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Babak Tafreshi

An Iranian-American photojournalist, National Geographic explorer and speaker who uses night sky photography and visual storytelling to bridge art and science, culture and nature, and conservation and exploration. Early on he realized he could inspire others to recognize the universality of the night sky: a unifying roof above all religions, cultures and countries. Based on these goals, he founded The World at Night program (TWAN) in 2007 and directs a team of 40 night sky photographers based in over 20 countries. The World at Night book, authored by Babak, is published in several languages.

His work has garnered numerous prestigious awards, including the Lennart Nilsson Award in 2009 (which recognizes outstanding contributions to scientific photography), the 2022 Royal Photography Society Award for scientific imaging, and National Geographic’s 2022 Wayfinder Award. The International Astronomical Union has named the minor planet 276163 after him: Asteroid Tafreshi is a 2-km wide object between Mars and Jupiter.

Born in Tehran in 1978 his enthusiasm for the night sky started at age 13 when he gazed at the moon through a telescope. He studied physics at university and then shifted to journalism. He was an astronomy teacher in Tehran and involved in various science outreach programs. He appeared on many TV and radio programs related to science and the night sky. He was the editor of the Persian astronomy magazine (Nojum) for a decade. He left Iran in 2011.

As a science communicator he uses visuals to create an understandable portal to the wonders of the night sky. He is currently focused on documenting the global impact of light pollution on the environment, through aNational Geographic Society granted project: Visual Atlas of Life at Night.

Some of Works

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