The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness

mondo_ridotto0p25.png (219 KB)

Colors correspond to ratios between the artificial sky brightness and the natural sky brightness of: <0.01 (black), 0.01-0.11 (dark-gray), 0.11-0.33 (blue), 0.33-1 (green), 1-3 (yellow), 3-9 (orange), 9-27 (red), <27 (white).

Source: Cinzano, P., Falchi, F., Elvidge C.D., The first world atlas of the artificial night sky brightness. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 328, 689–707 (2001)

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    8 Responses to The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness

    1. This map looks shoop’d. There are certain rectangular spots of dark grey, and northern Canada was completely edited out.


    2. anyone have any idea why the falklands are so bright? their light signature far exceeds their expected albedo.


    3. Once again Alaska is not part of the world.


    4. I live in the bright spot in Florida.


    5. I like how Japan looks like a little Lite-Brite dragon.


    6. They cut Hawaii off! Basterds!


    7. From the FAQ:

      What’s all that light near the Falkland islands? For a small set of islands with more sheep than people, how can they possibly generate so much light?

      Satellite data also record the offshore lights where oil and gas production is active (visible e.g. in the North Sea, Chinese Sea and Arabic Gulf), other natural gas flares (visible e.g. in Nigeria) and the fishing fleets (visible e.g. near the coast of Argentina, in Japan Sea and near Malacca). Note that their upward emission functions likely differ from the average emission function of the urban night-time lighting that we use so that the predictions of their effects have some uncertainty.

      It would have been interesting to have a complete map. Alaska isn’t even there!

      The presence of snow could make the upward emission function differ from the average emission function of the urban night-time lighting and so it could add some uncertainty (see the discussion in our first paper on Monthly Notices). For this reason, we neglected territories near the poles. In few years we hope to be able to update our method in order to take into account the effects of the snow, so that we will be able to make computations for the missed territories too.


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