Logo for DarkSky International's Under One Sky Global Conference 2023

Under One Sky Global Conference

A Virtual, Worldwide Event

Nov 3–4, 2023  ·  #UnderOneSky2023

Join the global community of advocates protecting the night sky for Under One Sky 2023 — a 24-hour virtual event that will leave you feeling inspired and empowered to combat light pollution in your region.

You’ll hear from experts and storytellers in the dark sky movement, connect with passionate individuals from DarkSky’s global network, and learn about hands-on activities and tools that you can use to protect the night. Register now! Early Bird pricing ends October 1st. 

2023 Speakers

More speakers to be announced!

Annette Lee

New York Times Bestselling AuthorJo MarchantUK

Global Conference Opening Keynote

Jo Marchant is an award-winning science journalist and author of popular books including Decoding the Heavens and The Human Cosmos. Her writing explores the nature of humanity and our universe, from the mind-body connection to the mysteries of past civilisations and the awesome power of the night sky. This talk will explore the cultural importance of the sky – telling a story of how the Sun, Moon and stars have inspired and guided humanity since Palaeolithic times – and trace how our relationship with the stars has changed as we’ve built a scientific understanding of our universe and become more reliant on technologies from central heating to GPS. Jo will argue that alongside the elegant and powerful explanations of science, our physical, spiritual and ecological wellbeing depend on rediscovering a more personal connection with the cosmos in which we live.

Annette Lee

Nat Geo Photographer, Explorer, and speakerBabak TafreshiU.S./Iran

Global Conference Closing Keynote

Babak Tafreshi is an Iranian-American science photographer, cinematographer, and National Geographic explorer based in Boston area. Since 2007, Tafreshi has directed The World at Night program with a team of photographers in 20 countries. The program’s mission to reveal the value of natural dark skies and impact of light pollution was captured through The World at Night, a book authored by Tafreshi and published in multiple languages. Tafreshi uses visual stories, timelapse motion, and virtual reality to create an understandable portal to wonders of Earth and sky. His work is recognized by the 2022 National Geographic Wayfinder Award, the Royal Photography Society Award for Scientific Imaging, and the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award. In addition, the International Astronomical Union named the 2-km minor planet 276163 after Tafreshi.

Annette Lee

DarkSky CEO & Executive DirectorRuskin HartleyU.S.

Global Conference Opening

Ruskin Hartley joined DarkSky International as its executive director in 2019. Ruskin brings more than 20 years of conservation experience to guide DarkSky’s work to protect the night sky. Ruskin has spent his career directing and managing conservation programs that protect the nation’s land, water, and ocean resources–from primeval forests to the iconic beaches of Southern California. 

Diane Knutson Headshot

President, DarkSky Board of DirectorsTom ReinertU.S.

Global Conference Opening

Tom is a retired Washington, D.C., lawyer who spent most of his career representing airlines and railroads in labor and employment matters, including extensive experience translating scientific experts for lay decision-makers. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School.

His environmental activism included a decade fighting water pollution with local riverkeeper organizations on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. In 2013, seeing the Andromeda Galaxy for the first time with his naked eyes from atop Kitt Peak rekindled an interest in astronomy and a desire to eliminate light pollution.

Currently residing in Northern Virginia, he and his wife Chris travel extensively in the Western United States seeking dark sky locations. For several years he has assisted DarkSky as a volunteer on legal and public policy issues at the national level.

Diane Knutson Headshot

DarkSky Board of DirectorsSamyukta ManikumarSlovenia/Kenya

Global Conference MC

Samyukta is an astrotourism consultant and the director of Noctia Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of natural dark skies. With a background in science communication, outreach, astrotourism, and experience design, Samyukta is interested in an interdisciplinary approach to dark sky conservation that integrates science with cultural and environmental preservation.

She received the Dark Sky Defender award from DarkSky in 2022, and is currently involved in the establishment of the Kenyan chapter of DarkSky.

2023 Regional Sessions

More speakers to be announced soon!

E & SE Asia, Australia & New Zealand

Diane Knutson Headshot

Dual Shen XinrongChina

Wuxi’s Youth Dark Sky Protection Actions

Since 2011, the Astronomical Society of the Jiangsu Tianyi High School has conducted practical exploration around “DarkSky Protection,” forming a popular science education model with a sequential curriculum design including popularization, academic and research courses. Popularization activities such as lectures and exhibitions are carried out mainly to develop students’ interest; the academic courses, including activities like teaching and observation, are primarily offered to consolidate professional knowledge; research activities such as luminous monitoring and remote sensing analysis are intended mainly to improve academic capabilities and cultivate reserve talents. Over the past decade, we have achieved remarkable results. A number of papers on “DarkSky Protection” have been published in SCI-indexed journals and other academic journals in China and internationally, and multiple related projects have won awards in academic competitions in China and abroad.

Europe, Middle East, Africa, India 

Diane Knutson Headshot

Dual Susan Murabana OwenKenya

The Travelling Telescope Africa

The Travelling Telescope is a social enterprise dedicated to promoting science and  technology using astronomy tools and concepts. We take our computerised portable  telescope and mobile planetarium around Kenya and Tanzania educating the public  about our universe and emphasizing the importance of protecting our fragile planet.  We  focus  on  two  main  areas,  Education  and  Tourism.  We  also  recently  built  a  permanent  planetarium  with  the  dome  built  out  of  bamboo.  This  is  the  only  permanent planetarium in East Africa.  

We  partner  with  lodges  in  Kenya  and  provide  our  services  to  their  guests  as  an  added experince. Most lodges we visit are in rural areas with limited light polution,  we  hope  we  can  encourage  this  beautiful  dark  sky  resource  to  be  valued  and  preserved by communities and businesses around  these areas.  We also hope  that  we  can  encourage the  next  generation  of  leaders  to  value  the  natural  unpolluted  dark  skies  and  hopefully  make  informed  decisions  about  this  preservation  as  we  move towards more development.  

We  have  been  featured  on  CNN,  BBC,  Aljazeera  and  many  other  local  and  international  media  houses.  Please  visit  our  website  for  more  information:  www.travellingtelescope.co.uk

Diane Knutson Headshot

Dual Petr HorálekCzech Republic

Dark Sky Images in NASA

Petr Horálek is an outreach astronomer, ESO Photo Ambassador, and a NASA-featured and award-winning astrophotographer based in the Czech and Slovak Republics, who specializes in photographing rare night-sky phenomena. His images capture unique moments, which he calls “pearls of astronomy”, that add to the immeasurable beauty of a dark starry sky. This talk will present some of his images published as NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day which also show on importance of the dark sky along with the beauty of the phenomena and nightscapes each of us could enjoy when light pollution is far away. The untouched night sky is not only our natural heritage, but also an object of inspiration, perspective, and a theatre of amazing natural performances which we probably even know about. Also author will briefly present how to take such images to show others the dark sky importance on our own.

North, Central & South America

Diane Knutson Headshot

Dual Mariana De Aguiar FéoBrazil

Why All the Light We See Is Not the Light We Need

As our world grew, so did the amount of light in it. Now we are embedded 24/7 in all different forms of artificial light, from smartphones to big light poles outside our home windows. This unfortunate scenario made us — especially those living in urban areas —- so accustomed to a starless sky that we don’t even realize anymore how important the dark is for our lives and our ecosystem. In losing the dark sky we lose culture, negatively impact the fauna and flora around us, and cause detrimental effects on our own health.
But how can we inspire people, especially the next generation, to fight for something they never knew? How can we show people the importance of fighting for something they were taught to be afraid of?
This talk will tackle the experiences of those who have never experienced a truly dark sky or who saw it’s gradual disappearance, focusing especially on how excessive light affects us in a tangible manner, from our mental health to our society. The ultimate goal is to inspire people to engage in the preservation of darkness by showing this is an issue that directly affects them and encouraging them to join the “preserving the dark” movement.
Diane Knutson Headshot

Dual Juan Carlos Hernández MontesMexico

Activism Integration from México

After 20 years in astronomy popularization activities, Juan Carlos promotes the integration of a robust strategy to protect the nights in Querétaro city, at the center region of México.
As President of the Astronomical Society of Querétaro, Juan Carlos submitted an amendment to the environmental laws in the state congress, looking to protect the local night sky around the metropolitan area of Queretaro City, the very battle front of the light pollution, setting the Urban Night Sky Place “Joya-La Barreta” as operation center, a local park in the suburbs of Querétaro City, where people and authorities can see by themself the impact of wrong public lighting actions.
Leading several associations which gathers astronomical clubs, astrotourism agencies, investigation centers, planetariums, local authorities, aerospace industry and lighting design studies, Juan Carlos designed the regional strategy to consolidate robust actions for the conservation of the natural dark sky in Queretaro State called #CielosQueretanos.

2023 Engagement Workshops


More information on Engagement Workshops coming soon! 

Engagement Workshop Session: Astrotourism

Join us for an unforgettable journey into the cosmos as we explore the captivating world of astrotourism and the magic of dark skies. Our engaging workshop is designed to ignite your passion for stargazing, deepen your understanding of astrotourism’s significance, and empower you to protect and promote the preservation of dark skies through this incredible tool.

Kerem Asfuroglu Headshot

Emma Zulaiha ZulkifliMalaysia

Emma started introducing Astrotourism to Malaysians by bringing people to see the night sky in Sabah, Northern Borneo Island of Malaysia. Experiences to see the Milky Way galaxy with the naked eyes and a Milky Way photography expedition have made Sabah a regular visit destination for many tourists. In Malaysia, capturing the night sky or seeing the Milky Way has become a trend, and many articles have been written on the potential of astrotourism. In the year of 2018, she presented a paper on introducing Astrotourism as a medium to reduce light pollution and advocate dark sky in the IAU Communicating Astronomy with the Public Japan. The introduction of Astrotourism is not just a stand-alone activity, but also a cooperation with other tourism players. For example, campground owners, homestay owners, and outdoor recreational centers have already integrated stargazing into their packages. A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation Sabah to create more dark sky locations for astrotourism in Sabah. Emma has not only motivated the local tourism players but has also taken the initiative to get the Ministry to support her initiative. Malaysians have embraced this notion, and Astrotourism has taken off all over the country, particularly when Emma led her team on virtual stargazing, meteor shower observation, and total lunar eclipse online during the pandemic.  
Kerem Asfuroglu Headshot

Sisco Auala, PhDNamibia

Sisco was born in Namibia, a country in Southern Africa which has one of the lowest population densities in the world, which lends itself to unpolluted, dark night skies. She holds a PhD in Tourism Development from the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. She is currently a researcher at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). Her research interests are in Dark Sky Tourism, Indigenous Astronomy, and Community Development. She is working with the indigenous communities in Namibia to develop Dark Sky Tourism and bring awareness of the potential of this type of niche tourism to bring benefits to indigenous communities. She is a keen advocate for the preservation of the dark skies, a valuable resource for the sustainable development of Namibia. 

Lya Shaffer Osborn Headshot

Adrien Vilquin BarrajonNew Zealand

Journalist by trade, I spent most of my professional career in the public outreach of astronomy, from different perspectives (press, teaching or tourism). My astro tourism experience started in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand, where I worked initially as a guide, and now as a manager for the stargazing operations. Dark Sky Project, the company I work for, was a pioneer in that niche field, and is now one of the largest stargazing companies in the world. I also spent some time on La Palma (Canary Islands, home to the GTC, largest mirror in the world to this day) helping setting up stargazing ventures, and in France (Nançay, home to one of the largest radio observatories in the world) where I managed a planetarium and astronomy museum. I am now back in Lake Tekapo, where my adventure started, under the one of the best skies this planet has to offer. Deeply in love with the southern sky, I am fueled by an endless passion that I am eager to share.
Lya Shaffer Osborn Headshot

Ahmed T. AlthaherSaudi Arabia

Ahmed Althaher is an amateur astronomer with Mechanical Engineering degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM).
Ahmed is an enthusiast with vast knowledge in many areas. During his study, he has been granted two patents for inventions that combine health with engineering in electronics devices, and luxury with the economy in consumable products, both of which were supported by KFUPM. As a multidisciplinary, Ahmed has many skills that consist of prototyping, ideas experimenting, product development, and patenting.

Eng. Ahmed has worked for The Arabian Robotics Company, where he managed the production of the first commercial batch of The Saudi Aramco Inspection Robot (SAIR) and gained experience in transferring products from the laboratory to the operational readiness level. He then worked for BAE Systems Saudi Arabia.

Equivalent to engineering, Ahmed is also passionate about astronomy and stargazing. About a decade ago, he started accompanying professional and academic astronomers during islamic crescent observations and astronomical phenomenon observations, like meteor showers and comet passages. Through his years of experience, he gained knowledge in astronomical observation methods and light pollution assessment, which makes him qualified to organize several interesting trips for stargazing and astronomical observation.

Eng. Ahmed is currently operating remarkable astronomical tourism by mixing both outdoor adventures and stargazing sessions at his small business; Judai Stargazing, which was designated as one of the most unique touring experiences in Saudi Arabia. Up to date, he delivered 34 stargazing sessions and 4 workshops in Astrotourism and Light Pollution Assessment in 6 cities around the kingdom. He also supported dark sky place program applicants in governmental and private sectors. In 2021, He was selected to be a Delegate of DarkSky International in Saudi Arabia. As of today, Eng. Ahmed is starting a new journey in astrotourism as he is joining Red Sea Global Company to design and lead Stargazing Experiences on the Red Sea Islands.

Engagement Workshop Session: Good Lighting Practice

Join us for a workshop dedicated to the principles and practices of dark sky lighting. This workshop will empower participants with the knowledge and skills to design and implement lighting solutions that not only reduce light pollution but also enhance safety, security, and aesthetics in our communities.

Lya Shaffer Osborn Headshot

Stephen HummelU.S.

Stephen Hummel is the Dark Skies Initiative Coordinator with the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory. Stephen works with communities, oil and gas companies, parks, governments, and other organizations in far western Texas to adopt better lighting practices and reduce light pollution. Stephen is committee chair for the Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest certified Dark Sky Place in the world. In his spare time, Stephen is an award-winning photographer of the night sky and has been featured by National Geographic, NASA, Smithsonian Magazine, and more.

Engagement Workshop Session: Policy

Join our enlightening workshop on enacting dark sky policy, where we will delve into the critical realm of preserving natural nightscapes and combating light pollution. Join us for a comprehensive exploration of the policies and practices that can help safeguard our skies for generations to come.

Lya Shaffer Osborn Headshot

David SmithU.K.

David is an award-winning campaigner and environmental advocate. He has worked on a range of policy issues including plastic pollution, water quality, land use change and species recovery programmes. He currently works as Social Change and Advocacy Officer at Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust. David leads policy work to help save the small things that run the planet. His focus at the moment is on Invasive Non-Native Species, chemicals in freshwaters and light pollution. David is working to ensure that light pollution is recognised as an environmental pollutant with legally binding targets to lower pollution levels and relieve the pressure light pollution puts on the natural world.


Sessions will happen across 24 hours beginning with a global opening on Friday, November 3rd at 2:00 PM PST (10:00 PM UTC). Then, the conference will move to three regional sessions loosely based on timezones on Saturday, November 4th. Each regional session will be followed by engagement workshops. Then, conference attendees will come back together for a global closing session at 2:00 pm PST (10:00 PM UTC). There will also be networking opportunities and an awards ceremony during the conference. 

Global Open

Friday, November 3

3:00 PM PDT
6:00 PM EDT
10:00 PM GMT/UTC
9:00 AM AEDT (November 4)

  • Welcome
  • DarkSky Board of Directors
  • DarkSky Executive Director
  • Jo Marchant: How the Stars Shaped Humanity

Global Networking Session

Friday, November 3

4:20 PM PDT
7:20 PM EDT
11:20 PM GMT/UTC
10:20 AM AEDT (November 4)

Regional Session #1

E & SE Asia, Australia, and New Zealand

Saturday, November 4

8:00 PM PDT (November 3)
11:00 PM EDT (November 3)
2:00 PM AEDT

Engagement Workshops Session #1

Saturday, November 4

9:45 PM PDT (November 3)
12:45 PM EDT
3:45 PM AEDT

Astrotourism Engagement Panel


Regional Session #2

Europe, Middle East, Africa, India

Saturday, November 4

3:00 AM PDT
6:00 AM EDT
10:00 AM GMT/UTC
9:00 PM AEDT

Engagement Workshops Session #2

Saturday, November 4

4:45 AM PDT
7:45 AM EDT
11:45 AM GMT/UTC
10:45 PM AEDT

Good Lighting Practice Engagement Workshop

Regional Session #3

North, Central and South America

Saturday, November 4

10:00 AM PDT
1:00 PM EDT
4:00 AM AEDT (November 5)

Engagement Workshops Session #3

Saturday, November 4

11:45 AM PDT
2:45 PM EDT
5:45 AM AEDT (November 5)

Policy Engagement Workshop

Virtual Awards Reception & Cocktail Hour

Saturday, November 4

1:45 PM PDT
4:45 PM EDT
7:45 AM AEDT (November 5)

  • DarkSky Awards Committee

Global Closing

Saturday, November 4

3:00 PM PDT
6:00 PM EDT
10:00 PM GMT/UTC
9:00 AM AEDT (November 5)

  • Babak Tafreshi:

    Night Reveals A Universe


T-shirts & sweatshits
Available in several colors & styles

UOS 2022 Sweatshirt

Join Us!

November 3-4, 2023
Register Now!