Sark is the World's First Day Sky Island
We’ve always known that our stunning night skies are something special but now they’ve been given international recognition as Sark was designated the world’s first Dark Sky Island at the beginning of February 2011. The process began over a year before when local stargazer Felicity Belfield read about Galloway Park in Scotland being singled out for the quality of its night sky. The International Dark-sky Association (IDA) was contacted and so began a year of assessment and community consultation. Without cars and street lighting the only light pollution here is a distant glow from Guernsey, Jersey and France. This means that the night sky is very dark with the Milky Way stretching form horizon to horizon and thousands of stars on display. The news of Sark’s designation has captured a great deal of media attention and has reached around the world. The BBC’s prime time programme, the One Show, recorded a charming piece earlier this month featuring those involved that was aired on 11th February. With an increasing public interest in astronomy it’s hoped that Sark’s dark skies will encourage more visitors to the island, particularly during the months with the longer nights. For those of us who live here it’s another affirmation that Sark is a very special place.
The stunning imagaes above were taken by astronomer Martin Morgan-Taylor while he was here in Sark as part of the team assessing the island's application to the IDA. On the left is the Milky Way seen from the mill and the image on the right shows stargazers on Sark enjoying the wonder of the night sky.