A Common Heritage
The Right to Starlight

International Initiative in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky as Mankind’s Scientific, Cultural and Environmental Right
Galaxy M51 - William Hercshel ORM


April 20th - 2009

The World Night in Defence of the Starlight





The World Night in Defence of the Starlight, starting day of the International Dark Skies Week.
On April 20th, 2007 during the International Starlight Conference, convoked with the support of UNESCO, IAC, IAU, and several other national and international bodies and organizations, it was agreed to promote the World Night in defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars, as a cultural, scientific and environmental humankind heritage.
April 20th, 2009 acquires a special meaning within the UN International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009). For the first time the defence of the night sky quality and the right to observe the stars have their special date.
The World Night in Defence of the Starlight aims to be a date when every year we remind the need to maintain the window to the observation of the Universe open. A date when we can think over the need to preserve a unique heritage that we are hiding day by day.
April 20th will be the date where the Declaration in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight will be promoted at all levels, municipalities, governments organizations, NGOs, citizens associations and also individuals.

April 20th should be a moment of creativity to hold activities such as the following that are already being planned, and other ones that can be proposed:

  • Appeal the population to switch-off outdoor lights, at least that night, reminding that it is possible to recover the stars and, at the same time, save energy and fight against climate change.
  • Organize competitions of artistic expressions related with star observation: drawings, photographs, etc..
  • Open-door day in astronomical observatories.
  • Star observation night organized by astronomy amateurs. • Exhibitions and media campaigns.
  • Conferences and distribution of dissemination videos.
  • Presentation of books related to astronomy and night sky values.
  • Identify landscapes and adopt stars.
  • Recovering tails traditions, music related with the observation of firmament in every place.
  • and, in particular, organising acts where children will participate. The capacity to recover the right to observe stars is in their hands, it is the right of future generations.



This video has been devoloped by Sky Quality Protection Technical Office (OTPC) of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).

This video clip is also freely distributed in professional formats for their broadcasting through any mean.

For the broadcasting request please contact wih the OTPC (IAC) ->




IYA Dark Sky

IYA - Global Cornerstone Project
Dark Skies Awareness
The World Night and
the International Dark Sky Week

For this Cornerstone project the IAU will collaborate with the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), representatives of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the Starlight Initiative and other national and international partners in dark sky and environmental education on several related themes.
The World Night in Defence of the Starlight, starting day of the International Dark Skies Week (IDSW).

Dark Sky Week
  National Dark-Sky Week (NDSW)
from April 20 to April 26

National Dark-Sky Week (NDSW) is an event, usually occurring in April, during which people in the United States are encouraged to turn out their unnecessary outdoor lights in order to temporarily reduce light pollution.
NDSW and Starlight Initiative are cooperating in the launch of the World Night and the International Dark Sky Week (IDSW).
  16 - 28 March
GLOBE at Night 2009

Join the 2009 GLOBE at Night Campaign from 16 - 28 March. 2009 marks a monumental shift in human history when more than half the people on Earth are expected to be living in cities. Because of the ambient light of urban landscapes, many city dwellers have never seen a sky full of stars.
How many stars ...?
  How many stars ...?
Who cares about a starless sky?

A unique experiment! Its goal is the worldwide determination of the present night sky visibility conditions based on simple astronomical observations that can be done with the naked eye and within minutes. The success of the experiment depends on obtaining as many observations as possible from as many locations as possible: that means your contribution!.

Starlight Declaration pdf


Declaration in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight

One of the achievements of the Starlight Initiative was the “Declaration in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight”. During the Starlight Conference (2007) was agreed to designate and promote April 20th as the "World Night for the Right to Observe the Stars"..

Support - GOAT  

Campaign for Adoption of the Starlight Declaration.

The Starlight Initiative invites all organizations, both public and private, to adopt the principles of the Starlight Declaration, expressing their support and voluntary commitment to preserve the quality of the night sky and to promote the cultural, scientific and environmental to the observation of the firmament.

Cover Starlight Publication   Publication
Starlight: A Common Heritage

Proceedings of the International Conference in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars.
16 MB pdfim


Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign

The proposal to promote April 20th as "World Night for the Right to Observe the Stars" was approved during the Starlight Conference held in 2007 in La Palma. The Conference was jointly organized by the La Palma Biosphere Reserve, the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), the Canary Islands Government, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, IAU, the MaB programme and the UNESCO.

Starlight Conference

This proposal was presented at the Conference by the Government of the Canary Islands to commemorate the day when the Declaration would be approved. “The World Night” original idea was conceived by the Chairman of the Starlight Scientific Committee, Prof. Jafar Jafari.