first regulation for optical astronomical observation issued
a glimpse of lenghu town in northwest china's qinghai province. (photo: xinhua)
by chen chunyou & zhang yun
in order to protect optical observation environment at night at the mount saishiteng astronomical observation base and its surrounding areas, an environmental protection regulation was released in haixi mongolian and tibetan autonomous prefecture this october, and will take effect from january 1, 2023.
this is china's first environmental protection regulation for optical astronomical observation.
high-quality optical astronomical observatories are scarce and precious national strategic resources, and should be as well cared for as protecting mountains, rivers and forests, said cai rangtai, party secretary and director of the standing committee of the haixi people's congress in qinghai province.
in terms of ecological environment, dark night is a part of the natural environment. its existence is a part of natural phenomena and laws. for billions of years, life on the earth lives in changing seasons brought about by the planet's rotation and revolution, and the alternation of day and night.
due to the development of human society, light pollution is increasingly serious. people in most cities across the world cannot see the galaxy with their naked eyes at night. light pollution creates man-made daylight at night, which has affected the normal life circle, and become a destroyer of ecology and environment.
the regulation divides haixi's lenghu astronomical observation environment area into dark night protection core area and dark night protection buffer area.
in the core area, it is prohibited to construct projects and carry out activities that can affect the astronomical observation environment. in the buffer area, the direction of all outdoor fixed night lighting facilities should be below the horizontal line, according to the regulation.
china has five "dark night and starry sky protection places," including ali and naqu in xizang, yeludang in jiangsu, taihanghonggu in shanxi, and geyuan in jiangxi. although lenghu is not included in this list, its dark sky protection has never been neglected.
currently, 27 optical telescopes are under construction in lenghu. it is expected to become the largest astronomical observation base in asia.