Maharashtra Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India's first Dark Sky Park. All you need to know | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  Maharashtra Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India's first Dark Sky Park. All you need to know
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Maharashtra Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India's first Dark Sky Park. All you need to know

The Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra has been designated as India's first Dark Sky Park and the fifth in Asia, protecting the night sky and preventing light pollution.

Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has earned the title of the first Dark Sky Park in IndiaPremium
Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has earned the title of the first Dark Sky Park in India

The Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has been marked as India's first Dark Sky Park and the fifth such park in Asia for protecting the night sky and preventing light pollution, making the facility ideal for astronomy enthusiasts.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) emphasises on the recognition of the intrinsic value of the night sky as a natural, cultural, and historical resource. 

The IUCN also highlights the need to preserve natural darkness for the sake of nature conservation, ecological integrity in protected areas, and the well-being of communities in healthy cities, said Prabhu Nath Shukla, deputy director of PTR Maharashtra.

The escalating global threat of light pollution poses a substantial risk to this invaluable resource, he stated in a release.

The Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group, led by the International Astronomical Union, has recommended the establishment of 'Dark Sky Oases' by national and local governments, Shukla said.

He said the Dark Sky Place certification focuses on lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach and education, and monitoring the night sky.

The reserve has inaugurated a night observatory with the district planning committee (DPC) fund, the official said, adding that the area near Bagholi has been earmarked for stargazing.

As part of the measures, more than 100 street and community lights in Wagholi, Sillari, Pipariya and Khapa villages of the Paoni UC Range buffer area have been replaced with lights facing the ground to mitigate light pollution, he said.

About Pench Tiger Reserve

Pench Tiger Reserve or Pench National Park is one of the premier tiger reserves of India and the first one to straddle across two states - Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 

The fictional works of Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, are set in the region. Kipling himself never visited the area, instead basing his descriptions on other locations in India.

What is a Dark Sky Park?

A dark-sky preserve is an area, usually surrounding a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution. The purpose of the dark-sky movement is generally to promote astronomy.

The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), a high-altitude astronomy station located in Hanle, and operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, is India's first dark-sky preserve. 

Situated in the Western Himalayas at an elevation of 4,500 meters (14,764 ft), the IAO is one of the world's highest located sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes.

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Published: 13 Jan 2024, 11:15 AM IST
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