Publications and Media

An accurate and realistic polarization model for night-sky brightness

M. Kocifaj, P. Markoš, F. Kundracik, J. C. Barentine, and S. Wallner
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 532, Issue 1,pp. L70–L74
Most measurements of the diffuse light of the night sky to date consider only the intensity of the light field, and current models can successfully reproduce these measurements. However, this approach is incomplete as it overlooks the polarization state of the light. Few measurements (and no successful models) of night-sky polarimetry appear in the literature. We present a new model of night-sky polarization that successfully reproduces observations in a heterogeneous environment and for a real distribution of finite-sized light sources over the intermediate region surrounding the observer. The model compares favourably with field measurements made in Slovakia in 2021 May. The results described herein help advance understanding of the angular distributions of artificial light at night from ground sources and the relative contributions of sources to the overall brightness of the night sky.