Three months from now, Ladakh will have India’s first-ever Night Sky Sanctuary
Three month from now, Ladakh will have a unique and first-of-its-kind Night Sky Sanctuary. The sanctuary will be developed by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt of India. The proposed Dark Sky Reserve will be located at Hanle in Ladakh as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary. It will boost Astro tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infra-red, and gamma-ray telescopes. The site will undertake activities to boosting local tourism and economy through interventions of Science and Technology.
Hanle is best suited for the project as it is located in Ladakh’s cold desert region, away from any form of human disturbance and clear sky conditions and dry weather conditions exist throughout the year.
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh said that a tripartite MoU was recently signed between the UT administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for launching the Dark Space Reserve.
The Minister said that all the stakeholders will jointly work towards the preservation of the night sky from unwanted light pollution and illumination, which is a serious threat to the scientific observations and natural sky conditions.
Further, considering Ladakh has a rich and wide variety of animals for leather research and industry, a branch of the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) may be set up here to promote bio-economy of animal skin-derived products. For this, a team of scientists from CLRI Chennai will soon visit Ladakh.
Notably, Charthang in Ladakh has over four lakh animals mainly pashmina goats, besides Sheep and Yak.