Sánchez de Miguel, A., Bará, S., Aubé, M., Cardiel, N., Tapia, C.E., Zamorano, J. & Gaston, K.J. 2019. Evaluating human photoreceptoral inputs from night-time lights using RGB imaging photometry. Journal of Imaging 5, 49.
Night-time lights interact with human physiology through diﬀerent pathways starting at the retinal layers of the eye; from the signals provided by the rods; the S-, L- and M-cones; and the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC). These individual photic channels combine in complex ways to modulate important physiological processes, among them the daily entrainment of the neural master oscillator that regulates circadian rhythms. Evaluating the relative excitation of each type of photoreceptor generally requires full knowledge of the spectral power distribution of the incoming light, information that is not easily available in many practical applications. One such instance is wide area sensing of public outdoor lighting; present-day radiometers onboard Earth-orbiting platforms with suﬃcient nighttime sensitivity are generally panchromatic and lack the required spectral discrimination capacity. In this paper, we show that RGB imagery acquired with oﬀ-the-shelf digital single-lens reﬂex cameras (DSLR) can be a useful tool to evaluate, with reasonable accuracy and high angular resolution, the photoreceptoral inputs associated with a wide range of lamp technologies. The method is based on linear regressions of these inputs against optimum combinations of the associated R, G, and B signals, built for a large set of artiﬁcial light sources by means of synthetic photometry. Given the widespread use of RGB imaging devices, this approach is expected to facilitate the monitoring of the physiological eﬀects of light pollution, from ground and space alike, using standard imaging technology.
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