LA Palma Night-Sky Brightness

Research paper by Chris R. Benn, Sara L. Ellison

Indexed on: 09 Sep '99Published on: 09 Sep '99Published in: Astrophysics


The brightness of the moonless night sky above La Palma was measured on 427 CCD images taken with the Isaac Newton and Jacobus Kapteyn Telescopes on 63 nights during 1987 - 1996. The median sky brightness at high elevation, high galactic latitude and high ecliptic latitude, at sunspot minimum, is B = 22.7, V = 21.9, R = 21.0, similar to that at other dark sites. The main contributions to sky brightness are airglow and zodiacal light. The sky is brighter at low ecliptic latitude (by 0.4 mag); at solar maximum (by 0.4 mag); and at high airmass (0.25 mag brighter at airmass 1.5). Light pollution (line + continuum) contributes < 0.03 mag in U, approximately 0.02 mag in B, approximately 0.10 mag in V, approximately and 0.10 mag in R at the zenith. This paper is a summary of results which are presented in full elsewhere (Benn & Ellison 1998, La Palma Technical Note 115).