Sark, an island located 80 miles south, off the coast of England is the world’s first “dark sky island.” The island is known for its old-fashioned feel, as the population remains at around 600 patrons throughout the entire island. The perfect location to fall back in time, as unmistakable modern staples like street lights are nowhere to be found along the island.
In 2011, the island earned the title of the darkest spot on planet earth by the International Dark Sky Association. It is the stark lack of electricity that embellishes the island with such charm and presents with it the title of the best spot on earth to go star gazing, uninterrupted by any light pollution.
Even cars have been banned from this tiny paradise, as an attempt to keep the island at the top of the sought-after locations for astronomers. In fact, the only available method of transportation on the island is bicycle rental, to view the sights of the island. For those who are unable or unwilling to take part in the biking, there is a tractor-bus which transports people from the ferry to popular spots among the island.
Many of the locals who live on the island are farmers, as the relatively low light-pollution and clean environment make the island a place for an ecosystem to thrive. This tiny piece of paradise is relatively unknown and offers an escape from the fast-paced city lifestyle. The shorter days and mild weather render it the perfect place to explore during a European vacation.
Although the island is small, there has now been a Sark Astronomy Society established for scientists from around the globe to gather and study the night sky from a clear point of view. On a particularly cloudless night, the Milky Way is clearly visible from any spot on the island, rendering the whole island an observatory. For those who truly enjoy taking in all the island has to offer, “Starfests” are held twice-yearly to mark the beginning and end of winter. These events consist of astronomers joining together to discuss all that the dark-sky has to offer. The clarity of the night provides insight and debate on whether or not intelligent life exists somewhere else in the universe. The term “starry-eyed” takes on a whole new meaning for those who step foot on this magical island and simply take the time to look up.