Ladakh to soon have India’s first Dark Night Sky Reserve with 18 telescopes installed for stargazing


Ladakh is all set to have India’s first Dark Night Sky Reserve at Hanle village in Changthang region. In about eighteen locations in Hanley, powerful telescopes will be installed for stargazing.

Country’s prestigious Dark Nighty Sky Reserve in Changthang’s Hanley shall start soon.  Union Territory Ladakh administration has distributed eighteen telescopes to the trained youths of Hanley village.

At an elevation of 4,500 meters, Hanley is home for the second-highest optical telescope in the world, established in 2001 by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. On his maiden visit to Hanley, Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur was convinced with the unique potential lied for Astro tourism in the area.

Following a tripartite MoU between UT Administration, Leh Hill council and Indian Institute of Astrophysics in June this year, necessary approvals from Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Environment and Forests were issued for Dark sky sanctuary.

On the other hand, Leh Hill Council CEC Tashi Gyaltson and MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal have convinced the villagers about the economic development through Home stays and new avenues in tourism. LG Mr Mathur has kept establishment of Dark Sky Sanctuary on priority.

He already instructed the concerned authorities to get affiliation with International Dark Sky Association and Star Light Foundation for Hanley Dark Sky Sanctuary. Sanctuary opens up personalized experiences to Astro tourists, economic opportunities for youths through the Telescope operation and villagers from the home stays.

UT administration is also planning for mobile and static planetariums in the region. 24 youths from three hamlets of Hanley were provided with training by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics under the guidance of Engineering Chief Dorjey Angchuk.

Locations are identified for the installation of telescopes including one big telescope in Punguk village. Nyoma Councillor Ishey Spalzang thanked the Centre for sanctioning the Sanctury, UT and Hill council for speedy execution of works.

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