Sunday, November 10, 2013

Night Flight II

A week ago I had another opportunity to shoot some city lights from an airplane. This time my flight was from Atlanta to Tucson. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know where I was when these shots were taken but there are still some some things of interest in them.
As it turns out there is a lot that can be learned by looking a city lights from the air. Doing so from an airline isn't necessarily the best way to do it though. Some researchers are using airplanes to study city lights in a systematic way. Check out this post about the lights of Berlin from the Loss of the Night blog.  They've got a video posted there that I have embedded below that shows their night views of Berlin Germany from an airplane and from the International Space Station:

Back to my shots. They are presented in geographic order from east to west.
Looking down on some continuous roadway lighting:
Notice the brightest areas in the shot below? Yeah, it's sports lighting
Finally, two shots of Tucson:
Notice in the shot above not only the differing colors of light but also that mostly you see the reflected pools of light underneath the light poles rather than upward directed light. 
What's the brightest thing in this shot? Sports lighting, just as it is in most towns. This particular installation is putting a lot of light going not directly upward (aside from reflected light), but upward in a sideways direction. Research shows that this brightens the sky over a much larger area. That's not exactly a good thing, is it?

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