Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India’s first Dark Sky Park. All you need to know

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India’s inaugural Dark Sky Park, located in the Pench Tiger Reserve of Maharashtra, has been officially designated. This marks a significant achievement, making it the fifth in Asia. The primary goal is to safeguard the pristine night sky and combat light pollution in the region.

Pench Tiger Reserve’s Dark Sky Park Distinction

The Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra achieves the notable status of India’s first Dark Sky Park, ranking as the fifth in Asia.

IUCN’s Emphasis on Night Sky Preservation

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) highlights the significance of recognizing the intrinsic value of the night sky and its role as a natural, cultural, and historical asset.

Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India's first Dark Sky Park
Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India’s first Dark Sky Park

Prabhu Nath Shukla on Nature Conservation and Well-being

Prabhu Nath Shukla, deputy director of PTR Maharashtra, discusses the IUCN’s emphasis on preserving natural darkness for nature conservation, ecological integrity, and community well-being.

Global Threat of Light Pollution

Shukla addresses the escalating global threat of light pollution and its substantial risk to the invaluable resource of the night sky.

Dark Sky Place Certification and Recommendations

The Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group, led by the International Astronomical Union, recommends the creation of ‘Dark Sky Oases’ and outlines the Dark Sky Place certification criteria.

Night Observatory and Stargazing Initiatives

Details on the establishment of a night observatory with funds from the district planning committee (DPC) and the designation of the area near Bagholi for stargazing.

Mitigating Light Pollution in Paoni UC Range

Efforts to mitigate light pollution, including the replacement of over 100 street and community lights in Wagholi, Sillari, Pipariya, and Khapa villages of the Paoni UC Range buffer area.

About Pench Tiger Reserve

The Pench Tiger Reserve, also known as Pench National Park, stands as one of India’s top-tier tiger reserves and holds the distinction of being the first to span across two states – Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The renowned literary works of Rudyard Kipling, including The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, unfold in this very region. Interestingly, Kipling never personally visited the area; rather, he drew inspiration from other locations in India to craft his vivid descriptions.

What is a Dark Sky Park?

A dark-sky preserve is an area, typically surrounding a park or observatory, where the presence of artificial light pollution is restricted. The primary objective of the dark-sky movement is generally to foster and support astronomy.

India’s inaugural dark-sky preserve is the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), a high-altitude astronomy station situated in Hanle and operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. Nestled in the Western Himalayas at an impressive elevation of 4,500 meters (14,764 ft), the IAO stands as one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infrared, and gamma-ray telescopes.

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