India’s First Dark Sky Reserve


    In News

    • Recently, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) has announced the setting up of India’s first Dark Sky Reserve in Hanle, Ladakh in the next three months.
      • It  will be located as part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.


    • It is about 4,500 metres above sea level and it hosts telescopes .
    • It is regarded as one of the world’s most optimal sites for astronomical observations. 
    • The Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), High Energy Gamma Ray telescope (HAGAR), the Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE) and GROWTH-India are prominent telescopes located at the Hanle observatory.

    About Dark Sky Reserve

    • It 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
    • 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. 
      • Several such reserves exist around the world but none so far in India.
    • Significance : The reserve will boost astro tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infrared, and gamma-ray telescopes.

    Do you Know ?

    • The Indian Astronomical Observatory, the high-altitude station of IIA, is situated to the north of Western Himalayas, at an altitude of 4,500 metres above mean sea level. 
    • Located atop Mt. 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.