-> 2008 -> Dark Skies on Islay

Tuesday, 18/Nov/2008

Dark Skies on Islay

Picture of a partial moon over a coastal landscape

Earlier today I spotted an interesting story on the For Argyll website: Inspired initiative from VisitScotland: dark-sky parks for astronomers. Now why could this be interesting for Islay?

In 2009 the International Year of Astronomy will celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of a telescope to study the night sky. What do you need to study the night sky? Ideally a dark sky without (or with as little as possible) light pollution. This is something Islay has in a lot of places, something which inspired me to an earlier entry here already: Darkness And Stars On Islay. Something I think Islay could potentially capitalise on:

A joint project between VisitScotland, Dark Sky Scotland and Dark Skies is aiming to establish a network of Dark Sky regions in the UK. As the national press reports:

Picture of a full moon over a calm bay, the light of the moon reflecting on the water

Now if you can see the Milky Way from the Isle of Mull I would think you can do the same from Islay. Admittedly clouds will often block the view, but then again it is even better when it clears up. I remember standing outside of Kilchoman Cottages late in the evening admiring the night sky three weeks ago, all the stars above the Kilchoman Crags. It was just amazing. Peaceful despite the wind howling around the house.

So as For Argyll suggests may be a joint campaign by parts of Argyll (in particular the islands and remote parts of the mainland) could be put together and promote the fantastic night skies to a wider public?

PS: One day I hope to figure out how to take pictures of the real night sky with my camera, not just pictures of the moon...

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