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Niue is the World’s First Whole Country to Become an International Dark Sky Place

Niue is the World’s First Whole Country to Become an International Dark Sky Place
Representative Image: You can enjoy unfiltered night sky at Niue, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This tiny country in the Pacific is the best place to watch the night sky

Uttara Gangopadhyay
April 09 , 2020
06 Min Read

Niue, an island nation in the South Pacific, has earned the distinction of being the world’s first whole country to become an International Dark Sky Place.

According to a press release from the US-based International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), an organisation which is known for battling light pollution and promoting dark skies, the island nation of Niue “has received formal accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary and International Dark Sky Community, thus covering the whole country with Dark Sky protection and recognition and deeming it a ‘dark sky nation’.”

 

 
 
 
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Popped out to get the international space station @iss flying over @niueisland tonight. Niue is pushing to become the first country to be an official dark sky sanctuary. Unfortunately the near full moon was a bit too bright to showcase the core to it's full potential. . . . #nikonaustralia#mynikonlife #nikontop #nikonphotograhy #nikonphotographer #nikonphotographers #buccaneeradventuresniuedive #niue #niueisland #niuetourism #niuedive #niuelife#longexposure#astrophotography #nightshots #ig_nightscapes#nightsky

A post shared by Anthony Brown (@antbrown.photography) on Nov 9, 2019 at 2:28am PST

A culture of studying the sky and the stars have helped Niueans appreciate the importance of the dark sky. The recognition ‘will help protect Niue’s skies for the future generations’ the IDA release quoted Felicity Bollen, CEO of Niue Tourism, as saying. To ensure that the night sky over Niue remains unpolluted, the government had replaced the streetlights and private homes too adjusted their lighting systems, according to reports. The release also quoted a Niuean elder who believes the recognition will encourage residents to share and preserve the traditional knowledge.

 

 
 
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Niue is the world’s first country to become an official DARK SKY place!⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣We’ve received formal accreditation from the @idadarksky as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary and International Dark Sky Community, covering the whole country with Dark Sky protection and recognition and deeming it a ‘dark sky nation”.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣The stars and night sky have a huge significance to the Niuean way of life, from a cultural, environmental and health perspective. Niueans have a long history of star navigation and a life regulated by lunar cycles and star positions. The knowledge of the night skies, held by the elders in the community, has been passed down through the generations. Niuean elders now hope the passion to learn the cultural history of the stars is reignited in younger generations.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣#pacifictalk feature, with many thanks to @niueisland xx⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣#niue #nightskyphotography #nightskies #nightskiesarethebest #darksky #darkskysanctuary #astrophotography #universetoday #islandnights #islandlife #islandhome #islandliving #islandhopping #timeoutsociety #heavenonearth #momentslikethese #takemetotheisland #milkywayphotography #nowherelikeniue #natgeospace #nightphotos #pasifika #oceania #whatalife #simplelifehappylife #ig_coeania #beautifuldestinations #voielactée #milkywaychasers

A post shared by Pacific Talk (@pacifictalk) on Mar 9, 2020 at 2:12am PDT

The recognition is also expected to boost tourism in this island nation. Trained residents will guide visitors around the island to enjoy the night sky and the sight of the various stars, constellations and other astronomical phenomenon.

According to the IDA, preserving a dark sky is necessary for various reasons. Light pollution can cause harm to human health as well as the animal world. Too much light emission also results in energy wastage.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Placebo Cultural (@placebocultural) on Apr 4, 2020 at 3:23pm PDT

Niue Tourism collaborated with Richard and Gendie Somerville-Ryan (from New Zealand) to form a project research team for making the formal application. The couple had previously carried out a successful bid for Great Barrier Island (New Zealand) to become a Dark Sky Sanctuary. 


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