You can set your watch by it. At 10 pm every night —11 pm in the Summer— the light display in the Shanghai central business district goes dark. I was there as the guest of Frank Fei Guo, a local lighting designer and leader of DarkSky Shanghai. As a city of 26 million, it’s far from dark even once the display lights turn off, but it does demonstrate even large cities can take steps towards mitigating light pollution.
But there is a place in Shanghai where you can go and see the stars. Daily, 4,000 tickets to the new Shanghai Astronomy Museum sell out in one minute. At that rate, it would take 15 years for all current residents to visit. This award-winning museum is the largest and surely one of the world’s most innovative astronomy museums and planetariums.
Frank and I were there to participate in their Forum to mark International Dark Sky Week. The museum has collaborated with one of DarkSky’s corporate partners, Rémy Martin, to raise awareness of dark, star-filled skies.
We met with Liu Jian, vice director of the museum, and Nicole Lee, brand lead for Rémy Martin, to discuss future collaborations. In 1870, Paul-Émily Rémy Martin, an avid astronomer, chose the centaur as their symbol. It was also his star sign, Sagittarius.
Over the past few years, Rémy Martin has worked with Jeff Dai, co-lead of DarkSky Beijing, to share images and live streams of dark, star-filled skies across China through social media. This has contributed to the growing interest in dark skies across mainland China. Meanwhile, back in their vineyards around Cognac, they have taken steps to mitigate light pollution by following our principles for responsible outdoor lighting.
Later this year, we look forward to extending this collaboration by exhibiting photos from the Capture the Dark photo contest at the Shanghai Astronomy Museum. It’s another good reason to visit this groundbreaking museum.