Guided observations of the night sky in Triglav National Park, with experts for local and foreign visitors
Triglav National Park (TNP) is responsible for the sustainable development of national park area and for the preservation of the biodiversity in the park. The possibility to see the stars somehow looks “ordinary” to local inhabitants and they do not have a special relation towards the privilege of a dark sky. The guests/tourist are also not aware of the “night light attraction”. So, TNP and Ski resort Vogel decided to organise observations and nights of the night sky.
Observations and “nights” have become a regular thing and are organised from spring to autumn, at the ski resort Vogel with the support of experts brought in by TNP. Lectures prepared by the hosting professor are different every time, e.g. understanding the universe throughout history, development of the universe, space travel, life in space, etc. The practical part of starry sky observations is led by an amateur astronomer.
Visitors can enjoy the dark sky by traveling to the destination of observation with a ski lift. The number of interested visitors (domestic and foreign) is growing every year.
The aim is to raise awareness towards the preservation of the dark sky by explaining the benefits through storytelling, such as that we have come to realize that our Sun is also one of the many suns that are members of the Galaxy, and how light pollution affects the flora and fauna. Thus, we now appear less remarkable to ourselves, and for the first time we can rely on the method of science to understand the world.
The price for visitors varies between 10 and 20 EUR. It includes the lecture, telescope observation, refreshments and a return ticket for the ski lift.
The hosting astronomer and professor bring their own equipment.
Organizers do not bear any significant costs.
Evidence of success
Practice is good, since it represents the only practice of presentation of dark sky in the National park.
Each year the number of visitors is growing, for each event around 10 participants, which is for each new topic a very good result, and has been an ongoing event since 2013.
Possible lack of interest from possible users (guests, inhabitants).
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice is interesting since it started with small steps and it can be a nice “good start-up” for regions where dark sky is not a “topic”, yet. Additionally, although small in scale, it considerably influences the views and opinions of stakeholders regarding the influence of lighting in protected areas. Costs are not significant, if equipment is already available. There are already quite a few dark sky areas established and some pending to become certified, where such activities are easily implemented. And also within educational activities at thematic school days, or guided hiking tours, which can be joined with music, dinners, picnics, poetry, photography at night.
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