They announce the creation of an international center to preserve dark skies

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced this Thursday the creation of a body made up of experts from around the world that will be dedicated to the preservation of dark skies, in the face of problems generated by artificial light.

In a press conference, the IAU explained that the Center for the Protection of Dark Skies against Satellite Interference will be directed by the Italian Piero Benvenuti, former Secretary General of the IAU, and will have two locations: Tucson (Arizona, USA ) and Jodrell Bank (UK).

The organization will be coordinated by the US National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) and by the international radio astronomy observatory SKAO (Square Kilometre Array Observatory), established in South Africa and Australia.

“The new center is an important step to ensure that technological advances do not prevent us from studying and enjoying the sky."expressed the president of the IAU, Debra Elmegreen, at the press conference.

This center, which was planned by the IAU in 2021, will coordinate the efforts of the global astronomical community to prevent interference from satellite constellations in dark skies.

The darkness of the night sky is an increasingly scarce resource in the world, and one that is essential for astronomy, due to artificial light coming from urban development and from private companies’ mini-satellites.

According to the UN, in terms of illuminated areas, artificial light has grown by 2% per year in the last decade, practically twice as fast as the world population has grown.

This has an effect on the night sky, as it increases the celestial brightness, which is produced when artificial light particles are scattered in the atmosphere and fall back to Earth by the effect of molecules, aerosols or clouds.

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The excess of artificial light also has numerous effects on health and the environment, to the point that there are studies that link it to an increased probability of suffering from breast or prostate cancer.

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