Design, heritage, culture, science and light pollution were some of the ideas discussed in the inaugural Noche Zero conference held from October 16 to 18 in San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis town in Chile’s vast Atacama Desert.
Aimed at preserving darkness in the night sky, the event united experts from a diverse range of academic fields – from astronomy to urban planning – with artists, photographers, filmmakers, businesspeople and policy makers from around the world.
After two days of discussions, workshops and film screenings, Noche Zero culminated with over 50 scientists, academics and businesspeople from Asia, Europe and all over the Americas signing the “Atacama Manifesto,” a document that seeks to create consensus on ways to protect the night sky from light pollution.
Drafted as a starting point for future discussions and to cement international connections made at the conference, the manifesto called for further regulations on light pollution and the responsible use of energy.
It also includes clauses advocating the adoption of similar methodologies in lighting design around the world and promotes collaborations between different academic fields, specifically in architecture, urban design, engineering and astronomy.
Signatories included scientists from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), university representatives from such countries as Japan, Sweden, Germany, Spain, England, and Chile, as well as local, regional and national government officials.
Paulina Villalobos, lighting specialist and director of Noche Zero emphasized that the international meeting was not only a vital initiative for the future of the world, but a boon for Chile’s status as an international hub of astronomy.
“This project had to happen. It [light pollution] is a global problem and we have to do everything we can to promote the quality of urban life, lighting design, security and beauty.”
“It [Noche Zero] is a powerful experience, in which the participation of international experts in diverse fields generates new understandings, a vanguard to improve the planet,” said Villalobos, “and all of this from Chile, to the world.”
For more information, head to the Noche Zero official website.