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Aubé, M., Fortin, N., Turcotte, S., García, B., Mancilla, A., & Maya, J. (2014). Evaluation of the Sky Brightness at Two Argentinian Astronomical Sites. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, , 000.
Abstract: Light pollution is a growing concern at many levels, especially for the astronomical community. Indeed, not only does artificial lighting veil celestial objects, it disturbs the measurement of many atmospheric phenomena. The sky brightness is one of the most relevant parameters for astronomical site selection. Our goal is to evaluate the sky brightness of two Argentinian observation sites: LEO ++ and El Leoncito. Both sites were preselected to host the Cherenkov Telescope Array. This project consists of an arrangement of many telescopes that can measure high-energy gamma ray emissions via their Cherenkov radiation produced when entering the earthâ€™s atmosphere. In this paper, we describe the measurement methods used to determine whether those sites are valuable or not. We compared our results with the sky radiance of different renowned astronomical sites (Kitt Peak, Arizona, and Mont-Mégantic, Québec, Canada). Among our results, we found that LEO ++ is a good site, however the presence of a low layer of local aerosol can introduce uncertainties in the measurements. Consequently, El Leoncito would be a better option for such an installation. This latter site shows very low sky brightness levels, which are optimal for low light detection.