The World At Night

The World At Night (TWAN) is an international project to produce and present a collection of high-quality photos, videos, and virtual reality (VR) images of the night sky taken at various natural, cultural, and historic locations worldwide.[1]

For the novel by Alan Furst, see The World at Night.
The World at Night (TWAN)
Type of site
Photography website
Owner Astronomers Without Borders (AWB)
Created by Babak A. Tafreshi
Mike Simmons
Commercial No
Launched Fall 2007

Based on the peacemaking slogan of “One People, One Sky”, TWAN aims to demonstrate that humanity is one family when considered under the roof of the night sky.[2] According to its website, “TWAN is a bridge between art, humanity, and science. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above all the landmarks and symbols of different nations and regions, attesting to the truly unified nature of Earth as a planet rather than an amalgam of human-designated territories.”[3]

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This imagery is available for viewing on the TWAN website, through media contributions[4] and presentations and exhibits in various countries. TWAN events have been organized in countries such as United States, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Iran, India, Thailand, South Korea, South Africa, and Australia.[5] The images are also presented in the form of publications[6] and TWAN books and DVDs are planned for release in 2010.

About 30 night sky photographers[7] from around the world combine their talents and expertise through TWAN. They travel globally and photograph scenes that tell how the familiar sky appears the same from country to country and continent to continent.

The TWAN project is coordinated by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB). According to its website, “TWAN has brought together photographers, astronomers and organizations worldwide to create a new international team that fulfills its primary goal of bringing to the public a new way of seeing the beauty of nights sky and wonders of our planet, portraying Earth’s people as one family and our world as a living planet we must care for.”[8]

In addition to the main photo and video galleries on the TWAN website, there are specific galleries for UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites, and images that have appeared on NASA‘s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website. TWAN also has a “Guest Gallery” where people can submit their own night-sky images. This furthers the reach and variety of the image collection, which includes more than 1500 photos, videos, and VR imagery. Sites from about 50 countries are represented, spanning every continent.

The photographic imagery on the TWAN website is copyrighted.[9]

A TWAN photo displays a moonlit winter night in Alborz Mountains of Iran.

TWAN has been designated by UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) as a Special Project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009).[10] A TWAN exhibition accompanied the opening ceremony of IYA2009 in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.[11]

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