Dark Sky Studies

Safeguarding our connection to the stars is dependent on our ability to see them. This is under growing threat from light pollution and the increasing presence of artificial satellites. Light pollution is also a major growing concern for wildlife, human health, and the night time economy. Our trans-disciplinary research focuses exploring ways we can safeguard our skies and our vision of the stars, reduce and manage light pollution, and seek solutions through research in engineering, design, and landscape architecture.  

Research Labs and Programs

Light pollution is one of the fastest growing challenges in modern society, rapidly erasing our view of the stars, negatively impacting astronomical heritage and astrophysics research, and damaging the health and behaviour of humans and wildlife, with further consequences on tourism and economics. The challenge of slowing the growth of artificial light and reducing light pollution for the benefit of society and the environment falls primarily on urban planning and landscape design through engineering solutions and policy implementation.  Students will engage in practice-based workshops and fieldwork with real-world results. This subject is joint between the School of Physics, the School of Biosciences, and the Melbourne School of Design, with additional contributions from the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Masters and Doctoral programs are available for students interested in pursuing graduate degrees with a thesis on Dark Sky Studies. Contact one of the personnel below involved in these programs to lean more.


  • Duane Hamacher, Associate Professor of Cultural Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Melbourne  
  • Theresa Jones, Associate Professor of Evolution & Animal Behaviour, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne  
  • Michele Acuto, Professor of Global Urban Politics, Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne  
  • Kirstine Wallis, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture & Indigenous Curriculum, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne