Star-gazing on our Dark Sky Island
The World’s First ‘Dark Sky Island’
Star watching on Sark is special. The night sky is exceptionally clear and free from light pollution. In 2011, resulting from the efforts of Sark Astronomical Society, the community was recognised by the International Dark Sky Association as the world’s first dark sky island.
Before coming to Sark, many people living among street lights and highways have never seen the Milky Way or have experienced the wonder of true darkness with millions of stars overhead. You do not need a telescope to see scores of the constellations, the planets or the craters on the moon. Just let your eyes get used to the darkness. Better still, use any binoculars. If you want to see further….
Sark’s Observatory, built by Sastros in 2015 and equipped with a permanently mounted 10-inch Meade telescope, is located in the dark centre of the island. On clear nights it is operated by enthusiastic members who are happy to welcome visitors whatever your previous experience or lack of it. If you would like to do some starwatching, get in touch with Reg Guille who will arrange an observatory guide:
Reg Guille 07781 132156
Contact us when there is a reasonable chance of a clear evening.
Meeting-up at the observatory will usually be about an hour after sunset, so this will depend on the season; in mid-summer it will be quite late (e.g., around 22.30).
Bookings are on a first-come basis and numbers are normally limited to about 8. Children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult.
After you have registered your interest for a particular night, the host may ask you to call again close to the meet-up time to confirm good conditions.
Make sure you locate the observatory during daylight! The sign at the corner of St Peter’s graveyard points you westwards. Keep to the right, beware of ruts and puddles. It’s about 300 metres to the observatory in the northwest corner of the second field.
Wear sensible shoes and warm clothes. You will need a small flashlight.
Binoculars, telescopes and star-finding apps will be welcome.
Donations can be made in the donation box at the site.
The recommended amount is £5 per person.
You can find out more from the Society’s website www.sastrossark.gg
The following images are courtesy of professional angler Christopher Kennedy-Barnard who has caught some great images of the night sky whilst going out fishing.