• 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.

Wildlife conservation

  • 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.


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