Category Archives: Compositions

Capraia Night Sky 2018, reloaded – end of week 1

Here is a recapitulation of this week’s articles:

Oct. 15 – Giacomelli – Introduction
Oct. 16 – Gini et al. urban ecology 
Oct. 17 – Depellegrin et al. coastal areas 
Oct. 18 – Ortolani et al. spectroscopic analysis 
Oct. 19 – Welch Dark sky places 

The next article will be available on Oct. 22.

For more information on these topics you may also see the Outreach on lighting and darkness page.

CPNS2018 4/28: Dark Sky Places of the World

[This article is part of the “Capraia Night Sky Symposium, reloaded” series – check this introduction to learn more]

D. Welch
Chair, Dark Skies Advisory Group
World Commission on Protected Areas, IUCN

From 1993 to March 2018, 149 dark sky parks and communities in 23 countries have been  recognized by various organisations,  notably the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and the Starlight Initiative.
Because light pollution impacts species and their interactions, many natural area organizations implement lighting systems friendly to night sky viewing and night ecology. Parks Canada and the RASC developed guidelines for outdoor lighting in parks, now
recommended by IDA. These guidelines apply in the 27 Canadian dark sky preserves. The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the US National Park Service has guided 22 of its sites to be among USA’s 65 dark sky places, mostly recognized by the IDA.
The Starlight Initiative certifies 16 Starlight Reserves mostly in Spain. Several other places are certified by sub-national levels of government or by astronomy research groups. As well as parks and communities, the IDA certifies “Developments of Distinction” and,
likewise, the Starlight Initiative “Starlight Tourism Destinations.”

Because these programmes use many different naming systems, the IUCN Dark Skies Advisory Group developed a 6 class system, some with sub-classes, to enable world-wide comparisons.

1, Dark Sky Astronomy Site, 14 places around the world.
2, Dark Sky Park, 86 places.
3, Dark Sky Heritage Site, 3 places.
4, Dark Sky Outreach Site 9 places.
5, Dark Sky Reserve, 13 places.
6, Dark Sky Community, 24 places.

Several challenges remain.

1)Light pollution reduction is often overshadowed by other threats to nature, such as climate change.
2) Much work remains to be done to reduce light pollution in urban areas, where protected areas can play a role through outreach, visitor engagement and demonstrating best practices.
3) There still needs to be recognition that protected areas, by default, should be dark sky places.

KEYWORDS: protected areas, nature conservation, parks, communities, best
practices, outreach.

Capraia Island, Italy, Sep. 2018 (photo by Zoltan Kollath)

CPNS2018-3/28: A Spectroscopic Analysis of Light Pollution at the Asiago Observatory

[This article is part of the “Capraia Night Sky Symposium, reloaded” series – check this introduction to learn more]

S. Ortolani1,2, A. Bertolo3, S. Cavazzani4,5, P. Ochner6,7

1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy

2INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy

3Regional Agency for Environmental Protection and Prevention, Veneto, Department of Padova,Via Ospedale Civile 24, 35121 Padova, Italy

4Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 2,

35122 Padova, Italy

5INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy

6Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy

7INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy


We present the spectra evolution of the sky at Asiago Astronomical Observatory form an unprecedent archive collected in the last half century. They will be compared with typical city lamp spectra. The artificial light pollution spectral evolution during the night is also investigated and its impact on astronomical observations is briefly discussed.

Keywords: light pollution, site testing, night sky spectra, aurora lines, sodium lines

The Asiago astronomical observatory (source: Wikipedia)

CPNS2018-2/28: Incorporating Light Pollution into Cumulative Effects Assessment in Coastal Areas of the Italian Adriatic Sea

[This article is part of the “Capraia Night Sky Symposium, reloaded” series – check this introduction to learn more]

D. Depellegrin (1) , M. Drius (1) , S. Menegon (1),
G. Farella (1) , L. Zaggia (1) , F. Falchi (2) , A. Pugnetti (1) ,
L. Bongiorni (1)

(1) Institute of Marine Sciences, National Research Council
(ISMAR-CNR), Arsenale – Tesa 104, Castello 2737/F,
30122, Venice, Italy
(2) ISTIL – Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute,
Via Roma, 13, 36016, Thiene, Italy

Artificial light at night (ALAN) from coastal urban areas represents
a direct threat to marine organisms as it can affect their natural
behaviour, migration and reproduction, and it may interfere
with community interactions such as competition or predation.
Despite increasing research activities on assessing ecological
consequences of ALAN, the overall effects of this threat on marine
ecosystems remain largely unknown. Besides, ALAN can interact
with other human stressors contributing to multiple impacts on
marine ecosystems. In order to adequately assess the cumulative
effects of human stressors to marine biota, it is therefore essential
to integrate ALAN into decision support systems including impact
assessment models.

An advanced model for coastal light pollution
assessment, based on expert elicitation and on a spatially detailed
artificial night sky brightness dataset, is presented and tested for
coastal areas of the Italian Adriatic Sea. Effects on marine organisms
(e.g. turtles) are mapped and discussed for their ecological
relevance, importance within multiple environmental impacts, as
well as for their significance for coastal management and planning.


KEYWORDS: light pollution, coastal ecosystems, cumulative impacts, modelling,
Adriatic sea

Italian translation by Lucia Bongiorni

Image source: Wikipedia (Adriatic Sea)

The Capraia Symposium on Protection and Promotion of the Night Sky, reloaded

After the international symposium on the protection and promotion of the night sky held on Capraia Island, Tuscany, Italy on Sep. 13-14 2018 (see report), with the BuioMetria Partecipativa project we decided to republish an “augmented” version of the symposium proceedings.

From the blog we will issue the abstract of each presentation, together with its Italian translation. For authors who are not Italian or English mother tongue, where possible we will also provide the translation of the abstract in their mother tongue, as an additional outreach exercise.

Departure from Leghorn towards Capraia

The symposium presentations were 28. We will make the abstracts available more or less daily, with the cpns2018 tag, together with some photo coverage taken during the mission to Capraia.

The original version of the book of abstracts can be downloaded from the  symposium website.

The order of the presentations from the blog will not follow the actual symposium schedule, and we start with Andrea Eugenio Gini from  Lucca, Italy,  and his overview on The ALAN phenomenon in the broader frame of urban evolutionary ecology

With this series of articles we hope that interested followers will get to know a bit more in depth the experiences shared during the symposium, and will obtain a broader view concerning artificial light at night, especially from the standpoint of ecology and natural resource management.

For more information:


CPNS2018-1/28: The ALAN phenomenon in the broader frame of urban evolutionary ecology�

A. Gini (1,2), M. A. L. Zuffi (2)

(1) Via A. Gramsci 191, 55100 Lucca (Lucca), Italy –

(2) Museo di Storia Naturale, Università di Pisa, via Roma 79, 56011 Calci (Pisa) – Italy –


Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a threat to ecosystem, which due to
urbanization it is increasing globally. This review is part of a wider
project proposal of evolutionary ecology in urban and peri-urban
populations of the Italian fauna. Here we provide an overview of
the effects of light pollution on a plethora of organisms, as well as
of ecosystem functions. Cloud cover can increase the area where
light irradiance arrives, potentially affecting peri-urban habitats
like wetlands. Polluted aerosols and the different thermal regimes
of cities can increase the phenomenon of cloud cover, directly
amplifying ALAN.
Light alters both physiology functions like metabolism, circadian
rhythms and behaviours like activity and interactions. This
alteration in a wetland area can potentially affect the entire
ecology of zooplankton, aquatic insects, urodeles, and anurans.
Another common effect of ALAN is the attraction of nocturnal
insects, especially moths. They can provide a window to small-
scale evolutionary and trophic alteration studies, because they
affect the diet of their predators and the delicate equilibrium of
the ecosystem. Lastly, an augmented presence of light can alter
the effects of communication signals, or create new ones. Visual
communication mediated by colours, shapes, and signals is very
common between animals, especially for courtship. Light can
dimmer the contrast between the environment and an organism,
blinding the communication, but can also exacerbate a shape or a
reflectance colour in camouflaged animals.
All of these phenomena participate with many others in the
differentiation of the urban environment, and they are all necessary
to enlighten how the evolution acts in their ecology.

KEYWORDS: ALAN, urban ecology, evolution, natural selection, adaptation,

Men at work on CPNS2018 presentations on the ferry

Die Jug Band der metallreichen Hügel

Die Band ist ein musikalisches Kollektiv das seinen Ursprung 2017 im folgenreichen Zusammentreffen mit den ‚Etruschi from Lakota‘ (einer jungen Rockband in der südlicheren Toskana mit 3 veröffentlichten Alben und Auftritten in ganz Italien), einigen ‚Wilden Vagabunden‘ mit internationalen Erfahrungen die seit gut 10 Jahren in der gleichen Gegend leben, und wechselnden Gästen.

Die Mitglieder der Band verbindet die Passion für Musik, die Tatsache des Lebens und Arbeitens in einer eher verlassenen Gegend Italiens – den toskanischen metallreichen Hügeln – und das Interesse andere auf die weniger bekannten Schätze und Geschichten aufmerksam zu machen. Die Band tritt auf wo Live-Music gespielt wird, aber auch bei weniger ‚normalen‘ Gelegenheiten wie zum Beispiel bei wissenschaftlichen Konferenzen.

Die MHJB tritt mit verschiedensten Instrumenten auf die Bühne: Gesang, Gitarren, Banjo, Bouzuki, Percussion, Schlagzeug, Waschbrett, einsaitigem Zupfbass und Jug. Plus allem möglichen was Gäste mitzubringen haben. In der letzten Zeit waren das Violine und Percussion.

Nicht vollständige Zusammensetzung der MHJB am 31 Oktober 2017 in Monterotondo Marittimo: Wolfgang Scheibe, Andrea Giacomelli, Dario Canal, Simone Sandrucci, Pietro Marini



Sep. 27, 2018: Etruschi & Friends Country Session at the White Rabbit Hole in Tuscany

On Thursday, Sep. 27, 2018 we were invited at the Tana del Bianconiglio (White Rabbit Hole) recording studio in Montecchio, a tiny village not far from Pisa, for a recording session putting together three generations and moods from different latitudes. Let’s see who was there, and how they got to this spot.

The line-up

The headliners, and hosts,  were the Etruschi from Lakota, young rockers from the Cecina Valley, a place which is known for Volterra, its main city, and for being at the centre of one of the largest geothermal sites in Italy (and in the world), but is also home to some cool music.

I first heard them in 2015, and they sounded to me like the missing link between Rino Gaetano and Led Zeppelin, with their own flair. They have just concluded a tour promoting their third album “Giù la testa” (hear it on Spotify), and they are at work on their fourth one. Meanwhile, they like to stay active on various collaborations.

From Köln, Germany, Klaus der Geiger. He looks like a mad fiddler, but in fact he is a violin virtuoso and is a well-known minstrel in his country (and partly IS a mad fiddler!).



From Piloni, Farma Valley, Tuscany…after many whereabouts in India, USA and Bali, Pietro aka Peter Crivelli, painter and folk musician.



From Tatti (Southern Tuscany) -and originally from Stuttgart, Germany- Wolfgang Scheibe, bass player, printer and organic bread expert, with a long street music track record…

…also from Tatti (but originally from Naples),  Guglielmo Eboli, a professional percussionist, active mainly with the Maremma Strega Pizzica Band.

Somewhere, Jack o’Malley (no photo available).

How the band got here

The recording session was the next step in a series of meetups and gigs which were triggered at the end of 2016 with the Farma Valley Winter Fest.

A peculiarity of this story was that, in parallel to “proper” performances, the group also experimented bringing music in contexts where normally you can’t hear it, such as presentations in scientific conferences, or international webinars and other occasions. This was not done just as a form of entertainment, but also to promote issues on environment, land planning, and rural development.

The country session

However, the integration of culture, environment and open innovation in rural areas is a different chapter of the book. Let’s go back to the country session after some warm-up…

….the track list saw Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, one spiritual, a song from Hair, hard-core Southern Italian rythms, Francesco de Gregori, and The Raconteurs. Plus, of course, various  Etruschi from Lakota songs, re-arranged with the additional musicians.

At some point the session got a little bit off-track, with something very close to James Brown, which is to country music like downhill ski is to the Netherlands…but jamming is jamming.

Nevertheless, the “country” direction was maintained during the day. At this point we are curious of checking out the videos which were shot. The Tana del Bianconiglio is now in post-production phase and we wait for news from them in a couple of months.

And then?

Would you like to hear the “jug band” live? Write us! (




For the record: how these guys got to the recording session

Acknowledgements – In addition to the musicians and La Tana del Bianconiglio, thanks for Fabiano Spinosi.


Capraia Night Sky 2018: How did it go?

From the two-day meeting in a small Tuscan island, an invitation to think twice before you install your next lamp, to reduce its negative impacts and to make space for opportunities in tourism, especially in rural areas.

In the stunning setting of the island of Capraia, in the Tuscan archipelago, a symposium was held on September 13 and 14 2018 on the topic of protection and promotion of night sky. The event was organized by the  National Research Council’s Institute of Biometeorology in collaboration with the University of Pisa, the BuioMetria Partecipativa project, and fondazione Clima e Sostenibilità, with patronage by Regione Toscana, Comune di Capraia Isola, the associazione Osservatori Meteorologici Storici Italiani and partial funding by the Stars4all European project.

The topics addressed covered technical aspects of  night sky quality measurement, the development of innovative sensors, the impact of light pollution in ecology, outreach and citizen science initiatives, and case of integrated promotion of territories. While some of these topics may sound complex, the negative impact of excessive artificial light at night are gradually being acknowledged by a wider audience (in Italy see for example  Repubblica 2016, Le Scienze 2017 or Prima dell’Alba, 2018).

The symposium hosted 32 presentations with authors from various Italian regions, as well as Hungary, Spain, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Malaysia, and South Korea. In fact, this was the first international meeting taking place in Italy on these topics since more than fifteen years.

During the two days an interesting array of expertise showcased its views. These included long-term experiences by well known authorities in the field of light pollution research, as well as groups that started just recently to address this topic, but have a relevant role in environmental field.
From the  symposium website  you may donwload the abstracts of the presentation, with author contact information to learn more about the topics discussed.

Next to the symposium, night-time activities were planned, with observations and measurements complementing the surveys conducted since 2017 by CNR IBIMET, University of Pisa and BuioMetria Partecipativa project.
Last but not least, on the evening of Friday, Sep. 14, an after-dark excursion led by guide of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park was proposed to symposium participants as well as tourists on the island, providing an interesting outreach moment linked to the symposium.

Nightscape of the island of Capraia. In addition to the starry sky and the Milky Way, the skyglow deriving from the village on the island and, on the right, from lights on the Tuscan coast, is clearly visible (Photo by Zoltan Kollath).

The possibility of hosting multiple experts from abroad helped us to see from a different perspective some of the critical issues related in Italy to the excess of lighting in many parts of its territory, as well as to acknowledge the opportunities deriving from night sky promotion for tourism and environmental education.

Our wish is that the symposium, in addition to helping to provide a view on the state of the art on promotion and protection of night skies may encourage public and private stakeholders related to lighting, so that they may keep in greater account in new installations the indications which are gradually being consolidated by scientists. Namely we should bear in mind the negative effects of the blue component in artificial lighting, and the containment of light to areas and hours of the day where it is really needed to insure our safety and the quality of urban environments.

Upcoming events on the same topic:

For more information: