Dorian Božičević and Diana Magdić with a rotating map of the sky in Lastovo, Source: The Croatian Astronomical Union

Croatia’s “Lastovo Island of Stars” project is being revived

Croatia’s “Lastovo Island of Stars” project is being revived

The island of Lastovo is implementing new policies with the hopes of receiving the status of an International Dark Sky Park or Sanctuary

The Croatian Astronomical Union is reviving the “Lastovo Island of Stars” project with the aim of helping Lastovo receive the status of an International Dark Sky Park or Sanctuary. By evaluating the night sky quality and organizing astronomical events, Lastovo hopes to receive this distinction.

International Dark Sky Places

In 2001, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) launched the International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program. This program was founded with the goal of promoting the preservation and protection of dark sites around the world. Furthermore, it encouraged communities to create and enforce responsible lighting policies.

As of February 2020, there are over 130 IDSPs.

The Croatian Astronomical Union reported that from 2008 to 2010, the International Conference on Dark Sky Parks was held at Lastovo. At the time, the island first began to work on the project and implement changes.

As part of its reforms, Lastovo began to reconstruct its public lighting. Subsequently, it became the first municipality in Croatia to have ecological lighting. It is also interesting to note that Lastovo achieved this prior to the adoption of regulations regarding light pollution.

In addition to these changes, the island held astronomy workshops and established an astronomical society. Unfortunately, however, the project stalled due to a lack of funding, among other reasons.

Reviving “Lastovo Island of Stars”

Now, ten years later, the Secretary-General of the Croatian Astronomical Union Dorian Božičević visited Lastovo again and revived the project. More specifically, he explored the island’s various locations suitable for astronomical observations and set up cameras to monitor meteors.

Then, it was agreed that Lostovo would measure the quality of the night sky and provide astronomy activities for both citizens and tourists. Last but not least, astronomy workshops for elementary school students were also organized.

Lastovo hopes to become Croatia’s fourth IDSP

Currently, two places in Croatia hold the distinction of an IDSP: Petrova Gora in Banovina and Vrani Kamen on Papuk. Jelsa on Hvar is expected to be the third place to earn this distinction and Lastovo hopes to become the fourth.

After a place becomes designated as an IDSP, the IDA demands regular status updates to ensure that communities remain committed to the preservation and protection of their sites. Receiving the distinction of an IDSP would increase tourism and promote economic growth in Lastovo.

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