Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society – Online workshop

3rd Circular – 16 Sept 2020

We invite you to participate in the online Workshop on “Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society”, organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) with support from NSF’s NOIRLab, between 15:00 to 17:00 UTC on October 5-9, 2020. Most of the Workshop will also be recorded for later viewing and commenting by people outside the time zones. The online workshop will present initial findings from 5 working groups of the Scientific Organising Committee (SOC), for discussion. Within the two hour period on each workshop day, presentations will first be made by one of the Working Groups and open discussion will follow.

The Workshop, organised at the request of COPUOS, will be held online, while an in-person conference will follow in April 2021, after the report has been presented at the COPUOS Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee (COPUOS STSC) meeting in February 2021. Based on feedback received, the report will be reviewed and finalised after the April Conference, then presented to the June 2021 COPUOS Meeting.

The purpose and scope of the Workshop are to propose to COPUOS STSC a set of recommendations to protect the science of astronomy. If adopted by the UN, these recommendations will be acted upon either by local governments or agreed to at the international level. In preparing the online workshop “Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society”, the SOC and Working Groups considered sources of interference that can affect or endanger the visibility of the pristine night sky in all wavelength regimes, and the report identifies measures that will avoid or mitigate negative impacts. Care is being taken to propose recommendations that are both technically and economically feasible and do not affect the main purpose of the potential source of interference, e.g., safety-driven urban illumination, space-based network connectivity, and the like.

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