IAAS Proposes Five-Minute Blackout

IAAS Proposes Five-Minute Blackout IAAS Proposes Five-Minute Blackout

The Iranian Amateur Astronomy Society (IAAS) has proposed a five-minute power outage to encourage Iranians to celebrate the beauty of the night sky on one night of the International Dark Sky Week (April 13-19), said society director Masoud Atighi.

Coinciding with the end of the lunar month (Jamadi Sani), the week is being celebrated by many peoples and authorities across the world by turning off extra and outdoor lights to observe the beauties of the sky at night, ISNA quoted him as saying.

“In 1986, the mayor of Rome - the capital of Italy - applied the light turn-off in the city to help citizens observe a comet (Halley) appearance in the sky,” he added.

Although since long, many countries commemorate this global event, Iran has not implemented any blackouts yet, he said, noting: “IAAS has negotiated with the relevant authorities to apply at least a five-minute power outage during the least traffic hours of the night to make astronomical objects observable without optical instruments, and temporarily reduce light pollution and raise awareness about its effects on the night sky.”

Pointing to the adverse effects of light pollution on human health and the ecosystem, he said: “There is excessive, misdirected and obtrusive artificial light in the cities used to light up parks, streets and other places. The event can provide a good opportunity to encourage the use of better lighting systems that direct light downwards.”


The society also plans to implement “light optimization” in the future to help people enjoy the night-sky beauty.

Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow in the US as a national event, the International Dark Sky Week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month (GAM) - organized each April by “astronomers without borders” as the world’s largest global celebration of astronomy.

Founded in 2001, IAAS is the first independent official amateur astronomy society in Iran. Having no affiliations, it signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the Astronomical Society of Iran for collaborative activities.

Moreover, in collaboration with universities, educational and cultural centers, the municipality and other organizations, it holds educational, scientific and astronomical events and exhibitions (Petex and Eptex) to help increase knowledge of astronomy-lovers.