The starry night sky has always been an integral part of our natural heritage and a point of curiosity in the spirit of exploration. Humanity has gazed up at the stars since the dawn of civilization, contemplating the rhythms and cycles of the sun, moon, and a myriad of other celestial bodies. The tracking of these cycles developed into mathematics and unwavering journies to explore the essence of the cosmos. Once dependent on our view of the stars to carry out important cultural functions, mathematics, and calculations, 80 percent of the world’s population today now lives beneath light-polluted skies, all but erasing this cosmic connection.
In late December 2023, through the collaborative efforts of the Shanghai Astronomy Museum and Rémy Martin, supported by DarkSky International, IP SHANGHAI, and the International Astronomical Union’s Office for Astronomy Outreach, the “Guarding the Dark Night | Aiming at the Stars” Starry Sky Photography Exhibition opened at the Shanghai Astronomy Museum. The exhibition will continue to run until February 7th, 2024.
This exhibition unfolds across four captivating segments, each extending an invitation to visitors to immerse themselves in the extraordinary splendor of the night.
Starry Night Via Lens unveils 28 award-winning photographs from 15 countries, part of DarkSky’s Capture the Dark 2023 photography contest. Each evocative photo carries a profound power and illustrates the importance of nighttime environments.
Changing Lighting elucidates the significance of protecting the night and proposes viable lighting improvement measures. This section includes the Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting and cases provided by DarkSky Advocates like Kerem Asfuroglu.
Touching Starry Sky imparts a wealth of knowledge, sharing techniques to capture the stars with just a smartphone, allowing anyone to document the beauty of a starry sky effortlessly.
Lastly, Urban Starry Sky showcases exceptional work from the Looking for Urban Starry Sky Competition, which encapsulates the distinctive charm of Shanghai’s own starry sky.
The night sky, with its exquisite beauty and fragile nature, captured through the lens of photography, is at risk of being eclipsed by the burgeoning lights of urban development. The issue of excessive and intense urban lighting globally constitutes a complex matter involving urban ecology, social economics, and aesthetic values, yet it is manageable. Resolving this challenge necessitates a broader consensus and collaborative endeavors.
While preserving an expansive night sky in Shanghai’s rapidly evolving urban landscape poses challenges, the relentless exploration and commitment aptly reflect the awe and curiosity of this international mega-city towards nature and the cosmos. We are optimistic that someday soon, we will be able to see a star-filled sky again.
Our heartfelt appreciation extends to IP SHANGHAI for their “Guarding the Dark Night | Looking for Urban Starry Sky” initiative, enriching this international exhibition with locally curated works from Shanghai. We also extend our gratitude to DarkSky International and its volunteers dedicated to dark sky protection for actively reaching out and sharing outstanding cases of outdoor lighting improvements and designs from across the globe. Special acknowledgments are reserved for the International Astronomical Union’s Office for Astronomy Outreach for their invaluable support of the “Mobile Star Photography’ project.”
Edited based on articles by the Shanghai Astronomy Museum. Thanks to DarkSky Advocate Xingchen Liu for the translation.