Christopher Kyba

Christopher Kyba

Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

Office address: Telegrafenberg 14473 Potsdam Germany
Telephone: +49 (0)331-288 28973

photos and videos

map of Berlin



About me

I am a postdoc working for the German Research Center for Geoscience (GFZ), and a guest researcher at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.
I study the ecological impact of artificial light at night, with a focus on quantifying the skyglow produced by cities, and how it is changing. The only way to track skyglow changes worldwide is via citizen science, and you can take part in my research by submitting measurements with our Loss of the Night app on an Andoroid or iOS device.

The consistent thread running through my research career has been imaging using extremely low levels of visible light. Previous to my current position, I worked in particle physics as an undergraduate and PhD student at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, and as a postdoc in radiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

You can follow me on twitter:

About light pollution

The study of light pollution crossed a threshold around the turn of the millenium. While previously light pollution research had focussed mainly on the visual blocking of the stars, advances in chronobiology revealed the impact of even low levels of light at night on many organisms. Since then, the intensity of research into the ecological and health impacts of light pollution has greatly increased. To encourage further interdisciplinary study, I am maintaining a list of scientific light pollution research papers and conferences. If you are interested in learning about light pollution generally you can start at the International Dark Sky Association's website and then explore further here.

One paradox of my current research is that regardless of how much we learn about the negative consequences of light pollution, many of us still cannot help but appreciate the beauty of some of the sources of light themselves. I have taken thousands of aerial photographs of Berlin at night, and have collected some of the best in this gallery of light pollution photographs. Shown below is Berlin's striking Hauptbahnhof (main train station).

Short CV

2013 - Present Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (Postdoc)
  Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
2009 - 2013 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (Postdoc)
  Freie Universität Berlin
2008 - 2009 Family relocation to Germany
  Paternity leave
  Intensive German language classes
2006 - 2008 Postdoctoral Fellow
  Department of Radiology
  University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
2000 - 2006 PhD in Experimental Particle Physics
  University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
1996 - 2000 BSc (honors) in Physics
  University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Selected Publications

[Complete list available at Google Scholar]

CCM Kyba, S Garz, H Kuechly, A Sanchez de Miguel, J Zamorano, J Fischer, F Hölker "High-Resolution Imagery of Earth at Night: New Sources, Opportunities and Challenges," Remote Sensing (2015).

CCM Kyba et al. "Worldwide variations in artificial skyglow," Scientific Reports 5: 8409 (2015).

CCM Kyba, A Hänel, F Hölker "Redefining efficiency for outdoor lighting," Energy & Environmental Science, 7: 1806-1809 (2014)author's copy, further distribution is prohibited

CCM Kyba, JM Wagner, HU Kuechly, CE Walker, CD Elvidge, F Falchi, T Ruhtz, J Fischer, F Hölker Citizen Science Provides Valuable Data for Monitoring Global Night Sky Luminance. Scientific Reports 3: 1835 (2013)

HU Kuechly, CCM Kyba, T Ruhtz, C Lindemann, C Wolter, J Fischer, F Hölker "Aerial survey and spatial analysis of sources of light pollution in Berlin, Germany." Remote Sensing of Environment, 126:39-50 (2012). download unproofed preprint

CCM Kyba, T Ruhtz, J Fischer, F Hölker, "Red is the New Black: How the Color of Urban Skyglow Varies with Cloud Cover," Mon Not R Astron Soc, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21559.x, 425: 701-708 (2012). The definitive version is available at

CCM Kyba, T Ruhtz, J Fischer, F Hölker, "Lunar Skylight Polarization Signal Polluted by Urban Lighting," J Geophys Res 116 (doi:10.1029/2011JD016698) (2011)

CCM Kyba, T Ruhtz, J Fischer, F Hölker, "Cloud Coverage Acts as an Amplifier for Ecological Light Pollution in Urban Ecosystems," PLoS ONE
6(3):e17307.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017307 (2011)

ME Daube-Witherspoon, S Surti, A Perkins, CCM Kyba, R Wiener, ME Werner, R Kulp and JS Karp, "The Imaging Performance of a LaBr3-based PET Scanner," Phys. Med. Biol. 55 45-64 (2010)

B Aharmim et al. [SNO Collaboration], "Measurement of the Cosmic Ray and Neutrino-Induced Muon Flux at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory," Phys. Rev. D, 80.1 (2009)

QR Ahmad et al. [SNO Collaboration], "Direct evidence for neutrino flavor transformation from neutral-current interactions in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory," Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 011301 (2002)

Other Links

I write a blog that discusses the Loss of the Night app and light pollution generally. Here is a list of my past and present colleagues, and a list of random websites that I find particularly interesting or useful.

Skyglow Berlin

Skyglow Berlin -- Das Schwarmfinanzierte Bürgerwissenschafts-Projekt.

English information about the Skyglow Berlin crowdfinanced citizen science project.