Sky protection


How we preserve astronomical quality at the Observatorios de Canarias
Sky protection

The Sky Quality Protection Technical Office (OTPC) was set up by the IAC in January 1992 to provide advice on the application of the Sky Law (Law 31/1988), which was proposed by the parliament of the Canary Islands. On the 13th March 1992 the government approved the Regulations for the law (R.D. 243/1992) and modified on the 12th June 2017 (R.D 580/2017), which protects the astronomical quality of observatories in the Canaries from:

  • Light pollution
    It regulates exterior lighting on the island of La Palma and the area of Tenerife directly visible from La Palma to prevent light pollution.
  • Radioelectrical pollution 
    It sets limits for electromagnetic radiation so that it does not interfere with equipment or corrupt results at the observatories foreseeing radioelectrical pollution.
  • Atmospheric pollution
    It controls activities which could damage the atmosphere over the observatories to prevent atmospheric pollution.
  • Aviation routes 
    It regulates air traffic over the observatories to prevent interference from aviation routes: exhaust gases and turbulences.

The OTPC provides advice on the application of regulations contained in the Law and produces mandatory technical reports for lighting projects and radioelectric stations, as well as issuing lighting fixtures and lamps certificates .