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Thursday 26 September 2019


The "La nuit est belle" event was conceived by Eric Achkar, President of the Geneva Astronomical Society (SAG) and Pascal Moeschler, Curator at the Geneva Museum of Natural History (MHNG) and Director of the Bat Centre (Swiss Coordination Centre for the Study and Protection of Bats CCO/KOF) during the European Conference on Energy Transition, organised by the Grand Geneva in January 2018.

In collaboration with Aurore Candau of the Maison du Salève, these two scientists have been working constantly for several years to protect the night sky in the Geneva region: scientific conference to raise awareness on light pollution, organisation of events to extinguish city lighting, technical interventions with elected officials.

The first cross-border extinction of street lighting, on 26 September.

Turning off all public lighting throughout Greater Geneva overnight is the challenge that the Geneva Museum of Natural History, the Geneva Astronomical Society, the Maison du Salève and the Greater Geneva have launched to the 209 municipalities of the cross-border conurbation, to raise awareness of the harmful effects of light pollution and enable the million inhabitants to review planets, stars and the Milky Way. Baptized "It's a beautiful night! ", this unprecedented initiative already brings together 109 municipalities.

By modifying the day/night cycle, light pollution impacts the biological rhythms of fauna and flora, degrades natural habitats, causes risks to human health and generates unnecessary energy consumption. Caused largely by excessive artificial lighting, it is necessary to raise awareness of this phenomenon in order to change habits.

Faced with these problems, all the municipalities of the canton of Geneva, the vast majority of the French municipalities and about ten municipalities in Vaud, i.e. more than 109 municipalities on either side of the border, have so far joined the "La nuit est belle" project (others will certainly follow) and will not switch on their public lighting on the evening of 26 September. A first in a cross-border territory of more than a million inhabitants!

The night of September 26th offers ideal astronomical conditions for participants: new moon, milky path visible at sunset, observation of Saturn and Jupiter.

The evening will also be punctuated by local activities, the opportunity to enjoy the night in a different way, close to home: sky observation with local astronomy clubs, candlelit meals, night walks, etc.