Dark and Quiet Skies
An IAU Global Outreach Project
The Dark and Quiet Skies project raises awareness about the need to preserve dark and quiet skies. Through the project, people can learn about the importance of dark skies for human culture, heritage, and health as well as the use of dark and quiet skies for astronomy research.
The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (IAU OAO) conducts this project in collaboration with the IAU Commission B7 and various partners.
Join us on 31 May 2022 at 14:00 UTC for the One Sky, One Home: A Seminar for the Protection of Dark and Quiet Skies. This online event will bring together astronomers, outreach professionals, artists, curators, and practitioners to share their connection to the dark sky, its importance to the world’s cultures and to our global ecosystem. We invite the broader astronomy community and all citizens of Earth to engage the problem head-on and discover solutions together. Register via Eventbrite.
||Connie has been a Scientist at NSF’s NOIRLab for 20 years, creating programs on dark skies education, astronomy and optics and sharing them via workshops, talks, and events all over the globe. She has been actively involved nationally and internationally with light pollution issues on the ground and more recently in space. As of this April, she has taken on the co-directorship of the new IAU Center on the protection of the dark and quiet sky from satellite constellation interference.
||Jessica Heim holds a Master's degree in Cultural Astronomy. Her dissertation research focused on community experiences with dark sky initiatives and 'dark sky friendly' LED streetlights. Jessica's research interests involve exploring human relationships with both sky and land, with a particular focus on dark skies, as well as ethics and policy issues associated with space exploration and development.
||Jaroslav Merc is the section leader for the Slovak Astronomical Society’s protection against light pollution. He has participated in many light pollution-related activities in Slovakia and coordinates the Slovakian participation in international projects, including Globe at Night and Earth Hour. For more than 10 years, he has been active in astronomical outreach activities.
||Sonal Asgotraa is the Program Leader of Astrostays (www.astrostays.com) - a unique community centric Astro-tourism initiative that leverages Astronomy for creating sustainable Socio- economic development opportunities for rural communities. An innovative form of experiential tourism, Astrostays bring economic benefits directly to remote regions that have access to clear night skies while creating unique and engaging experiences for travellers. Sonal was also a team member of the 2013 International Antarctic Expedition led by Polar Explorer, Sir Robert Swan, OBE.
The IAU OAO and the IAU National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) participate in various events to raise awareness of the importance of dark and quiet skies. Join an event hosted or supported by one of our 130+ NOCs, IAU Dark Skies Ambassadors or other organisers from the astronomy outreach community around the world. Hosting your own event? Register your event in the Astronomy Outreach Event Calendar. And don’t forget to follow the OAO’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates on upcoming events near you.
Celebrate the Dark Skies Contest
Imagine you've stumbled into an open clearing. It's well past sunset, and the Moon is new - what do you see when you look up at the sky? Are there city lights? Stars? Can you spot any planets? The Milky Way? What do these views mean to you?
Using any medium you'd like, create a piece of art that describes what dark skies mean to you and your community. Submit your artwork for a chance to win one of three BRESSER NANO AR-70/700 AZ Telescopes, courtesy of Sterren Schitteren Voor Iedereen (Stars Shine For Everyone - SSVI) and Bresser, and more: you will be invited to present your art during the One Sky, One Home: A Seminar for the Protection of Dark and Quiet Skies, on 31 May 2022.
To enter, submit this form; the competition will close on 24 May 2022 23:59 local time. Winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email. Please notice that you will need a Google account to upload your artwork. If you don’t have a Google account, please email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email should clearly state the Name, Email, Age, City, and Country of the contestant. You can read more about the contest's eligibility, terms and conditions in this document.
Social Media Campaign
Join us in an online campaign to advocate for dark and quiet skies. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtags #DarkSkies4All and #IDL2022 to share resources, activities and ways to take action.
Other programmes and resources endorsed or partners of IAU OAO
UNESCO International Day of Light
The IAU is a partner for the annual International Day of Light on 16 May. Organised by UNESCO, this day honours the role of light in our lives.
Learn more about the International Day of Light here.
International Dark Sky Week
The IAU OAO is an outreach partner with the International Dark Sky Week. The week is hosted by the International Dark-Sky Association to raise awareness about light pollution’s many negative effects.
Globe@Night Citizen Science Campaign
The IAU OAO proudly endorses the monthly Globe@Night citizen science campaign. This project gathers data from volunteer observers to track the impact of light pollution over time. Contributing occurs for a one week period each month and requires no more than your eyes and an internet connection.
Learn how you can participate here.
Start and end dates for each monthly observing period will be shared on the IAU OAO Facebook and Twitter.
Globe at Night - Sky Brightness Monitoring Network (GaN-MN)
Globe at Night - Sky Brightness Monitoring Network (GaN-MN) is a special project that extends the Globe at Night project through a global network of commercially-available sky-brightness meters for long-term monitoring of light pollution. The project is conducted in partnership with the University of Hong Kong.
Learn how to join here.
Dark Skies for All
Dark Skies for All aims to raise awareness of the preservation of quiet and dark skies. The project capitalises on student engagement and IAU Dark Skies Ambassadors network to further protection of the night sky against light pollution. The project is a legacy of the IAU centenary and is done in partnership with the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in India.
Learn more about Dark Skies for All here.
IAU Dark Skies Ambassadors
The IAU Dark Skies Ambassadors programme invites keen enthusiasts worldwide to be dark sky advocates. The ambassadors organise projects and events in their communities to locally promote dark skies. Joining the programme allows you to join a supportive environment of peers and provides international visibility of your efforts.
Learn more about the IAU Dark Skies Ambassadors here.
Dark Skies Rangers
The Dark Skies Rangers programme provides resources for primary and early secondary school kids to learn about light pollution and go out to measure light pollution in their own communities. Resources include lesson plans and worksheets for teachers set to US education standards.
Learn more about Dark Skies Rangers.