Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Brian Murphy


Light pollution has had a significant impact on ground-based telescope observations in recent years. As the night sky brightness continues to increase, astronomers are looking for new ways to combat this growing problem. According to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), “An important part of solving the problem of light pollution is to have a thorough understanding of its magnitude, and a great way to do that is to measure the brightness of the night sky” [1]. The night sky brightness of surrounding Butler University is measured using the Holcomb Observatory 0.95-meter Cassegrain telescope. Different types of filters were used at various hour angles and declination angles to see how exactly the night sky brightness is affecting astronomical observations. The filters being used are B, V, R, I, and Hα. It was hypothesized that the sky brightness levels surrounding Butler University will have a significant impact on the data obtained from the B, V, R, and Hα filters, while the I filter will not be as affected from the sky brightness when capturing images due to city lighting mostly being in the visible part of the spectrum. Based on the results of the observations, the hypothesis was correct. The I filter is least impacted by the sky brightness of Butler University and captures images almost as well as if it were observing a dark sky site. It is recommended to continue using the filters in infrared band passes for observations to combat light pollution in the sky around Butler University, and to potentially acquire an infrared optimized camera to keep the Holcomb Observatory productive for astronomical research.

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Physics Commons