Vol 17, No 4

Spatial Model of Sky Brightness Magnitude in Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Mohammad Redzuan Tahar, Farahana Kamarudin, Roslan Umar, Mohd Khairul Amri Kamarudin, Nor Hazmin Sabri, Karzaman Ahmad, Sobri Abdul Rahim, Mohd Sharul Aikal Baharim


Abstract Sky brightness is an essential topic in the field of astronomy, especially for optical astronomical observations that need very clear and dark sky conditions. This study presents the spatial model of sky brightness magnitude in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. Two types of Sky Quality Meter (SQM) manufactured by Unihedron are used to measure the sky brightness on a moonless night (or when the Moon is below the horizon), when the sky is cloudless and the locations are at least 100 m from the nearest light source. The selected locations are marked by their GPS coordinates. The sky brightness data obtained in this study were interpolated and analyzed using a Geographic Information System (GIS), thus producing a spatial model of sky brightness that clearly shows the dark and bright sky areas in Langkawi Island. Surprisingly, our results show the existence of a few dark sites nearby areas of high human activity. The sky brightness of 21.45 mag arcsec−2 in the Johnson-Cousins V-band, as the average of sky brightness equivalent to 2.8 ×10−4 cd m−2 over the entire island, is an indication that the island is, overall, still relatively dark. However, the amount of development taking place might reduce the number in the near future as the island is famous as a holiday destination.


Keywords light pollution — atlases — site testing — methods: data analysis

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