Montsec Astronomical Park - Center for Observation of the Universe has won the Starlight 2020 award in the category of Education and Dissemination of astronomy and the dark sky
Espot mountain resort has received an honorable mention for the night sky outreach activities that take place at the resort
Parc Astronòmic Montsec - Center for Observation of the Universe (PAM) and Espot mountain station have been awarded by the Starlight Foundation in this year's edition of the Starlight International Awards, a recognition given to organizations that monitor and they work for the defense and diffusion of starlight and astronomy. The two tourist facilities of FGC are the only ones in all of Catalonia that have been recognized thanks to their constant work in the dissemination of astronomy.
Specifically, Montsec Astronomical Park has won unanimously in the category of Education and Dissemination of astronomy and the dark sky. In fact, the Montsec mountain range has already been recognized on several occasions as a prodigious space with exceptional astronomical observation conditions, both for its meteorological conditions and for the low impact of light pollution. In this sense, it is considered the best place in Catalonia to the extent that it is protected by law. This recognition adds to the category of Platinum Dark Sky ambassadors of the International Astronomical Union that received the PAM in 2019. In addition, the Montsec mountain range was the second place in the world to receive the double certification of Reserve and Starlight Tourist Destination in 2013, a certification that has the endorsement of UNESCO.
The scientific director of the PAM, Salvador Jose Ribas, has declared that this award “is a very important new recognition that adds to the international trajectory of the PAM, that is present for years to the astronomical activities of world-wide scope and also in the Starlight section, since we became a reserve in 2013. It is an award for a long journey and continues to position us as a reference around the world ”.
As for the Espot mountain resort, this year Starlight Foundation has awarded it an honorable mention in relation to the night sky dissemination activities that take place around its facilities. Thanks to the spectacular sky of Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, you can enjoy one of the best protected mountain areas in Europe and the Pyrenees in terms of astronomy. In 2018, the National Park already obtained international recognition as a Tourist Destination and Starlight Reserve.
The Starlight Foundation is the managing body for Starlight certifications in the quality of the sky and equipment, as well as astrotourism activities, with the endorsement of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere program and the World Tourism Organization. Each year it organizes the Starlight International Awards with 4 categories: Lighting, Astrotourism Development, Astronomy Education and Dissemination and Specific Accommodation.
The Astronomical Park returns to activity on December 18
It is expected that PAM will return to activity resuming the visits, night and day, of public on the weekend next Friday, December 18, following the sections of escalation marked by the PROCICAT and the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya. The place resumes its activity with the application of all safety and prevention measures for the Covid-19. Visits with private clients will take place in December, from 18 to 23 and from 27 to 30, and in January, from 2 to 4 and from 7 to 10.
On the other hand, next Monday, December 21, there will be a special session for the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which will be seen extraordinarily together in the sky (the last time was 400 years ago). This activity will have an explanatory session on the planetarium and the observation will be done by projecting the phenomenon as a Covid measure to avoid contact with devices.
Regarding Espot mountain resort, which on Monday 14 December opened its facilities for the practice of white sports, this winter season 2020 - 2021 will continue offering the activity of Starlight Espot, where users can observe the exceptional sky with a catadioptric telescope in the hands of Obaga Activities, among other proposals.