Abstract

The Zernike power spectra of the all-sky night brightness distributions of clear and cloudy nights are computed using a modal projection approach. The results obtained in the B, V, and R Johnson–Cousins’ photometric bands during a one-year campaign of observations at a light-polluted urban site show that these spectra can be described by simple power laws with exponents close to 3 for clear nights and 2 for cloudy ones. The second-moment matrices of the Zernike coefficients show relevant correlations between modes. The multiplicative role of the cloud cover, that contributes to a significant increase of the brightness of the urban night sky in comparison with the values obtained on clear nights, is described in the Zernike space.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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