Aoraki Mackenzie in the center of New Zealand’s South Island was one of the first “dark sky reserves”. Around the Mount John Observatory, a larger area of Saarland provides great observing conditions.
Since 2012, this region has received the Quality Seal of the International Dark Sky Organization. There are strict conditions attached to this award, such as how outdoor lighting should be handled.
New Zealand: traditionally against light pollution
In New Zealand you didn’t have to convince anyone. The bulbs there should be oriented towards the ground and well protected from above since the 1980s. Artificial light should illuminate the ground, not the sky.
This maintains good observing conditions for the observatory high above Lake Tekapo. In addition, Maori are traditionally associated with a very close relationship with the starry sky.
Night stars were used for navigation and they are implicated in many legends. Protecting the starry sky serves to preserve their culture.
Things are not that obligatory in this country. But even in Germany, there are already two reserves of dark skies: the stars twinkle as beautifully over the Rhone and West Haviland as they do over the South Island of New Zealand.
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