Inter-Commission B7-C4 WG Windows to the Universe: High-Mountain Observatories, and Other Astronomical Sites of the Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries


The WG is established to support the development and coordination of one or more nominations of modern astronomical observatory sites for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List (WHL). The goals of having these observatory sites recognized as World Heritage Sites are twofold:

(a) to enhance the recognition of these sites for their exceptional scientific and cultural value (in line with the goals of Commission C4), and (b) to enhance the protection of these places as sites of active astronomical research, particularly focusing on protection against mining, light pollution, and radio spectrum interference in line with the goals of Commission B7).

As a joint initiative, the WG will work with experts from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and its advisory bodies (ICOMOS and IUCN) to promote and guide the development of nomination portfolios. The WG will work in association with an International Working Group, which includes government officials from interested countries, to coordinate efforts toward one or more proposals that may include serial international nominations.


Working Group Members (9)


Inter-Division B-C Commission Protection of Existing and Potential Observatory Sites
Commission C4 World Heritage and Astronomy

Robert Christopher Smith

AURA Observatory in Chile
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
Casilla 603
Colina El Pino S/N
Casilla 603 La Serena

Phone: +56 51220 5200
Email 1: csmithctionoaoedu
Email 2: csmithaura-oaura-astronomyorg
Organization website:

NCA adherence: Chile

Last updated:
December 6, 2017

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