Channel Islanders welcomed Sark’s Dark-Sky Status after it was recognised as the first Dark-Sky Island in the world by the United States based International Dark-Sky Association in 2011.
Dark Sky status is designated to locations free from sufficient light pollution. Every photon of light escapes upwards creating a glare in the sky’s atmosphere, obstructing a clear view of the galaxy, even with the use of powerful telescopes. Astronomers in the Channel Islands have a special relationship with the cosmos, unlike other areas on the English mainland; here on Guernsey we can regularly see the Milky Way and International Space Station circling above us. And with even clearer skies on Sark we are able to see even more clearly, and study astronomy with the naked eye, fuelling the Bailiwick’s fascination with the cosmos. David Le Conte of La Société Guernesiaise Astronomy Section explained: “It encourages people not only to look up at the night sky, but also to appreciate the importance of retaining a clear vision of the cosmos, free of light interference. It is certainly of assistance to one of our main goals, which is to bring the subject of astronomy to a wide audience, and to educate the public, especially young people.”With less light pollution La Société Guernesiaise Astronomy Section believe that The Bailiwick is more aware of our place in the universe.Light pollution, not only creates problems for the island aesthetically, creates an economic concern as excess glare represents wasted energy and in turn, wasted expense. It is vital to reduce the amount of light produced to a minimum and to focus the omitted energy where it is needed. You can help to prevent light pollution by replacing outdoor lighting with motion sensor lights, replacing your conventional bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, or, simply turning your lights or electrical equipment off when you’re not using it.Guernsey therefore feels that Sark’s status is good news for the Bailiwick financially, as money saved through decreased levels of pollution could potentially be put back into the community itself. Sark’s Dark-Sky status has put the island on the map and encourages tourism to our lovely islands.