What is Dark Sky Reserve? UPSC Short Notes

Sansar LochanScience and TechLeave a Comment

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has announced to set up India’s first “Dark Sky Reserve” at “Hanle” in Ladakh in the next three months. It will be located at an altitude of 4,500 meters above sea level and will come within the Hanle Dark Sky Reserve (HDSR) Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.

dark_Sky

What is a dark sky reserve?

  1. A dark-sky reserve is usually an area around a park or observatory that prevents “artificial light pollution”.
  2. The “dark-sky movement” generally aims to promote astronomy and avoid obstruction during astronomical observations.
  3. The “International Dark Sky Association (IDSA)” a US-based non-profit organization designates the ‘places’ as Internationak Dark Sky Places, Parks, Sanctuaries and Reserves based on the prescribed criteria.
  4. These areas are selected by IDSA in five categories – International Dark Sky Park, Community, Reserve, Sanctuary and Urban Night Sky Area.
  5. The certification process is similar to that of awarding a World Heritage Site tag by UNESCO or recognizing an area as a Biosphere Reserve.
  6. Between 2001 and January 2022, 195 regions were recognized globally as International Dark Sky Places.

Hanle

  1. The ‘Hanle’ valley situated in Changdhang in Ladakh is an arid, cold desert located on top of the Saraswati mountain within the Nilamkhul desert with a sparse human population.
  2. “Hanle Buddhist Monastery” is located nearby.
  3. Cloudless skies and low atmospheric water vapor make it one of the world’s best destinations for optical, infrared, sub-millimeter and millimeter wavelengths.

Why was Ladakh chosen for this project?

Ladakh is a unique cold desert located in mountainous areas about 3,000 meters above the sea level. It is extremely cold here and the minimum temperature drops to minus 40 degree Celsius, making it uninhabitable.

Question for UPSC

Consider the following events:

  1. Light is affected by gravity.
  2. The universe is constantly expanding.
  3. Matter depresses (warps) the space around it.

Which of the above is/are the predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which is/are often discussed in the news media?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d)

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