Dark Skies

Compton Bay Fields by Chad Powell

Dark skies are special areas where there are low levels of light pollution. When there is an absence of light pollution thousands of stars are revealed at night. This is beneficial to the wildlife and tranquillity of an area. The Isle of Wight has a high quality of night sky; this is especially apparent within Wight National Landscape.

Viewing Dark Skies is best done on a clear night when the sun has completely set and there is no moonlight. Even better is to find an area where there is very little artificial light. Some of the best locations are found on the South Western Coast of the Isle of Wight along the Military Road. However, there are places across the Island that can boast Dark Skies.

The Isle of Wight Council, in partnership with Isle of Wight National Landscape, Vectis Astronomical Society and the Isle of Wight CPRE, are working together towards getting official recognition for the darkest areas of the Isle of Wight to become and International Dark Skies Association (IDA) ‘Dark Skies Park’.

The Isle of Wight NL Partnership considers the Island’s dark skies to be an economic as well as a cultural and scientific asset, which makes a valuable contribution to tourism by attracting people to the Island as well as for the enjoyment of residents.

For more information please download the IOW AONB Dark Sky Guidance (opens in a new window)

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has been a stalwart champion for the protection and improvement of dark skies, and against the spread of unnecessary artificial light. Having last published a major mapping project on light pollution and dark skies in 2003 (based on data from 1993 and 2000), CPRE commissioned LUC to create new  maps of Great Britain’s light pollution and dark skies.  

The Light of Life – Military Road by Chad Powell

Using data captured by a satellite at 1.30 am throughout September 2015, the latest technology has been used to give an accurate picture of how much light is spilling up into the night sky and show where urgent action is needed. We also sought to find where the darkest skies are so that they can be protected and improved. For more information please visit: Dark skies – CPRE (opens in new window).