Friday, May 22, 2015

Philippine Light Map

2015 is the International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies (IYL2015). As participation to the event, a few students and I (from the Guild for Astronomy Innovation and Advancement) started the Philippine Light Map Project. It was a program I initially proposed to RTU last year, but none of the faculty then took it up. It was formally announced to the public during the last monthly meeting of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) with members of the UP-Astrosoc present.

The Philippine Light Map Project is designed to monitor the light pollution levels in the country. It aims to involve members of the astronomical and scientific community, as well as the local community, to provide scientific data by submitting images of the night sky which will then be subjected to photometric analysis. A map of the Philippines will then be generated with indications of light levels over areas that have been able to provide data.


  • To gather collective image data from members of the astronomical community all over the country and create a photometric light map to monitor the status and changes in the levels of light pollution in the Philippines.
  • To determine areas with dark skies for possible observation sites.
  • To determine value of wasted energy resource at night and determine the trend of growing/decreasing energy consumption.
  • To advocate dark-sky preservation and conservation of energy resources.

Various groups in different regions will be asked to be involved so that they may conduct and gather data from their own local regions. The project is designed to run continuously so that the changes may be monitored in the light levels and that the rate of wasted energy may be determined. The data can be presented to local government units (LGUs), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as the National Energy Commission (NEC). The data presented can be used to propose lighting ordinances to limit the amount of light pollution. The project can also be coordinated with various international efforts that support the preservation of the night sky such as: the International Conference in Defense of the Quality of Night Sky, International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), International Astronomical Union (IAU), and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee.

How to get involved?
1. You may submit your images of the night sky for photometric analysis at the facebook group page of the Philippine Light Map. Ideally, a standard star must be included in the image field (please do not over expose the star; you may search the web for a catalog of photometric standard stars). Try your best to achieve a point focus for stars (if you zoom in on an unfocused star it tends to create a donut like shape). Also, ideally we want a narrow field view of view so set your lenses at the highest magnification; or your telescope attachments at prime focus.

Please indicate the date & time, observation site, camera model, lens and telescope used, as well as the location of the field you will submit (perhaps in RA/DEC).

2. If you have no camera you may use the star counting method designed by the International Meteor Organization to give an estimate of the limiting magnitude of your sky.

3. Reach out to your photographer contacts across the country to help get images; or advocate the importance of preserving a dark night sky.

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