Dark Skies

The UCM team is a member of the STARS4ALL European project. We are leading the developement of the TESS-W photometer for measuring night sky brightness.

Our group is collaborating in multidisciplinary research on Light Pollution within the framework of the Spanish Light Pollution Research Network (REECL).




The Starlight Conference 2007 (World Conference in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars) in collaboration with UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union(IAU) launched an "initiative designed as an international action in defence of the values associated with the night sky and the general right to observe the stars. It is open to the participation of all scientific, cultural, environmental, and citizens' organizations and associations, as well as public institutions and other public and private bodies willing to effectively cooperate in the conservation of clear skies and the dissemination of the knowledge related with their observation. The final aim of the initiative is to strengthen the importance of clear skies for humankind, emphasizing and introducing the value of this endangered heritage for science, education, culture, technological development, nature conservation, tourism and, obviously, as a quality-of-life factor."

More information on Light Pollution could be found in the webpage of the spanish Cel Fosc.

Light Pollution in Spain

We are interested in finding the power consumption of the public lighting in Spain and to compare it with those of European countries. The spanish budget for public lighting shows an extraordinay grow which translates to an increase of light pollution. Our research is performed with official statistics on electrical power and analyzing images of the Earth at Night taken from satellites.

More info on this.

Light Pollution in UCM

We are working on the effects of light pollution in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid on the UCM astronomical observatory (Observatorio UCM) that is an urban observatory located in Moncloa campus (Ciudad Universitaria). Astronomical observations are affected by Madrid light pollution. With the help of amateur astronomers belonging to the  Asociación de Astrónomos Aficionados de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (ASAAF-UCM) we are drawing maps of the illumination of the campus to inform of its effects and reduce its impact by promoting a more efficient public lighting.

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Night Sky Brightness

Light pollution increases the brightness of the night sky close to the urban areas. The effects of these excesive illumination are noticed at great distances. We are researching on the effects of light pollution on the night sky brightnes (in magnitudes per square arcsec) using the tools of the astronomers with photometers and all sky cameras. With automatic systems on board of vehicles we are also mapping the night sky brightness around Madrid.

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Images of the Earth at Night from space

Nocturnal images of the Earth taken from satellites speak by themselves of the inappropriate and excesive illumination. The observed light comes from artificial illumination that escapes to the space. By analyzing the images we can pinpoint the sources and quantify their intensity. A comparison between satellite imagery and data taken on Earth is a key step to progress in our study of light pollution. Images taken at different epochs will inform on the evolution of the problem. 

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