Chorzów, 22 October 2006
II Congress of Astronomical Organizations

Ministry of
Internal Affairs  
and Administration,
Ministry of Cultural and National Heritage,

Dear Sir/Madam,

The undersigned representatives of Polish astronomical societies,  non-governmental organizations of the Third Sector, state institutions, schools and university departments, students, professional astronomers, employees and owners of trade companies, publishing houses, theme circles and other legal and private entities, would like to make an appeal to the State Authorities of the Republic of Poland to consider a problem concerning the loss of a particularly important element of Polish national heritage: the dark sky in Poland.

In  2007 we celebrated the  465 anniversary of the first publication of Copernicus work  „De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” – an event that forver changed the view on the Universe surrounding us and contributed to Poland becaming famous worldwide. It would not be possible without a dark starry sky that our Great Polish Astronomer observed from national grounds.

Unfortunately, despite such a significant discovery and the role of Polish science in the history of astronomy, we are currently not protecting the enormous value and national heritage – the dark starry skies above. The  lack of  legal standards that would regulate the lighting policy (the amount of artificial light being emitted into atmosphere from our country) results in the fact that the sky we observe nowadays shows us a few times less stars than during the times Copernicus lived.

The European Union examples show us that there are rational methods of improving the situation, an axample of which is the Light Pollution Law established by the Chech Republic in 2002. Properly selected shapes of street lamps and demanding that shields are to be installed on other sources of artificial light will limit the amount of light being needlessly emitted into atmosphere, wasting energy resources. A simple legal solution would contribute not only to protecting Polish scientific heritage, but it would also generate tremendous savings for the national budget, at the same time improving the quality of light by changing it from general to directional.  

Poland, the homeland of Nicolaus Copernicus, is morally obliged to protect what it is being famous for all around the world. We, the undersigned, would like to give voice to the issue by making this appea, and by offering help we encourage social consultations in that matter.  

Participants of the
II Congress of Astronomical Organizations
Chorzów, 2006.

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