Celestial phenomena like northern lights and the undisturbed view on the Milky Way may become more and more attractive for future tourism. This was the consents, yesterday at the Action day about Astro-Tourism at the ITB Berlin, the International Trade Fair for Tourism. Invited speakers included members of the European Collective Awareness Platform for Dark Skies STRAS4ALL, the IGB experts Dr. Sibylle Schroer and Dr. Franz Hölker.


Sibylle Schroer presented pictures, videos and information about celestial phenomena such as northern lights and the total solar eclipse. The material was created on expeditions with Miguel Serra-Ricart, astronomer at the Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, IAC), as part of the project STARS4ALL. Dr. Franz Hölker, head of the research platform “Loss of the Night”, moderated at the end of the day a panel discussion with the experts Harald Bardenhagen of the Star Park Eifel, Andreas Hänel from the International Dark Sky association, Tim Horn, director of the Zeiss Planetarium Berlin, and Sibylle Schroer. Participants agreed that protected dark areas, such as star parks or star reserves, are necessary to develop sustainable astro tourism. In Europe, however, there are only a few areas left where observation of night sky phenomena is possible at all, because artificial lighting at night is too intense and is increasingly extending into nocturnal landscapes (nightscapes) far beyond urban areas. It is therefore urgently needed to protect and preserve areas, which are still relatively unaffected by so-called light pollution such as the Westhavelland west of Berlin. The experts also worried about the global trend towards cold-white LEDs, which could lead to a rapid increase in the amount of light pollution. They therefore advocated increasing public awareness for the value of natural darkness for humans and nature and for the problem of light pollution and possible measures for its reduction. Furthermore they emphasized that the EU should be much more involved in identifying ways in which practical steps can be taken to reduce environmental concerns.


Author: Sibylle Schroer