ann23036 — Announcement

Winners of Light Pollution Art Competition in Chile Announced

Student winners of art competition awarded prizes at special ceremony at Cerro Tololo

28 November 2023

Student winners of the 2023 The Dark Side of Light art competition featuring light pollution motifs have been awarded their prizes at a special ceremony at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The competition was organized by the Coquimbo Region’s Ministerial Secretariat for the Environment and sponsored by AURA and the Northern Chile Quality of the Sky Protection Office (OPCC, by its initials in Spanish).

The contest was open to all students from 5th to 8th grade at all educational establishments located in the Coquimbo Region. Its objective was to inform the students about light pollution and motivate them to take care of the night skies, especially those in the region which are particularly valuable for global astronomy.

The 1st place prize went to 12-year-old Marcela Narváez, from Patricio Lynch School in the city of Andacollo, for her piece entitled Difference Between Skies. Second place went to 13-year-old Maylín Boyd, from Manuel Espinosa López School in Ovalle. Her drawing was called A Starry Night. Third place went to 11-year-old Martín Hidalgo. He studies at the American School of La Serena and named his piece Light in the Shadow.

One of the prizes was to visit CTIO where the students had the opportunity to visit the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope to learn about the work being done there, and to admire the view from the dome.

The award ceremony at CTIO was attended by the winning students, their parents and teachers, as well as Coquimbo Region’s Ministerial Secretariat for the Environment, Leonardo Gros, and AURA’s Deputy Director in Chile, Hernán Bustos, in addition to representatives from the Environment Ministry in Santiago.

AURA’s Deputy Director in Chile, Hernán Bustos said, “At AURA we support and celebrate initiatives geared at making people aware of the crucial importance of protecting our skies and the environment. In particular, to enhance knowledge of the damaging effects of light pollution and the importance of taking care of our skies.”

The competition is part of AURA and NOIRLab’s dedication to societal issues, also known as Broader Impact. 

More information 

NSF’s NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the International Gemini Observatory (a facility of NSF, NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and KASI–Republic of Korea), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory (operated in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawai‘i, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.



Luz María Aguirre
Communications and Institutional Relations Manager

Josie Fenske
Jr. Public Information Officer

About the Announcement



Difference Between Skies
Difference Between Skies
A Starry Night
A Starry Night
Light in the Shadow
Light in the Shadow
Winners of The Dark Side of Light visit Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
Winners of The Dark Side of Light visit Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope