Lght in nature

Physics, Second Cycle
1. in 2. year
Hours per week – 1. semester:
Content (Syllabus outline)

Passage of light through the atmosphere, transmissivity, scattering, refraction as a function of wavelength, atmospheric phenomena related to light.

Observation of light, brightness and spectral distribution of natural light sources, temporal variability of illumination by the Sun, the Moon and stars. Detectors of light (CCD, CMOS, light-meters, ...)

Physics of human vision, physical processes inside the eye, light detection, colour detection, data processing.

Light pollution, energy efficiency and possible consequences for global warming, glare and old population, security issues, relation to biodiversity.

Principles of outdoor lighting, achieving visibility and contrast using an environment friendly lighting, practical use of lighting design software.

Legal framework, Slovenian and European, lighting standards.


• D. K. Lynch, W. Livingston: Color and Light in Nature, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001,

• M. Minnaert, L. T. Seymour: Light and Colour in the Outdoors, Springer, 1999,

• Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night lighting, C. Rich in T. Longcore (ur.), Island Press, 2006,

• Svetloba in kulturna dediščina, J. Vodopivec (ur.), Arhiv Slovenije, 2006,

Objectives and competences


Understanding of natural phenomena related to light allows to find optimal and

environment friendly solutions in planning of space management activities.


The ability to plan outdoor lighting and understanding of consequences of individual decisions

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

Understanding of phenomena occuring during light passage through the atmosphere,

relations between scattering, contrast, glare, safety and natural environment. Familiarity with technological solutions which allow for good visibility, are energy efficient and environment friendly.


Design of outdoor lighting which optimizes its efficiency and is at the same time environment friendly.


Artificial lighting is needed during the night, but it must be properly designed, so that it minimizes possible damages to us and the envirnoment.

Transferable skills:

Knowledge of light propagation in the environment and related phenomena. Practical abilities to work with the night lighting design software.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, seminars


Written exam and/or seminars
oral exam
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references

prof. dr. T. Zwitter:
1. KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, et al. Pseudo-three-dimensional maps of the diffuse interstellar band at 862 nm. Science, ISSN 1095-9203, 15. avgust 2014, vol. 345, no. 6198, str. 791-795. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6198/791.full.pdf, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2014/08/13/345.6198.791.DC1/Kos.SM.pdf [COBISS-SI-ID 473217], [JCR, SNIP, Scopus do 1. 10. 2014: št. citatov (TC): 0, čistih citatov (CI): 0, normirano št. čistih citatov (NC): 0]
2. ZWITTER, Tomaž, RE FIORENTIN, Paola, MATIJEVIČ, Gal, VIDRIH, Simon, et al. The radial velocity experiment (RAVE): second data release. The Astronomical journal, ISSN 0004-6256, 2008, let. 136, št. 1, str. 421-451 [COBISS-SI-ID 309377]
3. ZWITTER, Tomaž. Zaščita kulturnih spomenikov pred svetlobnim onesnaženjem. V: VODOPIVEC, Jedert (ur.). Pol stoletja : [zbornik prispevkov ob 50. obletnici delovanja Centra za konserviranje in restavriranje Arhiva Republike Slovenije in Interdisciplinarnem posvetu Svetloba in kulturna dediščina in katalog ob razstavi], (Publikacije Arhiva Republike Slovenije, Zbornik in katalog, [Katalogi], zv. 28). Ljubljana: Arhiv Republike Slovenije, 2006, str. 98-103 [COBISS-SI-ID 801909]
4. MIKUŽ, Herman, ZWITTER, Tomaž. Širjenje umetne svetlobe v atmosferi in vpliv na svetlobno onesnaženje nočnega neba s primeri iz Slovenije = The propagation of artificial light in the atmosphere and its influence on light pollution of the night sky. Examples from Slovenia. V: ORGULAN, Andrej (ur.). Svetloba in okolje : zbornik = Light and environment : proceedings. Maribor: Slovensko društvo za razsvetljavo, 2005, str. 55-65 [COBISS-SI-ID 261505]
5. ZWITTER, Tomaž. Tehnični vidiki zunanjega osvetljevanja. V: BEVK, Samo (ur.), MIKUŽ, Herman (ur.), PEZELJ, Janez (ur.). Svetlobno onesnaženje : javna predstavitev mnenj. Ljubljana: Državni zbor, Odbor za infrastrukturo in okolje, 2001, str. 63-76 [COBISS-SI-ID 182657]