Francisco Martín Simón, Director General of Tourism of the Junta de Extermadura, and Miquel Serra-Ricart , astronomer at the IAC. Credit: D. Padrón (sky-live.tv).
Light pollution is a “Phantom Thread” that affects the entire planet and prevents more than 80% of the world’s population from seeing the Milky Way. Yesterday, a series of talks were held at the Merida School of Hospitality Management for those interested in developing astronomical tourism and promoting activities related to the night sky.
The person in charge of opening this meeting was the General Director of Tourism of the Junta de Extermadura, Francisco Martín Simón, who pointed out the need to believe in the project of Astrotourism in the region in order to move forward with the projects that revolve around it. He also spoke about the origins of the Extremadura Buenas Noches (Exrtemadura Good Night) initiative and highlighted that, after five years, the region has positioned itself as an important astrotourism destination. However, he also proposed to redouble the efforts that have been made up to now, through the network of sky-viewing points, to strengthen its position. He explained that the way to achieve this is through a strategy in which, from the administration to small businesses add up. And he showed his support for the creation of a business network around astrotourism.
Those attending the workshops received an introduction to Astrophysics through the talk “Great Celestial Spectacles” by Dr. Miquel Serra-Ricart (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias). In it, the structure of the Solar System and the astronomical events that we see from Earth and that take place around our closest star were discussed. They also received some guidelines for the promotion of activities related to the dark sky in social media by the journalist of the EELabs project (Energy Efficiency Laboratories), Alejandra Rueda Moral.
The afternoon session began with a talk by Dr. Miquel Serra-Ricart on the importance of protecting the treasure of the starry sky, in which he spoke about the consequences of light pollution on natural ecosystems. In the afternoon, the astrophotographer and videomaker of sky-live.tv, Daniel Padrón, also gave an introduction to astrophotography, oriented towards the promotion of the starry skies, during which he offered numerous recommendations for taking night photographs.
The person in charge of closing the workshops was Carlos Rodríguez Jiménez, who spoke about the new features and upcoming actions of the Extremadura Good Night project, an initiative that offers technical advice to town councils, associations and companies that want to promote astronomical observation; and training and dissemination actions based on the strategy.