The Isle of Man has now become the best place to stargaze in the British Isles as the Dark Sky Discovery Network has announced that the Island now has a total of twenty six designated “Dark Sky Discovery Sites”*.(*Awarded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council)
The Isle of Man now has the largest concentration of Dark Skies sites in the British Isles, lying in some of the Island’s best beauty and heritage sites such as Cregneash historical village, Rushen Abbey and Peel Castle.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Political Member with responsibility for Tourism said:
‘To have one site given Dark Sky Discovery status is an honour, but to have 26 in total is quite unbelievable. We really hope that this accolade inspires people to visit us and experience our incredible surroundings, which of course include the night sky and we are working with partners around the Island to offer a selection of dark sky events throughout 2014.’
The announcement yesterday (6 January) by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council has been picked up by UK media today (7 January) with several images by local photographer Ron Strathdee being published in national newspapers such as The Times, The Independent, The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Skelly continued:
‘I would also like to thank Ron Strathdee for the fantastic images. They have really helped us to promote our Dark Skies status and will no doubt help raise awareness of the Isle of Man to a wider audience.’
Howard Parkin FRAS, who runs his own astronomy consultancy company AstroManx and is chairman of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society, started the bid for Dark Sky Discovery status on the Isle of Man two years ago.
Howard Parkin said:
'It’s great news that the Isle of Man now has so many Dark Sky Discovery Sites because they are so rare around the rest of Britain. With light levels so low, the night sky on the Isle of Man really will amaze anyone who takes the time to look up, from the novice to the seasoned professional.'
Light pollution means that more than 85 per cent of the British population has never seen a truly dark sky, but with a low population density and few built-up areas, the Isle of Man provides the perfect spot for stargazing.