrid during the lighting switch off planned for the Earth Hour

The Universidad Complutense group of Extragalactic Astrophysics and Astronomical Instrumentation (GUAIX), that belongs to the Global Change and New Energies cluster of the Campus of International Excellence Campus Moncloa, is ready to study the decrease of night sky brightness of Madrid during the Earth Hour

29/03/2012

The Universidad Complutense group of Extragalactic Astrophysics and Astronomical Instrumentation (GUAIX) , that belongs to the Global Change and New Energies cluster of The Campus of International Excellence Campus Moncloa , is ready to study the decrease of night sky brightness of Madrid during the Earth Hour, an annual global event organized by WWF. Next saturday March 31st millions of people around the world will switch off their lights during one hour from 20:30 to 21:30.

The astronomical observatory of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid will monitor the night sky brightness during the 2012 Earth Hour on saturday 31st March. They will check whether the planned switch off will decrease the brightness of Madrid sky.

Madrid at night. Image acquired on 12 February 2012 from the ISS (International Space Station)
Image ISS030-E-82053 from the NASA
repository maintained by the Image Science
and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson
Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut
Photography of Earth."
The brightest lights that we distinguish on the nocturnal pictures of Madrid taken from the International Space Station (ISS) are black spots of Light Pollution. The last picture of Madrid at night (ISS030-E-82053 on the NASA repository) has an extremely good resolution. It was obtained the last February 12 from ISS at an altitude around 400 km.

By comparing with previous night shots of Madrid at night, some changes in illumination are being detected. Some of them are good news since some road lights were switch off, may be due to the economical crisis. Unfortunately the new bright spots are a clear indication that people are not aware of this environmental problem.

Under the supervision of professor Jaime Zamorano, and the coordination of PhD student Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel and the help of under graduated Physics students, Th research group GUAIX is locating the brightest spots to draw the attention about the Light Pollution problem of a great urban area as Madrid. To obtain the final list they created an interface where interested citizen can collaborate.

GUAIX wish to profit the awareness campaign of the Earth hour to ”œshow the authorities the impact that public and private lighting and to promote the need to put a stop to this waste" as Jaime Zamorano said. ”œThe night pictures of the Earth from space speak by themselves of the inappropriate design of lights and their excessive intensity. The observed light has its origin on artificial lighting which scape to the space. An increase on Light Pollution has a direct impact on night sky brightness: more Light Pollution implies a lost in our opportunity to enjoy dark starry skies".

GUAIX will monitor the night sky brightness during the 2012 Earth Hour on Saturday 31st March. They will check whether the planned switch off will decrease the brightness of Madrid sky. They will use the instruments of Observatorio UCM (an urban astronomical observatory) and in particular AstMon-UCM, an all-sky camera that provides images and parameters related to the astronomical quality of the sky every night. The images of the sky over Madrid can be browsed almost on real time at Cielos de Madrid .

Tag: Global Change and new Energies    Source: GUAIX

Event date:

31/03/2012 - 31/03/2012



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