Wyoming Cross-Cutting II

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

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

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. Park officials are Grand Teton National Park are concerned about light pollution's impacts on visitor experience and the environment. Thus, in collaboration with the National Park Service and Wyoming Stargazing, our team created the Skyglow Estimation Toolbox (SET), a Python program that calculates images of artificial sky glow from the vantage point of a viewer on the ground. SET processes visible light radiance imagery collected by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite Day/Night Band. By processing the pixel values in VIIRS imagery with convolution, the Toolbox applies Cinzano (2001) and Garstang's (1989) model of light propagation to create artificial skyglow maps to measure skyglow at a user-supplied viewing angle and location. We applied this program to a 300 km square buffer of our study area, GRTE, and created multi-annual composites of sky glow over the summer months (July, August, and September) of 2014, 2015, and 2016. With further development and model validation, SET will help government officials and communities quantify the impact of light sources to their night skies and will help inform decisions regarding lighting ordinances in nearby Teton County.


Project Video:
Say No to the Glow: Using NASA and NOAA's Suomi NPP Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite to Model Artificial Sky Brightness
Location
Wise County Clerk of Circuit Court's Office
Term
Summer 2017
Partner(s)
National Park Service, Grand Teton National Park
National Park Service, Intermountain Region
National Park Service, Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division
Wyoming Stargazing
NASA Earth Observations
Suomi NPP, VIIRS/ EDR
Team
Veronica Warda (Project Lead)
Ryan Avery
Steven Chao
Stanley Yu
Advisor(s)
Dr. L. DeWayne Cecil (NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Global Science & Technology, Inc.)
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)
Bob VanGundy (The University of Virginia's College at Wise)

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