Meet the men who protect La Palma’s dark skies

The newspaper Diario de Avisos has published an article today that I recommend strongly to read (if you speak Spanish) or hand over to your favorite translating machine. It’s about the work of two astronomers of the IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Technical Office, OTPC for short. By enforcing the Sky Law, they try to keep La Palma’s skies as dark as possible.

While this blog has been launched to name the cases where dark sky protection does not work as desired, it is just fair to mention that the OTPC has done a great job. Everyone who visits the island will notice that street lighting on La Palma is very different – and much better – than at most other places around the world. Satellite measurements seem to confirm that La Palma’s sky has remained much darker than that of the other Canaries, not to mention the continent – despite the fact that there is more lighting here than a couple of years ago.

What’s troubling imho is the fact that other than public lighting, private lightling very rarely meets the guidelines laid down by the Sky Law. There seems to be very little awareness by many homeowners or local businesses that the night sky has become an asset for La Palmas economy and identity. To raise his awareness – for example by handing out practical advice to homeowners and businesses on how to illuminate responsibly – will be a very important task for the future.

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