Honors College Thesis


Light Pollution and the Limiting Visual Magnitude in Corvallis, Oregon Public Deposited

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  • This study sought to ascertain the degree to which the night sky of Corvallis is affected by light pollution by determining the limiting visual magnitude. Defined as the brightness of the dimmest star that can be seen with the averted naked eye, the limiting visual magnitude establishes a quantitative standard by which to judge the quality of the night sky. Using the star count method and predetermined star fields prescribed by the International Meteor Organization, observations were conducted at Kings Boulevard and Van Buren Street, the Valley Library Quad, and Riverfront Park from the months of November to April. For the purposes of comparison, observations were also conducted at Adair County Park, downtown Portland, and Warm Springs in Central Oregon. This study concluded that the skies of Corvallis are moderately affected by light pollution, with limiting magnitudes between +5.85 and +6.27 with an uncertainty of ±0.12 for the three Corvallis sites, as compared to +7.16 at Warm Springs and +5.04 in downtown Portland. Furthermore, examples of light pollution and its effect on the night sky were photographically documented at each site with a Canon Digital Rebel XT camera and an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
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