Sark Declared First International Dark Sky Community

The Isle of Sark, a tiny British Channel island of just 600 residents, has become the first internationally-recognized “dark sky community,” as determined by the International Dark-Sky Association.

The sky over the Isle of Sark has the best view of the Milky Way from Earth.

Light pollution in heavily populated areas has long been a problem for stargazers and astronomers. The reflection of artificial ground lights in the atmosphere decreases visibility of stars and astronomical phenomena in most of the developed world.

To combat the problem, Sark residents have no public lighting or cars, making the sky above the two-square-mile island the clearest—and darkest—populated area on the planet. Praise from environmental groups and the British government abound, including this statement from Roger Davies, President of the Royal Astronomical Society:

“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. I hope this leads to many more people experiencing the wonders of a truly dark sky.”



8 Responses to Sark Declared First International Dark Sky Community

    • One of our fans on Facebook explained it best: "it's not the darkest place on Earth; it's the human settlement with the least light pollution. If you went out to the Utah salt flats at night or something, you would get a very clear view as well. The point of being a "dark sky community" is that it's a city/town/settlement populated by humans, where they have made the active choice to shine no lights at night so that one may observe the sky without interference."

      • I'm still not convinced that "it's the human settlement with the least light pollution ." There are humans and active choices that discourage artificial light in North Korea. Where is Kim Jong Il's award?

    • Well if I remember rightly approximately 52% of the year is overcast here in the UK (bear in mind that's probably averaged across the length and breadth of the British Isles, which includes Scotland :P)

  1. I too have my doubts about this one. I live in Namibia (South Western Africa) and have been to certain 'human settlements' here that have pretty much ZERO light pollution, having no access to electricity. I grant that the Isle of Sark may have made a conscious decision where my fellow Namibian's turn no lights on by necessity, but I would not say that that alone means they have the 'best view of the Milky Way'?

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