In collaboration with the
International Astronomical Union

IAU - Astronomical Heritage in Danger

Since 2016, the IAU through its ‘Astronomical Heritage in Danger’ Working Group (part of Commission C4 - World Heritage and Astronomy) is compiling a list of sites with astronomical value relevant to humanity, which are currently at risk.

Many of these sites urgently need to be recognized as heritage sites by national governments, or even as potential UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The primary purpose of this list is to influence governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, local authorities and decision makers to achieve the protection and care of these sites. Another purpose of this list is to make visible, based on the cases addressed, the limits and problems generated by the definitions currently in use of the concept of ‘heritage’ and its management by national and international institutions.

IAU members who are interested in proposing new sites for this list are invited to contact Alejandro López in the first instance. The list is not open to members of the public, but we invite anyone who is interested in submitting relevant places to add them instead as Places connected to the Sky, indicating that these are endangered sites.

Astronomical Heritage Finder - Legend

    Colours represent categories of astronomical heritage
  • Cultural - Tangible - Fixed
  • Cultural - Tangible - Movable
  • Cultural - Intangible
  • Cultural - Natural - Mixed
  • Natural - Dark Skies
  • Places connected to the Sky
    Shapes in relation to serial case studies
  • General description (main node)
  • Other nodes within the series

    Sizes represent different lists of Astronomical Heritage
  • AWHI, UNESCO, IAU lists
  • Places connected to the Sky
    RED represents Astronomical Heritage in danger
  • and   and   
The term `Heritage in danger´ is meant to inform the community that conditions prevail which threaten the very characteristics of that heritage (be it astronomical or otherwise), and to encourage corrective action. Armed conflict and war, earthquakes and other natural disasters, pollution, poaching, uncontrolled urbanization and unchecked tourist development pose major problems for heritage, including astronomical heritage. Dangers can be ‘ascertained’, referring to specific and proven imminent threats, or ‘potential’, when there are threats that could have negative effects on the (astronomical) heritage values. Details of the actual dangers for a specific property can be found in the respective entity's description.