China launches first Dark Sky Reserve in Tibet to limit light pollution

Jun 27, 2016 12:15 IST

Dark Sky ReserveChina in the fourth week of June 2016 launched its first dark sky reserve in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet.

The purpose of the dark sky reserve is to limit light pollution and preserve sites for making astronomical observations.

Key facts related to the reserve

The reserve covers an area of 2500 square kilometres.

It was jointly launched by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation and the regional government of Tibet.

About Ngari Prefecture

Ngari Prefecture is a prefecture of China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

Its capital is Gar County.

It includes part of the Aksai Chin area, a disputed region claimed by India but over which China exercises administrative control.

The town of Ngari lies 4500 metres above sea level in northwest Tibet.

It is best known for Mount Kailash, also called Sumeru, and Lake Manasarovar.

Ngari is considered to be among the best sites for astronomical observation on Earth.

What is a Dark Sky Reserve?

A Dark-Sky Reserve is an area that is kept free of artificial light pollution.

Its purpose is generally to promote astronomy.

In 1999, the first permanent reserve was established at Torrance Barrens in the Muskoka region of southern Ontario.

The Mont Mégantic Observatory in Quebec is the first site to be recognized as International Dark Sky Reserve.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has recognized Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah as the world's first International Dark Sky Park.

The lighting protocol for a dark sky reserve is based on the sensitivity of wildlife to Artificial Light At Night (ALAN).

The lighting protocol for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is based primarily on wildlife sensitivity.

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