In order to achieve this certification, a complete and exhaustive study of the darkness of the sky was carried out in collaboration with the General Directorate of Environmental Quality of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Existing data on other parameters were also collected. Thus, for example, using data from the Meteorological Service of Catalonia, it has been possible to verify that the conditions are suitable in more than 60% of the night time. It has also been confirmed that this is a place of low atmospheric pollution, thanks to the data obtained by the pollutant control station of the CSIC and the Generalitat de Catalunya located in the area. However, thanks to historical sighting data obtained by the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, from the Montsec Astronomical Observatory it has been possible to show that good conditions also exist in Montsec.
All this set of data, studies and statistics show that the sky conditions of Montsec are very good and that some areas are really excellent.
At the end of 2012, Montsec and its sky were evaluated through the processes of astronomical and tourist audits established by the Starlight Foundation in order to be able to certify the suitability of Montsec. The evaluation carried out concluded, at the beginning of 2013, with the conclusion that a total of twenty-four municipal terms (total or partial) were certified as STARLIGHT TOURIST DESTINATIONS and that eleven of them (total or partially), they were also certified as STARLIGHT RESERVE (excellent skies).
The final conclusion of the whole process is that MONTSEC and its sky is one of the best places in the world to do astronomical observation and enjoy the light of the stars.
On April 20, 2007, as part of the International Conference in Defense of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Stargaze, held on the Island of La Palma, the World Declaration was approved in Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Stargaze, internationally known as the La Palma Declaration or Starlight Declaration. This declaration was signed by representatives of UNESCO, the World Tourism Organization and the International Astronomical Union among other international agencies and organizations
From the Starlight Declaration arises the Starlight certification system, with the aim of promoting worldwide the improvement of the quality of tourist experiences and the protection of the night sky of those visitable places that present excellent qualities for contemplation of the starry sky and the practice of activities based on this resource. According to their characteristics, four types of Starlight sites can be considered:
These are visitable places that have excellent qualities for the contemplation of the starry sky and the realization of tourist activities based on this resource. The aim is to guarantee the ability to enjoy the observation of the sky and discover the associated scientific, natural, cultural and landscape values. In this way, a certification that values science and tourism jointly based on the observation of the firmament is joined for the first time.
These are the places considered as exceptional observation areas. They meet exceptional conditions in terms of the absence of light pollution and at the same time present world-class equipment for scientific research based on astronomical observation. These established locations are linked to observatory locations in the Canary Islands, Hawaii, Northern Chile, Arizona-Baja California and western South Africa.
They consist of protected natural spaces where a commitment is established for the defense of the quality of the night sky and access to the light of the stars. Its function is to preserve the quality of the night sky and the various values associated with this fact, especially in terms of nature conservation values.
These are windows open to the observation of the sky that a community voluntarily designates with the aim of enjoying the sky. Its function is to claim and assert the right to enjoy the night sky. In the same way that a municipality or a region designates a space for sport, leisure or nature, it is a matter of designating a place for observing the sky that can even be in an environment urban