by Hatim Madani


Every year, during the Global Astronomy Month, we organise our national contest in the framework of Aldebaran project (project for creation of astronomy school clubs with the National commission of UNESCO in Morocco).

The Global Astronomy month is our project’s anniversary. The project was launched during GAM 2011 and every year we celebrate it in conjunction with the GAM activities under the motto One people, One Sky.

This year, the theme for the competition is light pollution and good lighting. We are participating in the Adopt a Street program of Globe at Night program headed by Connie Walker.


Globe at Night is an important international project that aims to measure light pollution around the world; Adopt-a-Street program is an initiative which invites every citizen to be involved in the project by adopting one or several major streets of his town and making measurements (each mile) during the campaigns of Globe at Night program.


The competition will start on 1th April 2013 and will close on 31 May 2013.

Our main clubs and their affiliated clubs in six cities will participate in the Globe at Night campaigns by measuring light pollution in the main streets and auditing the fixtures in the streets. The best clubs and pupils of each city will win a price.

Light pollution remains one of the main causes of a certain general public’s lack of interest in astronomy. A large proportion of the public and specially kids miss the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the stars in their cities and therefore it is difficult to get them interested in amateur astronomy.

Good lighting can save energy and money, help to protect the environment and preserve our right to see the stars.

The fight against light pollution will be a long way but fortunately there are several good initiatives undertaken around the world. Laws against light pollution have been adopted over the years in several countries.

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The International Dark Sky Association and the Starlight foundation are establishing certification processes for dark sky reserves in the world and are promoting Astro-Tourism. The idea of creating a network of urban star parks (One Star at a Time Program) is really great and could give an opportunity to see the stars in the cities.

In Morocco, we have large non polluted desert and rural regions where the sky is wonderful, but our cities suffer much from light pollution. The country is currently involved in a large national strategy to promote renewable energies (solar energy and wind power). In 2010 the National Charter for the Environment and Sustainable Development was adopted, which will impose a limitation of the greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy efficiency. A law against light pollution could be adopted in the framework of this large environmental national initiative.

In Ifrane, city located in a National Park, the Al Akhawayn University’s astronomy club presented to the urban municipality a charter for protection of the night sky, the first initiative of its kind in our country.

Azrou city, which host one of our main clubs, is also situated near the National Park of Ifrane. The pupils were aware of their responsibility to protect this natural resource against light pollution. The club managed to invite the public lighting specialist of the city who participated in the training and explained the features of the lamps and fixtures used in the city.

Ait Melloul, another city participating in the challenge is also close to another National Park, Souss Massa National Park, and the pupils were very interested in the competition.

Last month, we organised several training sessions in the benefit of the teachers and the pupils, who will participate to the competition. The teachers and their pupils were excited to participate in GAM 2013 and in this activity which they considered primarily as a citizen action against energy waste and for the protection of the environment.


We want to involve public organizations in our contest with the aim to increase the awareness about the light pollution in the country and we hope that soon a law for protecting the night sky will be adopted in Morocco.

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Hatim Madani

Hatim Madani is the AWB National Coordinator for Morocco. He is also the coordinator of Aldebaran Project and of UNAWE Morocco program.

Hatim is a graduate of a Master Degree in International Business and is currently working in the private sector.

He is interested in astronomy since he was a kid. He have been involved in the astronomy field trough amateur astronomers clubs. During IYA 2009, he worked in partnership with the National Commission of UNESCO to launch Aldebaran project (project for creation of schools astronomy clubs in the country).


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