Abstract

Average values are given of the night sky brightness observed with visual photometers in Brazil, Bikini, Maryland, and New York State, which covered latitudes from 17° south to 45° north. The measurements revealed no important variations with latitude. For clear air, no moon, and no aurorae the brightness decreased on the average from about 225 millimicrolamberts at 15° above the horizon to 130 at the zenith. Previous determinations of the height of the night sky luminosity by means of the observed curves of brightness against zenith angle have lead to conflicting results, values from 60 to more than 500 km being reported. When the determination was repeated with recent data and with the improved corrections of Piotrowski for atmospheric attenuation and scattering such discrepancies between theory and experiment appeared that no certain values of the height were obtained.

© 1949 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. OSRD ReportA Series of Measurements of the Brightness of the Night Sky, and the supplement thereto (Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, 1943).
  2. H. W. Babcock and J. J. Johnson, Astrophys. J. 94, 271–275 (1941).
    [Crossref]
  3. R. A. Richardson and E. O. Hulburt, “Brightness of the night sky near Bocaiuva, Brazil.” A paper to be published in a technical report of the National Geographic Society.
  4. The literature of the night sky is voluminous and scattered, see surveys by G. Dejardin, Rev. Mod. Phys. 8, 1–21 (1936); C. T. Elvey, ibid. 14, 140–150 (1942); D. R. Bates and M. N. Roy, Astro. Soc. 106, 509–514 (1946); A. Kastler, Ann. de Geophysique,  2, 315–328 (1946).
    [Crossref]
  5. H. N. Russell, R. S. Dugan, and J. Q. Stewart, Astronomy (Ginn and Company, New York, 1926), Vol. 2, p. 625.
  6. D. Barbier, Ann. de geophysique 1, 144–156 (1944); E. O. Hulburt, report at the Gassiot Committee conference at London, July, 1947.
  7. S. L. Piotrowski, Astrophys. J. 106, 466–471 (1947).
    [Crossref]
  8. P. J. van Rhijn, Pub. Astr. Lab. Groningen, No. 21 (1921).
  9. E. O. Hulburt, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 31, 467–476 (1941); A. Bullrich, Optik 2, 301–325 (1947).
    [Crossref]
  10. C. G. Abbot, Astrophys. J. 28, 129–136 (1914).
  11. P. Abadie, A. Vassy, and E. Vassy, Ann. de Geophysique 1, 189–224 (1944).

1947 (1)

S. L. Piotrowski, Astrophys. J. 106, 466–471 (1947).
[Crossref]

1944 (2)

D. Barbier, Ann. de geophysique 1, 144–156 (1944); E. O. Hulburt, report at the Gassiot Committee conference at London, July, 1947.

P. Abadie, A. Vassy, and E. Vassy, Ann. de Geophysique 1, 189–224 (1944).

1941 (2)

1936 (1)

The literature of the night sky is voluminous and scattered, see surveys by G. Dejardin, Rev. Mod. Phys. 8, 1–21 (1936); C. T. Elvey, ibid. 14, 140–150 (1942); D. R. Bates and M. N. Roy, Astro. Soc. 106, 509–514 (1946); A. Kastler, Ann. de Geophysique,  2, 315–328 (1946).
[Crossref]

1921 (1)

P. J. van Rhijn, Pub. Astr. Lab. Groningen, No. 21 (1921).

1914 (1)

C. G. Abbot, Astrophys. J. 28, 129–136 (1914).

Abadie, P.

P. Abadie, A. Vassy, and E. Vassy, Ann. de Geophysique 1, 189–224 (1944).

Abbot, C. G.

C. G. Abbot, Astrophys. J. 28, 129–136 (1914).

Babcock, H. W.

H. W. Babcock and J. J. Johnson, Astrophys. J. 94, 271–275 (1941).
[Crossref]

Barbier, D.

D. Barbier, Ann. de geophysique 1, 144–156 (1944); E. O. Hulburt, report at the Gassiot Committee conference at London, July, 1947.

Dejardin, G.

The literature of the night sky is voluminous and scattered, see surveys by G. Dejardin, Rev. Mod. Phys. 8, 1–21 (1936); C. T. Elvey, ibid. 14, 140–150 (1942); D. R. Bates and M. N. Roy, Astro. Soc. 106, 509–514 (1946); A. Kastler, Ann. de Geophysique,  2, 315–328 (1946).
[Crossref]

Dugan, R. S.

H. N. Russell, R. S. Dugan, and J. Q. Stewart, Astronomy (Ginn and Company, New York, 1926), Vol. 2, p. 625.

Hulburt, E. O.

E. O. Hulburt, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 31, 467–476 (1941); A. Bullrich, Optik 2, 301–325 (1947).
[Crossref]

R. A. Richardson and E. O. Hulburt, “Brightness of the night sky near Bocaiuva, Brazil.” A paper to be published in a technical report of the National Geographic Society.

Johnson, J. J.

H. W. Babcock and J. J. Johnson, Astrophys. J. 94, 271–275 (1941).
[Crossref]

Piotrowski, S. L.

S. L. Piotrowski, Astrophys. J. 106, 466–471 (1947).
[Crossref]

Richardson, R. A.

R. A. Richardson and E. O. Hulburt, “Brightness of the night sky near Bocaiuva, Brazil.” A paper to be published in a technical report of the National Geographic Society.

Russell, H. N.

H. N. Russell, R. S. Dugan, and J. Q. Stewart, Astronomy (Ginn and Company, New York, 1926), Vol. 2, p. 625.

Stewart, J. Q.

H. N. Russell, R. S. Dugan, and J. Q. Stewart, Astronomy (Ginn and Company, New York, 1926), Vol. 2, p. 625.

van Rhijn, P. J.

P. J. van Rhijn, Pub. Astr. Lab. Groningen, No. 21 (1921).

Vassy, A.

P. Abadie, A. Vassy, and E. Vassy, Ann. de Geophysique 1, 189–224 (1944).

Vassy, E.

P. Abadie, A. Vassy, and E. Vassy, Ann. de Geophysique 1, 189–224 (1944).

Ann. de geophysique (1)

D. Barbier, Ann. de geophysique 1, 144–156 (1944); E. O. Hulburt, report at the Gassiot Committee conference at London, July, 1947.

P. Abadie, A. Vassy, and E. Vassy, Ann. de Geophysique 1, 189–224 (1944).

Astrophys. J. (3)

C. G. Abbot, Astrophys. J. 28, 129–136 (1914).

S. L. Piotrowski, Astrophys. J. 106, 466–471 (1947).
[Crossref]

H. W. Babcock and J. J. Johnson, Astrophys. J. 94, 271–275 (1941).
[Crossref]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

Pub. Astr. Lab. Groningen, No. 21 (1)

P. J. van Rhijn, Pub. Astr. Lab. Groningen, No. 21 (1921).

Rev. Mod. Phys. (1)

The literature of the night sky is voluminous and scattered, see surveys by G. Dejardin, Rev. Mod. Phys. 8, 1–21 (1936); C. T. Elvey, ibid. 14, 140–150 (1942); D. R. Bates and M. N. Roy, Astro. Soc. 106, 509–514 (1946); A. Kastler, Ann. de Geophysique,  2, 315–328 (1946).
[Crossref]

Other (3)

H. N. Russell, R. S. Dugan, and J. Q. Stewart, Astronomy (Ginn and Company, New York, 1926), Vol. 2, p. 625.

R. A. Richardson and E. O. Hulburt, “Brightness of the night sky near Bocaiuva, Brazil.” A paper to be published in a technical report of the National Geographic Society.

OSRD ReportA Series of Measurements of the Brightness of the Night Sky, and the supplement thereto (Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, 1943).

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Figures (6)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Night sky brightness at several stations.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Geometry of brightness calculation.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Comparison of theory with data at Pic du Midi for red light.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Comparison of theory with data at Pic du Midi for green light.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Comparison of theory with data at Bocaiuva.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Comparison of theory with data at Maryland.

Equations (4)

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B z = B 0 [ 1 - ( sin z ) 2 / ( 1 + h / R ) 2 ] - 1 2 ,
B z / B 0 = [ 1 - ( sin z ) 2 / ( 1 + h / R ) 2 ] - 1 2 e - τ sec z + 2 H 4 + s τ [ 2 + 3 cos z - ( 2 + 3 cos z + s τ ) e - τ sec z ] ,
H = ( 1 + h / R ) { 1 + h / R - [ 2 h / R + ( h / R ) 2 ] 1 2 } .
B 0 / B 0 = e - τ + 2 H 4 + s τ [ 5 - ( 5 + s τ ) e - τ ] .