Why preserve astronomical heritage?The sky, our common and universal heritage, forms an integral part of the total environment that is perceived by humankind. Heritage that bears witness to people’s interpretation and understanding of the sky from earliest times through to the present day stands as a record of the extraordinary diversity of ways in which our species has viewed, interpreted and understood the relationship between itself and the world—the universe—that we inhabit. If we are to keep this record intact, it is vital to recognize and safeguard cultural sites and natural landscapes that encapsulate and epitomize the connection between humankind and the sky.
Astronomical heritage does not only come in the form of fixed, tangible heritage (sites and landscapes). It is equally important to recognize and protect movable objects and artefacts, the intangible heritage of astronomy in various forms, and natural heritage relating to astronomy—including the visibility of the dark night sky itself.
See also:Why we must save our astronomical heritage, by Clive Ruggles, New Scientist, 16 January 2009