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01621 734111

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  • Milky Way above The Avenue
  • Big full moon
  • Horse and carriage

Dark Sky Status

The world’s first Dark Sky Island

You don’t have to be an astronomer to enjoy the beauty of the sky at night over Sark. Designated the world’s first dark sky island in 2011 by the International Dark Sky Association, Sark suffers from very little light pollution. On a clear night stargazers can enjoy uninterrupted views. A lack of street lights, no cars and a willingness by residents to change their lighting has contributed to Sark’s success. Especially visible in the winter, the milky way and fast moving meteors span the horizon making Sark a great visit at any time of the year.

There are just two Dark Sky Islands in the world, with Coll in the Inner Hebrides following in Sark’s footsteps in 2013. In order to gain the prestigious status, Sark’s 600 inhabitants sought advice as to correcting any visible home lighting on the island, often using downlighting where appropriate. Astronomy books and binoculars are an island must have and residents will often cover their torches with red cellophane when navigating the island by night. By the light of the full moon it is just about possible to find your way. Only a very small amount of light pollution is experienced on the horizon but this comes from neighbouring islands and the East coast of France.

The Sark Astronomy Society (SAstroS) was also formed at the time Dark Sky Status was granted. Formed by enthusiasts rather than astronomers, they see their role to be that of guiding astro-tourists and explaining the magic of the night sky. SAstroS also run ‘Starfest’ festivals several times throughout the year and recommend September and October to be a great time to arrive as the nights are still warm but the winter sky is gradually appearing in its fullest form.

Although no specialist equipment is needed to view the magical night sky of Sark, SAstroS have a powerful telescope which is housed in a small observatory. The observatory provides a warm shelter as well as a screen showing views from the telescope, perfect for whiling away a winter night of stargazing.

Experience Sark’s Dark Sky yourself

Stay at The Stocks Hotel in Sark. Call us 01621 734 111 to book or why not try, island hopping which we will also happily arrange.

horse and carriage
night sky in Sark
bikes in Spring