Using a Czerny-Turner spectrometer, 45 different types of outdoor lights were categorized. These spectra were used to determine how useful the light is to human eyes and how dark skies friendly these lights are. Dark skies friendly lighting means that little to no light shines above a right angle to the light, and should emit as little as possible below 500nm (green) wavelengths. The short wavelengths present a problem to astronomers in the form of Rayleigh scattering. The following criterion were used in selecting the best source for urban and rural lighting: color rendition measured by color rendering index (CRI), percentage of light scattered because it is emitted under 500 nm, and efficiency (lumens/watt). Analysis determined that the best option currently available is to add a 495-500 nm filter to existing and future white LEDs in cities.


Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics | Environmental Health and Protection | Optics | Other Astrophysics and Astronomy | Other Earth Sciences | Sustainability


Stephen M. Pompea

Lab site

National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/128


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.