India’s first Dark Sky Reserve to come up in Ladakh
Recently India’s first ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ will be set up in Ladakh.
The Department of Science and Technology has announced to set up India’s first Dark Sky Reserve at Hanle in Ladakh. The reserve will be part of the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.
It will be one of the highest places in the world for the installation of optical, infra-red and gamma-ray telescopes.
This will encourage astronomical tourism. In this way it will boost local tourism and economy through science.
A dark sky reserve is a place where, through policies, it is ensured that artificial light reaches the least amount in that plot or area.
The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) designates locations as International Dark Sky Places, Parks, Sanctuaries and Reserves based on different criteria. IDA is a United States-based non-profit organization.
- It is located in the cold desert region of Ladakh. Human activities are negligible here.
- Cloudless skies and low atmospheric water vapor make it one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observations.
- The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) is also located atop the Saraswati Parvat in the Nilamkhul plain in the Hanle Valley.
- IAO is the high altitude station of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.
The following are the other major telescopes in the IAO:
- Himalayan Chandra Telescope,
- High Energy Gamma Ray Telescope (HAGAR),
- Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE),
- GROWTH etc.
Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary
- It is situated on the Ladakhi Changthang Plateau. Here is located the highest lake on Earth, Tso Moriri
- It is said that the world’s highest village Korzok is also located here.
- The species found in this sanctuary are: Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Wild Yak, Bharal, Brown Bear etc.
Source- The Hindu