Manx astronomer becomes island's dark skies advocate

  • In Science
  • 2022-10-03 16:44:50Z
  • By BBC
Photo of Howard Parkin
Photo of Howard Parkin  

A Manx astronomer has been appointed the island's advocate for the International Dark-Sky Association.

Howard Parkin hopes to get the government involved in a conversation about "appropriate lighting".

"We don't need street lights lighting up the dark all the time" he said.

But he said light pollution was about more than just astronomy, as switching off unnecessary lighting can save money and protect wildlife.

Set up in 2001, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) encourages communities to protect dark skies through policy and education.

Mr Parkin said he doesn't have a problem with appropriate lighting that faces down illuminating an object, but said upward-facing lights caused pollution and were "a waste of time, a waste of money".

"Considerable savings can be made which will benefit not just astronomers, but humanity, wildlife, and the natural environment," he said.

He explained that while not a major issue on the Isle of Man, light pollution is increasing worldwide at a vast rate with eight out of ten people living under a light-polluted night sky.

Mr Parkin is hosting series of talks on what can be done on the Island and further afield and hopes to set up a Manx chapter of the IDA.

The Isle of Man has 26 so-called Dark Sky Discovery Sites including Cregneash and Smeale but Mr Parkin would like the island to be recognised as an IDA Dark Sky island.

Sark in the Channel Islands and Coll in the Inner Hebrides are the only other islands in the world with the status.

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