Dark Sky Alqueva Time Lapse – The First Starlight Tourism Destination in the World

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This time lapse sequence shows the beauty of the night sky as a world heritage of the human kind, making the perfect connection with Earth elements from the vantage point of Alqueva region, in Alentejo Portugal. A place that was created to preserve the darkness of the sky that only our ancestors had access few hundred years ago. The “Dark Sky® Alqueva” (darkskyalqueva.com) reserve, was created also thinking in the two thirds of the worlds population that never had the opportunity to observe with their naked eyes, the stunning views of our own Galaxy…the impressive presence of the Milky Way against a starry sky of about 4500 stars, suspended in each half of our celestial sphere!

Alqueva is the first site in the world to receive the “Starlight Tourism Destination” certification. This certification, awarded by the Starlight Foundation is supported by UNESCO, UNWTO and IAC. Starlight destinations are visitable places characterized by excellent quality for the contemplation of starry skies, and the practice of tourist activities based on this resource.

The region of the Great Lake Alqueva in Alentejo, Portugal is a wonderful place to see the stars, constellations and distant galaxies such as the Milky Way. The unique characteristics of the night sky with a very low rate of light pollution, in the municipalities of Alandroal, Reguengos, Monsaraz, Mourão, Barrancos, Portel and Moura ensure the ideal conditions for an excellent observation of the dark sky. In Alqueva the sky has good atmospheric conditions for stargazing most of the year. Such skies are disappearing in Europe, where most of the population has no longer the privilege to observe an unpolluted sky.

Its low level latitude (38degN), minimal light pollution and impressively clear skies provide the astronomy beginner and the expert with unparalleled opportunities to explore the magic and mystery of the night sky.

For the beginner the clarity of the night sky (average of 286 clear nights a year) makes it easier to recognize all the constellations, identify the stars and even spot some deep sky objects with the naked eye. Telescopes and binoculars are also available at key locations to enhance the visual experience and expert guides are on hand to provide information and advice.

For the more experienced observer and expert deep sky objects (galaxies, nebulas and star clusters) are visible down to 52 deg south declination. The low light pollution and clarity of the sky provides a unique opportunity to observe the dimmest deep sky objects and to see the moon and planets in sharp focus. Astrophotography too can be pursued successfully and dramatically here.

Credit: Time Lapse Images and Editing by @ Miguel Claro – The official astrophotographer of the great Dark Sky Alqueva reserve.  Music: Ultimate Chillstep #9 ‘Into The Wild’


Dark Sky Alqueva | darkskyalqueva.com | facebook.com/Alqueva | Vixen Europe – vixen-astronomie.de | LR Time Lapse – lrtimelapse.com

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