Influence of moon and clouds on night illumination in two different spectral ranges
The variable brightness of the night sky affects plants as well as animals and humans. However, knowledge about this variability is still insufficient. Outstanding questions regarding how significant the influence of the moon, clouds, and artificial lighting remain. To be able to make statements about these effects, measurements over a long period of time are necessary. Fraunhofer IOSB performs such measurements in the 380-780 nm photopic visual and 800-1700 nm shortwave infrared spectral range. As the latter is only marginally affected by artificial lighting, a comparison of the two bands deepens insight into the influence of artificial lighting. First analyses show that the moon is, as expected, the dominant light source in the night sky, especially during a full moon. Illuminance values up to 200 mlx and irradiance values up to 600 µW/m2 were measured in the visible and infrared respectively. The influence of clouds is more complicated. The measured intensities depend, among other things, on cloud cover and cloud altitude. When the night sky is overcast, the measured intensities can drop as low as 0.5 mlx and 0.5 µW/m2, respectively. These small values were measured during rainfall. The influence of artificial illumination is difficult to estimate, as intensities in the shortwave infrared decrease with increasing cloud cover, but increase in the visual.