Dark Sky Park Veľká fatra
Dark Sky Park Veľká Fatra
In the vicinity of the Kráľová Studna there is a unique protected area – Veľká Fatra Dark Sky Park. It was created on the occasion of the International Year of Light, which was declared by the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations. (International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies – IYL 2015). One of the important parts of IYL 2015 is the protection of the starry sky. Light pollution, which is a serious environmental problem of modern civilization, causes us to see fewer and fewer stars in the night sky. Darkness has thus become an endangered part of nature, it is necessary to protect it. Protected areas of darkness in the world are primarily created by the initiative of astronomers and conservationists.
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Protection of the starry sky from light pollution was also one of the key objectives when the Veľká Fatra Dark Sky Park was created. The park in the vicinity of Kráľová Studna has an area of 325 hectares at an altitude of about 1,300 m above sea level, but it is only the start of the future expansion of the park to a larger area – to the entire central ridge of Veľká Fatra. The location of the Park in the “heart of Slovakia” has an extraordinary potential for the development of astrotourism. Veľká Fatra Dark Sky Park was created in order as the 76th dark sky park in the world, the thirtieth in Europe and the third in Slovakia.
Weekend stay with stargazing
Dates for stargazing 2023
19.5. – 21.5.
9.6. – 11.6.
14.7. – 16.7.
22.9. – 24.9.
13.10. – 15.10.
20.10. – 22.10.
Enjoy the magic of the night sky far from the city lights and get to know the unique experience of stargazing in the Dark Sky Park in Veľká Fatra, in the undisturbed surroundings of the Mountain Hotel Kráľova studňa.
- 2x night in the hotel
- 2x local fee
- 2x breakfast
- 1x professional interpretation and observation with astronomical telescopes with the Slovak Astronomers’ Union and the Observatory in Banská Bystrica – an organizational part of the Regional Observatory M. Hella Planetarium in Žiar nad Hronom
The memorandum was signed on June 12, 2015 in the mountain hotel Kráľova studňa by the statutory representatives of five organizations: the mountain hotel Kráľová studňa, the Slovak Astronomers’ Association, the Slovak State Nature Conservancy, the City of Banská Bystrica and the village of Dolný Harmanec. The supporters of the declaration are the Administration of the Veľká Fatra National Park, the Slovak Astronomical Society at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Slovak Central Observatory, the Banská Bystrica Municipal Forests and the Banská Bystrica Observatory.
After the Poloniny Dark Sky Park, which was established in 2010, and the Beskydy Dark Sky Area, which has been a joint Czech-Slovak project since 2013, the Veľká Fatra Dark Sky Park is the third such specific protected area in Slovakia.
Excellent observation conditions and good accessibility, only thirty kilometers from Banská Bystrica, predestined it for the specific development of astrotourism. The natural conditions here are extraordinary within Slovakia. Visitors and guests of the mountain hotel Kráľova studňa have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the starry sky.
Repeated measurements of the brightness of the night sky at the King’s well have shown that it is an area with a high-quality starry sky. Jasomer SQM (Sky Quality Meter) measured values of almost 21.6 mag/arcsec2, which corresponds to Bortle scale 3, i.e. high-quality rural sky. The hotel has an astronomical telescope, observations, lectures and discussions for visitors are organized by astronomers from Banská Bystrica.
In big cities, the sky is bright at night, we will see only a few dozen stars. In Veľká Fatra Dark Sky Park, the night sky is of exceptional quality. Even without a telescope, we can see around two thousand stars and a number of distant space objects. The silvery Milky Way is visible even low above the horizon, it is richly structured, reminiscent of marble. The zodiacal light is especially visible around the equinoxes – in the evening in spring, in the morning in autumn – it continues in the sky with a faint zodiacal band and backlight.
For example, the Andromeda Galaxy (M 31), the most distant object in the universe visible without a telescope, is also well visible. Its distance is two and a half million light years; therefore, the light we see now left it even before our ancestor Homo habilis lived in Africa… By visiting the dark sky parks, we get not only a wonderful view of the starry sky, but also a positive attitude towards environmental protection, which is especially important for children and the young generation. The protection of darkness is not an intervention in our well-being, we can live with less consumption, we will be healthier, happier and we will live in a natural environment with rich biodiversity.