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Dark sky reserve’ in Ladakh

  • Published
    5th Sep, 2022

A part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary at Hanle, Ladakh is all set to become India’s first Dark Sky Reserve.

  • A tripartite MoU has been signed between the Ladakh administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) to establish a first-of-its-kind in India ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ in Hanle, Ladakh.
  • A Dark Sky Reserve is a designation given to a place that has policies in place to ensure that a tract of land or region has minimal artificial light interference.
  • Several such reserves exist around the world but none so far in India.
  • The site will host activities to promote astronomy-tourism, giving a boost to local tourism and economy through science.
  • The Hanle Dark Sky Reserve (HDSR) will be an area spanning 22 km in radius centred on the Hanle observatory.

Why Hanle, Ladakh?

  • Being a cold desert region, Ladakh holds great potential for undertaking uninterrupted astronomical observations.
  • Dry weather and clear sky conditions prevail during most months of the year, making Hanle a naturally perfect setup for sky gazing and setting up astronomical observatories.
  • At a height of 4,500 metres, Hanle is already home to an optical, a gamma ray and an infrared telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory complex operated by the IIA.
  • These telescopes have been used to study stars, galaxies, exoplanets and the evolution of our Universe.

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