On 6 August 2017, Indonesia celebrated its annual National Space Day by advocating a “Dark Sky Night” from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jakarta time, during which residents were encouraged to turn off the lights.
This initiative by Indonesia’s space agency LAPAN was meant to be a symbolic gesture against light pollution, whilst allowing Indonesians to appreciate the beauty of the night sky. LAPAN’s “Dark Sky Night” was started last year, during which astronomy enthusiasts enjoyed views of the Milky Way’s Summer Triangle.
This year, enthusiasts enjoyed views of Jupiter and Saturn. To facilitate stargazing, LAPAN worked with the government of West Java to set up a mini planetarium in Bandung, the capital of the province. The temporary planetarium was located at the Gedung Sate building at the heart of Bandung, and gave the public a chance to use a telescope and participate in astronomy-related activities.
Said LAPAN Head Thomas Djamaluddin on his Facebook page, “The ‘Dark Sky Night’ is an initiative to educate the public on the importance of protecting the beauty of the night sky from light pollution.”
The National Space Day was celebrated in various cities across Indonesia, such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali and Medan. Shortly after the “Dark Sky Night”, Indonesia experienced last night’s partial lunar eclipse (8 August), which was visible in South and Southeast Asia, amongst other parts of the world.