If you go out to the streets of your town, or even in many villages, and try to find a star in the sky, you will not see many more than a dozen. What happened to the thousands of stars visible to the naked eye? The answer is that the light pollution has not only taken away the possibility of enjoying one of the greatest spectacles of nature, the night sky, but it is also the expression of the waste and inefficiency in the use of our energy resources and of public and private lighting.
There are very few personal experiences as intriguing and motivating as that of looking at the indescribable beauty of Jupiter together with its four largest moons, perfectly distinguishing the rings of Saturn, or to be able to observe the remains of a dying star or the closest galaxy to the Milky Way.
The development of numerous events during the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 led to the emergence of astronomy related activities and exploitation of a natural resource as beautiful as the night sky. A new source of wealth based on the utilisation, not abuse, of our surrounding natural environment that might also hopefully encourage an awareness of the need for its improvement and conservation. Since then an ever increasing interest in the subject has given rise to a young and promising astro-tourism sector. This new way of appreciating the environment might improve the economy of rural areas and draw new clients to countryside hotels which are among the few places where one can find decent dark skies together with comfortable facilities.
Here children and adults can enjoy together the very interesting recreational activities of astronomical observation which will not only show the wonders of the starry night sky but teach how to recognize constellations, get to know the reasons why the sky looks different throughout the seasons, or how to use a planisphere to navigate the sky without the aid of any technological device.
Andalucía has lots of virtually light pollution free areas where you can get the most out of such a privileged natural environment.
Can you wait any longer?