Nightscape Photography Reclaims the Natural Sky

Nightscape photos and timelapse videos, where the Earth & sky are framed together with an astronomical purpose, support the dark skies activities by improving public awareness. TWAN or The World at Night program ( presents the world’s best collection of such landscape astrophotos and aims to introduce the night sky as a part of nature, an essential element of our living environment besides being the astronomers lab. The nightscape images also present views of our civilizations landmarks, both natural and historic sites, against the night-time backdrop of stars, planets, and celestial events. In this context TWAN is a bridge between art, science and culture.

TWAN images contribute to programs such as the Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark Sky Association or Starlight reserves by assisting local efforts in better illustrating their dark skies and by producing stunning images that not only educate the local people on their night sky heritage also communicate with the governments that are responsible to support the dark sky area.

Since 2009 TWAN organizes the world’s largest annual photo contest on nightscape imaging, in collaboration with the Dark Skies Awareness, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and Astronomers Without Borders. The International Earth & Sky Photo Contest promotes the photography that documents the beauty of natural skies against the problem of light pollution. In 2014 the entries received from about 50 countries and the contest result news was widely published in the most popular sources internationally.

*Babak A. Tafreshi is a photographer and science communicator. He is the creator of The World At Night program, and a contributing photographer to the National Geographic, Sky&Telescope magazine, and the European Southern Observatory.

Babak Tafreshi

AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: B. Tafreshi, The World at Night (TWAN), Waltham, Massachusetts, UNITED STATES


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