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The first "Star Park" in Austria, Source: Attersee-Traunsee Nature Park Facebook

Austria creates its first “Star Park”

Austria creates its first “Star Park”

An area where the natural light will be protected from light pollution

The Attersee-Traunsee NaturPark, the largest natural park in Upper Austria, has opened the first “Star Park” in Austria. The "International Dark Sky Association", which is fighting against light pollution, has designated an area of ​​over one hundred square kilometres between the two lakes to be a "Dark Sky Park".

The “Star Park” light and landscape conservation area is dedicated to protecting nocturnal darkness and the natural night landscape from light pollution. The area was selected after a scientific analysis by the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Vienna.

In the course of the project, the criteria for public outdoor lighting in the region were also adjusted: for example, lamps are shielded to avoid stray light and, where possible, switched off or dimmed at night. In addition, light sources are converted to environmentally friendly warm white light colours.

At the time the application was submitted, almost 75 % of public lighting in the Attersee-Traunsee region already met these criteria, explained Stefan Wallner from the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Vienna.

Municipalities also have an important role

The municipalities have undertaken to convert all light sources accordingly over the next ten years, explained the manager of the Attersee-Traunsee Nature Park and coordinator of the project, Clemens Schnaitl. The conversion of lighting in the private sector must be achieved through sensitisation and motivational work, said Wallner.

The “Star Park” is also intended to promote tourism development in the region and specifically entice those interested in the stars. Events on the subject of the starry sky and night landscape are planned in the Park. According to Wallner, there are further efforts in Austria to set up “star parks”. He cited the Lungau biosphere reserve in Salzburg and the Sterngartl Gusental region in Upper Austria as examples.

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