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A study with the collaboration of the UB states that Montsec, the Pyrenees and areas in Ponent stand out for their night sky quality

Map on the night sky quality in Catalonia.

Map on the night sky quality in Catalonia.

07/08/2017

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A new campaign of measurements for the night sky stated that the firmament in Montsec is still exceptional. In the outlines related to the Starlight certificate (Starlight Tourist Destination and Starlight Reserve) the obtained data in 2016 confirmed that the values are excellent in some areas and of a great quality in almost all non-urban areas. The measurement campaigns are framed within a project of evaluation of natural conditions of the night environment in the natural parks of Catalonia, aiming to detect which ones are kept in the best conditions and to launch protection projects. The study counted with the collaboration of the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics of the UB.

Regarding the Montsec, the interior urban areas do not have a notable influence on the sky and the main light pollution threats come from neighbouring cities such as Balaguer and Tremp, and mostly big cities such as Lleida and Barcelona, despite the distance. In addition, the quality of the sky in some places has improved compared to a decade ago, as a consequence of the substitution of mercury lamps for sodium vapour lamps, which show a lower light spread effect.

The measurement campaign, coordinated by technicians of the Directorate-General of Environmental Quality and Climate Change collaborating with the Montsec Astronomy Park and the Area Council of la Noguera, has been carried out during 2016, continuing the task from previous years. In this occasion, the measurements spread to bordering areas of the Starlight Destination to know about its state regarding the audit to be carried out in 2017.

Also, the quality of the night sky in the National Park of Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurice, which is generally good and reaches the excellence in certain spots. In fact, the obtained values are enough to get the maximum international quality certifications.

 

Measurements in other parks

During 2016, the measurements continued taking place in other natural parks, in collaboration with the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics of the University of Barcelona. Also, the parks of Ports and Cadí-Moixeró stand out for their high quality of the night sky, while Cap de Creus and Montgrí, Illes Medes and Baix Ter show a great variability. The darkness of their sky depends on the distance to the neighbouring cities of the studied areas.

All these data serve to update the Map on the quality of the night sky in Catalonia, which is available in the website of the Department of Territory and Sustainability together with the results of several campaigns of measurements carried out so far.

More information here

 

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