Turkish astronomers urge move against light pollution

Turkish astronomers urge move against light pollution

Eray Görgülü – ANKARA
Turkish astronomers urge move against light pollution

An association of Turkish astronomers has again raised the issue of light pollution across the country, urging a new legislation to ban or limit lightings around observatories.

“Unless light pollution is prevented, we will become incapable of observing the dwarf stars and competing with other countries. Our observatories are under threat. We want the legislation to be introduced as soon as possible,” said Prof. Dr. İbrahim Küçük, the head of the Turkish Astronomical Society.

The works to deal with light pollution were initiated by a working group of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) in 1998, however, they were sidestepped since then, according to Küçük.

Once the 2005 draft bill passes into law in parliament, the construction of all lighting works on any buildings within a 50 kilometer radius will be subject to permission and supervision of the relevant observatory, he said.

Küçük urged the government to act quickly to protect the areas around the TÜBİTAK National Observatory (TUG) in the Mediterranean province of Antalya and the Eastern Anatolian Observatory (DAG) in Erzurum province against light pollution.

The TUG, situated at an altitude of 2,500 meters on top of the Mount Bakırlıtepe, opened in 1997.

The DAG, which is expected to come into operation next year, will be the second-largest space observation center in Europe and the first to run infrared observations in Turkey.