India’s first-ever ‘Night Sky Sanctuary’ to be set up in Ladakh

The proposed Dark Sky Reserve will be situated in Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary near Hanle, Ladakh.

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According to an official announcement, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Central government has taken on the unique and pioneering initiative of creating India’s first-ever “Night Sky Sanctuary” in Ladakh, which would be finished within the next three months.

The proposed Dark Sky Reserve will be situated in Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary,  near Hanle, Ladakh.

The reserve will promote astronomical travel in India and offer telescopes one of the highest vantage points in the world.

The reserve will boost Astro tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infra-red, and gamma-ray telescopes.

According to a statement from the Science and Technology Ministry on Saturday, after meeting Ladakh Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh made the information public.

On Saturday, Mathur met with the Union Minister in Delhi.

In order to launch the Dark Space Reserve, a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed by the UT administration, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA).

According to him, the location will host events that will use science and technology to increase local tourism and the local economy.

Singh said “All the stakeholders will jointly work towards the preservation of the night sky from unwanted light pollution and illumination, which is a serious threat to scientific observations and natural sky conditions.”

“Hanle is best suited for the project as it is located in Ladakh’s cold desert region, away from any form of human disturbance and clear sky conditions and dry weather conditions exist throughout the year,” the minister added.