Important dates
  • Registration & Abstract Submission Opens: 15 Sept 2022
  • Early Bird registration deadline: 31 Dec 2022
  • Regular Registration deadline: 31 August 2023
  • Late/onsite Registration starts: 01 Sept 2023
  • Abstract Submission deadline: 15 May 2023
  • Abstract Acceptance notification: 20 June 2023
  • Grant Application: 15 Jan -15 May 2023
  • Grant Notification: 20 June 202

About the Symposium

Astronomy is an effective tool for sustainable development socially, culturally, economically, and environmentally and can benefit both our society and the planet. Astronomy is also used to preserve dark skies, indigenous groups, their culture and traditions, and our historical, anthropological, and ethnoarchaeological heritage. Besides its fundamental importance for observational astronomy and science development, dark sky and astronomical heritage play a key role in boosting Astro-tourism and contributing to social and sustainable economic development.

Dark sky and astronomical history are regarded as engines for long-term economic development, contributing to the tourism industry’s GDP as well as social and economic development. Popularization, education, investment, and protection of dark sky areas are thus essential for advancing socioeconomic progress. Despite the fact that dark skies are inspiring and valuable for astronomical observations and research, educational purposes, and astro-tourism, they are a resource that is underutilized and threatened by light pollution. A holistic approach is essential to overcome the constraints and have a positive impact on socioeconomic growth.

The IAU386 symposium is thus focus on presenting research findings and sharing experiences to enhance preservation and utilization of dark sky, to discuss mechanisms how to boost astro-tourism around the world and discussing strategies for utilizing and investing in untapped dark sky around the world. The symposium also consists of different side event activities beyond the scientific deliberations such as public lectures, capacity building and awareness creation training on ‘Dark sky and Astro-tourism’ for stakeholders in the industry, as well as for decision and policy makers. Astro-tourism attraction places such as astronomical observatory and nearby cultural heritage places around Addis are also included as visitations in the symposium program. Special arrangements will also be made for those interested participants of the symposium to visit Ethiopia’s tourist attractions places.

Objectives of the Symposium

The aim of organizing this symposium is

  • To enhance preservation and utilization of dark sky, cultural astronomy, and astronomical heritages to boost Astro-tourism across Africa and the globe;
  • To create scientific avenue so as to present scientific research outputs and ideas in mitigating the impact of Artificial Light At Night (ALAN) and discuss scientific ideas that pave ways for transdisciplinary innovations related to Dark Sky;
  • To drive international, continental and regional collaborations to preserve dark sky and capitalize the economical and developmental contribution to Astro-tourism;
  • To promote and create awareness of dark sky protection and Astro-tourism; and to propose a set of recommendations to be acted at local and international level that aims in protecting the dark sky and astronomical heritages.

   The symposium is expected to address the following points:

  • The scientific contribution and role of dark skies for the development of science and technology
  • The impact of Astro-tourism and its role for social and sustainable economic development and case studies discussion around the world.
  • The identification of potential Astro-tourism sites, dark sky reserves, and astronomical heritage and proposing potential dark sky sites to register in International Dark-Sky Place (IDSP).
  • The role of education and outreach in enhancing dark sky and Astro-tourism heritage for developing countries.
  • The utilization of dark sky, cultural astronomy, and astronomical heritages to boost Astro-tourism.
  • Awareness creation, popularization, and promotion of dark and quiet sky protection and Astro-tourism, the fascinating nature of astronomy, in delivering quality education.

Key topics

  • Dark Sky and its conversation,
  • Astro-tourism,
  • Dark skies, cultural astronomy, and astronomical heritage,
  • Dark skies for science and technological developments.
  • Policy and implementation framework of dark and quiet sky,
  • Education, outreach and development activities of dark skies and Astro-tourism

Keynote Speakers

Prof. John Hearnshaw, promotes dark skies for over 40 years and established the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012, which has become a strong center for Astro-tourism, in New Zealand. He awarded the Crawford-Hunter Lifetime Achievement award from the International Dark-Sky Association, IDA in 2020. He published the New Zealand Dark Sky Handbook and launched the Aotearoa Astro-tourism Academy in 2021. He served as IAU Division C president 2015-18 and IAU Vice-President 2018-21.

Prof. John Hearnshaw
University of Canterbury, New Zealand