Astronomical observation, both with the naked eye and with binoculars or telescopes, has given rise to astrotourism in recent years. It is a concept of tourism based on contemplation and the study of the night sky.

In Spain there are towns that have strongly opted for this new and ecological tourism project. This is the case of Laguna de Cameros and Cervera del Río Alhama, in La Rioja; the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands; Granadilla de Abona, in Tenerife (Canary Islands), or Montsec, in Lleida (Catalonia), part of whose facilities we see in the following photo.

The clear sky has become scarce

But in the naked eye observation there are currently some obstacles that ancient observers did not have. Although we know the situation of many of the stars and planets in the sky, their observation is complicated by light pollution and air pollution.

Today it is necessary to travel several kilometers, sometimes many, to be able to find a sky with the necessary conditions of darkness and atmospheric transparency. At first glance, under appropriate conditions, around 6,000 stars can be perceived. Today, that deserves certification.

The Starligh concept

Starlight is an "International Initiative in Defense of the Values โ€‹โ€‹of the Night Sky as a Scientific, Cultural and Environmental Heritage of Humanity". It emerged after the "World Declaration in Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars", which took place on April 20, 2007 on the Canary Island of La Palma. This meeting included institutions such as UNESCO, the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) or the IAU (International Astronomical Union).

In line with this initiative, Starlight tourist destinations have emerged, "places that possess excellent qualities for the contemplation of the starry skies and the practice of tourist activities based on that resource."

The star parks or star parks, which are a "window open to the sky that voluntarily designates each community in order to enjoy the starry sky in all its possible dimensions", or Starlight reserves, which are "a space where a commitment to defend the quality of the night sky and access to starlight. "

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Mechatronics in astronomy