“Ruta de las Estrellas 2017” competition – STARS4ALL for young European students

Images of the last Solar Total Eclipse from Palu (Sulawesi, Indonesia). Credit: J.C. Casado - starryearth). 
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Light pollution is now a real problem. Some of its effects influence us directly such as the threat to biodiversity, physiological changes due to lack of rest, and problems in making astronomical observations. Present-day society has no alternative but to switch off unnecessary lighting and to adapt the required lighting in order to develop normally. For this purpose, the European project STARS4ALL  is aimed at drawing attention to the “blindness” which light pollution is producing, and to encourage young people to protect the sky we inherited from our ancestors. 

STARS4ALL and the veteran Ruta de las Estrellas project have joined efforts to foster scientific insights and together defend the Universal Right to the Dark Skies. Now, European students have the opportunity to participate in a competition where the winners will witness one of the most amazing astronomical events in the World: A Total Solar Eclipse. This experience will be supervised by scientific professionals such as astrophysicists and engineers.  


Only if we correctly identify the problem will it be possible to solve it. Nighttime images taken from the International Space Station (ISS) astronauts are a valuable source of light information. We have all enjoyed these images for their spectacular geographical features, atmospheric phenomena, cities from space ... What began as a game to entertain the long days in space, ended up creating a huge database of images. In addition, the cameras of the International Space Station hold the best clues to identify the "assassins" of the sky.

Participants in the competition will be able to choose one of two different paths:

  • Amateurs will be able to use the Night Knights application to classify night images from the ISS.
  • More skilled users will be able to use the Cazasteroides (Asteroids Hunters) application to detect asteroids from the dark skies of the Canary Islands.

The winners of each application will join us on an astronomical expedition to the United States along with students of the Ruta de las Estrellas project. The innovative proposal "Route of the Stars 2017 - STARS4ALL" (RES2017) has the following main objectives:

  1. Awaken the passion to know and develop personal and entrepreneurial skills.
  2. Strengthen respect for the natural environment in fragile ecosystems of the Planet, preserving and defending the natural darkness of night landscapes.

Anyone who is studying in the European Union during the 2016-17 academic year can register and participate in the competition (see details). In the last two weeks of August, the winning students will be part of the Shelios 2017 astronomical expedition whose main objective is to observe and relay live (via the web portal sky-live.tv) a Total Eclipse of the Sun from the American state of Idaho.

Miquel Serra-Ricart, an astronomer at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and responsible for the project RES2017, comments: "Since 2004 and with the Star Route project we have awakened, from the hand of the skies, scientific vocations in more than a hundred students. With STARS4ALL the project expands across Europe while introducing a new concept in the lessons students will learn: the right to the light of the stars and the defense of dark skies free of light pollution".

STARS4 ALL (stars4all.eu) is a project funded by the H2020 Programme of the European Union, under contract number 688135. There are 8 institutions collaborating in STAR4ALL (UPM, CEFRIEL, SOTON, ECN, ESCP Europe, IAC, IGB-Berlin and UCM) in 6 European countries. The objective of STAR4ALL is to stimulate the conscience of the population about the existence of light pollution in many of the places where we live, and about the importance of taking measures to reduce it. 

More information:

IAC contact:

  • Miquel Serra-Ricart, astronomer: mserra [at] iac.es (mserra[at]iac[dot]es), telephone: 0034 649848305

Press contacts other countries and languages: http://www.stars4all.eu/index.php/press-office/