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Dark Sky Reserve

Dark Sky Reserve - Ekam IAS
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Dark Sky Reserve

  • A Dark Sky Reserve is a designation given to a place that has policies in place to ensure that a tract of land or region has minimal artificial light interference.
  • Recently, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) has announced the setting up of India’s first Dark Sky Reserve in Hanle, Ladakh.

    In June, a three-way Memorandum of Understanding was signed among the Union Territory administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, for launching the Dark Space Reserve.

  • The International Dark Sky Association is a U.S.-based non-profit that designates places as International Dark Sky Places, Parks, Sanctuaries and Reserves, depending on the criteria they meet.
Why was Hanle chosen for Setting up the Dark Reserve?
  • Hanle, which is about 4,500 metres above sea level, hosts telescopes and is regarded as one of the world’s most optimal sites for astronomical observations.
  • Located atop Saraswati in the Nilamkhul Plain in the Hanle Valley of Changthang, it is a dry, cold desert with sparse human population and has the Hanle monastery as its nearest neighbour.
  • The cloudless skies and low atmospheric water vapour make it one of the best sites in the world for optical, infrared, sub-millimetre, and millimetre wavelengths.
Prominent telescopes located at the Hanle observatory :
  • The Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), High Energy Gamma Ray telescope (HAGAR), the Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE) and GROWTH-India.
UPSC Prelims Model Question
  1. Which of the following is/are ideal condition(s) for setting up a Dark Sky Reserve?
  2. Cloud less skies
  3. Low atmospheric water vapour
  4. Minimum artificial light interference

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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