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Heritage of the Sky

The Heritage of the Sky is a project to raise public awareness of dark skies and the impact of light pollution by running campaigns, citizen science and education and outreach projects. Our mission is to promote and safeguard natural, cultural, and historical astronomy heritage sites, including education, outreach and development through international cooperation in an online portal. The sky, our common and universal heritage, forms an integral part of the total environment that is perceived by mankind. This heritage is significant for the recognition and safeguarding of cultural properties and of cultural or natural landscapes that transcribe the relationship between mankind and the sky.

''Over the Plateau of Iran' Photo Contest was a highlight program of the project in the framework of IAU100. The contest was open to anyone of any age, from natural, cultural, and historical astronomy heritage locations in Iran; to both professional and amateur photographers in the world. Participants took photos of astronomical and historical monuments or nightscape photography from dark sky national parks and also provided a detailed explanation - storytelling from a relevant site - alongside with each photo.

According to the contest theme of “natural, cultural, and historical heritage,” the submitted astrophotos were judged in four categories by ten international and experienced judges from who have been photographing nightscapes since years.


The contest public message is to preserve last remaining natural night environments and night skies in the world, supporting efforts by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and UNESCO–IAU Astronomy and World Heritage Thematic Initiative.

This night sky contest organized by Saros Science Popularization Team in partnership with Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism in Iran and SnappTrip and supported by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach.

This is one of the most prestigious night sky photography competitions in the Middle East. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd places were awarded cash prizes in each category. The best photos selected get a chance to participate in the exhibition in the award ceremony of the contest that was held for a week in Tehran, and also published in the well known printed and online media.


Night Sky and Historical Heritage

1st: Hadi Dehghanpour for the photo of "Imamzadeh Shuaib"

2nd: Omid Ghiasoddin for the photo of "Nay Band Village".

3rd: Reza Molakhah for the photo of "Persepolis".


Night Sky and Natural Heritage

1st: Morteza Salehi for the photo of "Ayoub Cave"

2nd: Amir Hassanzadeh for the photo of the "Persian Gulf”

2nd: Omid Ghiasoddin for the photo of "Dasht-e Lut"


Night Sky and Cultural Heritage

1st: Parisa Bajelan for the photo of "Saffron cultivation in South Khorasan"


Night Sky Photo Story

Highlighted Story: Parisa Bajelan for the photo of "Saffron cultivation in South Khorasan"


The closing ceremony of the Contest was held with an audience of about 220 participants in the form of an award ceremony to the winners at the National Museum of Iran, and talking about the next challenges for the project along with the IAU centennial celebration in Iran.

Find the winning and all submitted entries at the Heritage of the Sky project's Flickr page




Saros Science Popularization Team


Saeed Jafari

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