La Iniciativa UNESCO-IAU "Astronomía y Patrimonio Mundial": Logros, Asuntos y Prospectos

Friday, 04 December 2015 1 p.m. — 2 p.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
CLIVE RUGGLES (Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy, University of Leicester, UK - President, IAU Commission C.C4 (World Heritage and Astronomy))

Since 2008 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has worked with UNESCO and its advisory bodies to help recognize, promote and protect all types of astronomical heritage and to encourage nominations for World Heritage Sites relating to astronomy. I will review the main challenges and achievements so far, and suggest how the Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative is likely to develop in the future.

One of the most challenging issues for the IAU has been how to recognize and protect the value of the dark night sky at places connected with astronomy—whether ancient sites, indigenous cultural landscapes, or modern observatories.  The "Windows to the Universe" project, one of several potential nomination projects that the Initiative is promoting, concerns some of the world's most important working observatory sites located in some of the most exceptional places on the planet in terms of their atmospheric quality and stability as well as their pristine dark skies. During the 20th century, observations made at these observatories were pivotal in bringing about an extraordinary transformation in humankind’s knowledge and understanding of the cosmos. Observatory sites in northern Chile are among these "Windows to the Universe" and I will finish my mentioning how this project might progress in Chile.


Clive Ruggles is Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, UK and President of the IAU’s new Commission on World Heritage and Astronomy . He has worked in many parts of the world and published books, papers and articles on subjects ranging from prehistoric Europe and pre-Columbian America to indigenous astronomies in Africa and elsewhere. He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Peru and Polynesia. Since 2008 he has been working on behalf of the International Astronomical Union to advance their joint Thematic Initiative with UNESCO on Astronomy and World Heritage.

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