Isle of Man News - POSTED Tue 07-01-2014

We're best for stargazing

by Joanne Clague

We're best for stargazing - picture

The Isle of Man has been put on the celestial map, boasting the most Dark Sky sites in the British Isles.

The island now has a total of 26 designated sites, which are awarded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. Chairman of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society, Howard Parkin started the bid for Dark Sky status two years ago.

He said: 'It's great news that the Isle of Man now has so many 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 most of the British Isles cannot enjoy a truly dark sky. With a low population density and few built-up areas, the Isle of Man provides the perfect spot for stargazing.

Weather permitting, there will be stargazing in Onchan Park over the next three nights, starting at 7pm. All are welcome. The event, organised by the Astronomical Society, coincides with the BBC's Stargazing Live shows.

MHK for tourism Laurence Skelly said: 'To have one site given Dark Sky Discovery status is an honour but to have 26 in total is quite unbelieveable. We really hope this accolade inspires people to visit us and experience our incredible surroundings.'

Here's the full list of Dark Sky status sites:
Port Soderick Brooghs, Axnfell Plantation, Smeale Nature Reserve, Niarbyl, The Sound, Fort Island, Sulby Reservoir Car Park, Ballaugh Beach, Mooragh Promenade, Ballure Reservoir, Port Lewaigue Car Park, Glen Wyllin, Glen Mooar Beach, West Baldwin Reservoir, Peel Castle, Tynwald Mills Car Park, Clypse Kerrowdhoo, Ballanette Nature Reserve, Conrhenny Car Park, Mt Murray, Port Soderick Car Park, Port Soderick Brooghs, Rushen Abbey, Poulsom Park, the Sloc, Cregneash.

Photo of Langness by Ron Strathdee

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