New Zealand Starlight Conference Highlights Matters of Light Pollution
5 November 2019
Starlight Conference participants at the Tekapo Community Hall on 23 October 2019
Credit: Babak Tafreshi.
The New Zealand Starlight Conference took place at Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand on 20-23 October and brought together more than 100 experts on light pollution and the maintenance of dark skies from New Zealand and 14 other countries from around the world.
The 2019 New Zealand Starlight Conference participants gathered to discuss the interrelated themes of dark-sky protection, the effects of artificial light at night on star-gazing, astro-tourism, lighting technology, astro-photography, as well as the health and environmental impacts of blue light at night. The event featured keynotes talks, workshops, poster presentations, discussions, and a visit to the Mt John Observatory.
The primary theme of the conference was to develop New Zealand as the world’s first Dark Sky Nation. This was initiated by inviting representatives of over a dozen groups in Aotearoa who already hold dark sky accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association, or thoseo aspire to do so in the near future.
One of the IAU100 goals is to facilitate the preservation and protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage of dark and quiet skies. Astronomy represents a rich and significant aspect of cultural and natural heritage and the project will stress the importance of preserving it and passing it onto future generations.
The IAU100 Dark Skies for All global project aims to raise awareness of the preservation of quiet and dark skies by capitalising existing education programs on light pollution to reach out to students and by forming a new IAU Dark Skies Ambassadors Network for public engagement on light pollution protection actions.