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Appl Opt. 2003 Jul 20;42(21):4349-61.

Effects of light pollution revealed during a nocturnal aerial survey by two hyperspectral imagers.

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  • 1Institute of Applied Physics Nello Carrara, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Panciatichi 64, 50127 Florence, Italy.


A remote-sensing campaign was performed in September 2001 at nighttime under clear-sky conditions before moonrise to assess the level of light pollution of urban and industrial origin. Two hyperspectral sensors, namely, the Multispectral Infrared and Visible Imaging Spectrometer and the Visible Infrared Scanner-200, which provide spectral coverage from the visible to the thermal infrared, were flown over the Tuscany coast (Italy) on board a Casa 212 airplane. The acquired images were processed to produce radiometrically calibrated data, which were then analyzed and compared with ground-based spectral measurements. Calibrated data acquired at high spectral resolution (approximately 2.5 nm) showed a maximum scene brightness almost of the same order of magnitude as that observed during similar daytime measurements, whereas their average luminosity was 3 orders of magnitude lower. The measurement analysis confirmed that artificial illumination hinders astronomical observations and produces noticeable effects even at great distances from the sources of the illumination.

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