Physics professor receives grant to study light pollution with drones

The Tartan

By Owen Fox


Sep 30, 2018

When was the last time you saw the Milky Way? Many decades ago, the vast trail of stars, planets, and nebulae making up our galaxy could be seen from almost anywhere, even urban centers. But nowadays, this view of the night sky is increasingly uncommon: for 80 percent of Americans, the Milky Way is almost totally obscured.

Light pollution, the cumulative glow emitted by street lamps, house lights, and commercial installations, has made the sky almost opaque. Over the past 20 years, researchers, state agencies, and non-profit organizations have been working to combat this problem in a number of ways, from mapping the glow emitted by man-made light across the globe, to crafting policy initiatives that would change the streetlamp grid of whole cities. Now, thanks to a grant from the Metro21 Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon, a new team of researchers is bringing the issue of light pollution home to Pittsburgh.

Led by Diane Turnshek, a professor of experimental physics at…

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