- At night, light from homes and streets reﬂects off Earth’s surface, leading to a constant ‘haze’ that makes celestial bodies hard to see.
- This is most noticeable in urban environments where even bright celestial bodies are barely visible to the naked eye.
Artificial Light management
- The Indian Institute of Astrophysics has a light management plan that covers procurement, distribution, and installation of equipment to reduce and control light pollution in Hanle.
- It’ll happen through the use of warm-coloured lights, lamp shades, and curtains.
- The procurement has already been completed and installation is underway in the public areas and residences of the village.
- Hanle and its surroundings are home to several elusive wild animals and birds, including Ladakh’s state animal, snow leopard, and its state bird, the black-necked crane.
- Many of these animals, including the snow leopard, Eurasian lynx and Pallas’s cat, are crepuscular in nature (active at dawn and dusk).
- Light pollution can disturb their biological clock and interfere with their behaviours related to migration, mating, foraging and sleep.
- Thus, darker environments will contribute to their conservation.
Factors making Hanle a good dark sky reserve
- Hanle has several natural advantages for observing celestial bodies.
- It lies in Ladakh, a cold desert with minimal atmospheric moisture, so light rays from celestial bodies bend less in its air.
- This makes capturing sharp images – through the naked eye, telescopes and cameras – easier.
- Equally important is the extremely low light pollution due to Hanle’s sparse population – there were just 1,879 residents at the time of the 2011 Census.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB