An optical to IR sky brightness model for the LSST

Peter Yoachim, Michael Coughlin, George Z. Angeli, Charles F. Claver, Andrew J. Connolly, Kem Cook, Scott Daniel, A. Ivezia, R. Lynne Jones, Catherine Petry, Michael Reuter, Christopher Stubbs, Bo Xin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


To optimize the observing strategy of a large survey such as the LSST, one needs an accurate model of the night sky emission spectrum across a range of atmospheric conditions and from the near-UV to the near-IR. We have used the ESO SkyCalc Sky Model Calculator1, 2 to construct a library of template spectra for the Chilean night sky. The ESO model includes emission from the upper and lower atmosphere, scattered starlight, scattered moonlight, and zodiacal light. We have then extended the ESO templates with an empirical fit to the twilight sky emission as measured by a Canon all-sky camera installed at the LSST site. With the ESO templates and our twilight model we can quickly interpolate to any arbitrary sky position and date and return the full sky spectrum or surface brightness magnitudes in the LSST filter system. Comparing our model to all-sky observations, we find typical residual RMS values of ±0.2-0.3 magnitudes per square arcsecond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationObservatory Operations
Subtitle of host publicationStrategies, Processes, and Systems VI
EditorsAlison B. Peck, Robert L. Seaman, Chris R. Benn
ISBN (Electronic)9781510601994
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventObservatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 27 2016Jul 1 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceObservatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 SPIE.


  • Astronomy Software
  • Python
  • Sky Emission


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