Sark declared as world's first dark sky island

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Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): The Channel Island of Sark has been declared as the world's first dark sky island for the quality of its night sky.

Recognized by the International Dark-sky Association (IDA), Sark has no streetlights, paved roads or cars. Therefore, there's no pollution as there is in cities.

The result is a clear night sky with the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon, meteors streaking overhead, and countless stars on display.

"This is a great achievement for Sark. People around the world are become increasingly fascinated by astronomy as we discover more about our universe, and the creation of the world's first dark sky island in the British Isles can only help to increase that appetite," said Prof Roger Davies, president of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Jim Patterson of the Institute of Lighting Engineers created a comprehensive lighting management plan and local residents pitched in by altering their lighting to make them more dark sky friendly.

"Sark becoming the world's first dark sky island is a tremendous feather in our environmental cap, which can only enhance our appeal. Sark is a wonderful island and this recognition will bring our uniqueness and beauty to a wider audience," said Conseilleur Paul Williams, chair of the agriculture Committee.

Steve Owens, the dark sky development officer who led Sark's application to the IDA, said, "This is an ideal opportunity to bring stargazers to the island throughout the year, and I think that Sark is about to see a boom in astro-tourism, especially in the winter months.

"We've seen a surge of public interest in astronomy in recent years, with the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 and more recently with the success of BBC Stargazing Live, and it's great that places like Sark and Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park are allowing people from towns and cities to come and experience a dark sky". (ANI)

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