Abstract: Sky glow is caused by both natural phenomena and factors of anthropogenic origin, and of the latter ground-based light sources are the most important contributors for they emit the spatially linked spectral radiant intensity distribution of artificial light sources, which are further modulated by local atmospheric optics and perceived as the diffuse light of a night sky. In other words, sky glow is closely related to a city's shape and pattern of luminaire distribution, in practical effect an almost arbitrary deployment of random orientation of heterogeneous electrical light sources. Thus the luminance gradation function measured in a suburban zone or near the edges of a city is linked to the City Pattern or vice versa.
It is shown that clear sky luminance/radiance data recorded in an urban area can be used to retrieve the bulk luminous/radiant intensity distribution if some a-priori information on atmospheric aerosols is available. For instance, the single scattering albedo of aerosol particles is required under low turbidity conditions, as demonstrated on a targeted experiment in the city of FrÃ½dek-Mistek. One of the main advantages of the retrieval method presented in this paper is that the single scattering approximation is satisfactorily accurate in characterizing the light field near the ground because the dominant contribution to the sky glow has originated from beams propagated along short optical paths.