EUROPE COUNTS STARS
Images from the International Space Station are now sentinels of the sky.
European students light up the sky.
Is viewing stars a right? Can you “turn off” the starlight? Who guarantees us darkness?
Light pollution is already a global problem. It affects us directly. It threatens biodiversity, produces physiological alterations due to lack of rest, and makes astronomical observations impossible… The society in which we live has no choice but to turn off unnecessary lights and adapt the ones we need for normal development. The European project STARS4ALL, draws attention to the “blindness” in which we are sinking due to light pollution. Silently.
That the heavens we inherited from our ancestors continues shining depends, more than ever, on young people. STARS4ALL and the preceding project “Ruta de las estrellas” join efforts to promote scientific vocations and together, defend the universal right to natural nightscapes.
Now, European students have the opportunity to participate in astronomical experiences, supervised by astrophysicists and other researchers.
Only if we identify the problem correctly, will it be possible to solve. Nocturnal images taken from the International Space Station (ISS) are an invaluable source of information about artificial light on Earth. We’ve all enjoyed spectacular pictures with landforms, rough weather and cities from space… What began as a game to entertain during the long days in space , is becoming a huge database. In addition, the cameras on the ISS, hold the best clues to figure out the identity of the sky “killers”.
Participants will have to locate correctly nocturnal images of various cities taken from the station (Lost at Night project).
The contest winners will join the project STARS4ALL Route of the Stars. The innovative proposal “Route of the Stars 2016 – STARS4ALL” (RES2016) has the following objectives:
- To awaken the passion for knowledge and develop initiative and personal skills.
- To strengthen respect for the natural environment in fragile ecosystems on the planet, preserving and defending the natural darkness of nocturnal landscapes.
Anyone born in 1995/96 studying in the European Union in the 2015-16 school year may register and participate in the contest (see details). Winners will participate in various astronomical experiences.
The first one will happen at Teide Observatory (Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, Tenerife, Canary Islands) where they will learn about ongoing research projects thanks to professional astronomers. From the observatory, young researchers will understand the need for a clear sky, and free from light pollution, protected by law to be able to observe the Cosmos.
In the last week of August, the winning students will be part of the astronomical expedition Shelios 2016 whose main objective is to observe and broadcast live (trough sky-live.tv web portal) the aurora borealis phenomenon from the Arctic (Iceland and Greenland) .
Miquel Serra-Ricart, an astronomer at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and head of RES2016 project, says: “Since 2004 and the birth of the La ruta de las estrellas project, we have initiated, hand in hand with the sky, scientific careers in more than a hundred students in Spain. With STARS4ALL the project expands across Europe while introducing a new concept in the lessons students will learn: the right to starlight and the defense of light pollution free, dark skies”.
- Cities at Night project: http://www.citiesatnight.org/
- Ruta de las Estrellas project: http://www.rutaestrellas.com
- Contest rules and registration: http://www.rutaestrellas.com/ruta2016-STARS4ALL
- Project announcement https://youtu.be/Q0xKPzAr8MA
IAC contact: Miquel Serra-Ricart, Astronomer, firstname.lastname@example.org