I'm an architecture student and my graduation project will consist of building a research center for outer space, my question is whether or not height would affect sky-glow or not ? Thanks in advance, any help is appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to astronomy SE! I made some small edits to make your question more concise. $\endgroup$
    – B--rian
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


Sky-glow is a generic term for the diffuse light not due to the sun, moon or stars (or aurorae, I suppose). Much of it is light pollution from the ground, some is the zodiacal light from dust in space, and the coolest part may arguably be the air-glow from chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere.

So, depending on height the different components would change strength. Urban light pollution apparently declines as $\propto d^{-2.5}$ ("Walker's law") due to spreading and absorption, so it would decline with altitude. The zodiacal light would get stronger with less absorption in the atmosphere. The air glow is altitude-dependent, and would presumably intensify at first, until one is above it (like the ISS) is.


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