Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sark is the Night

By Jeremy Berlin, executive summary by darmansjah

They say on a clear day you can see forever. What about a clear night?  If you’re on the isle of Sark, meteors, constellations, and a horizon-spanning Milky Way are on view. The tiny, rustic Channel Island-2.1 square miles, 600-some residents, no cars or public lighting-has long been a haven for naked-eye astronomy. This year it became the first island in the world deemed a Dark Sky Place by the International Dark Sky Association, a U.S. based nonprofit promoting solutions to light pollution.

Sark joins about a dozen places worldwide recognized by the group for their commitment to night-sky clarity. Steve Owens, the astronomer who led Sark’s application process, says the designation came after a six-month “light audit” led to the retrofitting of 30 fixtures causing an orange glow. For midwinter stargazers, that means 12 hours of darkest night await.

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