20th November 2015

Sark featured in the music charts

When Irish singer songwriter Enya released her eighth studio album on 20 November 2015, she chose a title with links to the Channel Islands. Dark Sky Island was named in honour of Sark, which had been designated precisely that – a dark sky island ideal for star-gazing – a few years earlier.

The title track was the first she wrote for the album. It is filled with references to waves, boats, twilight and the moon.

Dark Sky Island

Sark was designated a dark-sky preserve on 31 January 2011. It was the first island to be added to the international list of dark sky locations, and only the second location in the UK. It joined Scotland’s Galloway Forest Park, which was similarly designated in 2009.

Exmoor National Park was added later that year, and the Isle of Coll, Northumberland National Park and the Brecon Beacons in 2013.

Certification is overseen by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Anywhere designated a Dark Sky Community is dark enough at night to allow star-gazing with the naked eye.

Sark Observatory

Sark didn’t just achieve its status and stop there: it built on it by raising funds for an observatory. This officially opened in October 2015 – just one month before Enya released her album.

Housed in a wooden building with a peaked roof, it doesn’t look like a traditional domed observatory. However, the facility does contain several telescopes and star charts to aid navigation and identification. The roof also slides completely away along a pair of wooden rails to give an unobstructed view of the night sky.

The Sark Astronomy Society had the pre-fabricated building shipped from Norfolk and constructed close to the centre of the island by three volunteers. It was officially opened by Dr Marek Kukula, the public astronomer from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.


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Other events that occured in November

Car plane air crash caused airport fireball 1st
A hospital worker stood accused of murder 2nd
Sark’s vineyards were vandalised 3rd
The original Torteval church was consecrated 4th
Sibyl Beaumont married Robert Hathaway 5th
The papers were excited by a Guernsey execution 6th
The States agrees to pay the Bailiff 7th
States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while 8th
Guernsey was declared free of cholera 9th
Guernsey optician Specsavers was founded 10th
The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony 11th
Guernsey Yacht Club was founded 12th
Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights 13th
Jethou’s tenant fell off his own cliff 14th
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died 15th
A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up 16th
Horticultural painter William Caparne was born 17th
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 18th
A plane crashed on Crevichon 19th
Sark featured in the music charts 20th
Guernsey recruits caused concern in Parliament 21st
First Guernsey competitor took part in Miss World 22nd
A Lancaster bomber crashed on Sark 23rd
Sark women get the right to inherit 24th
Spanish flu arrived on Guernsey 25th
Guernsey held its first full marathon 26th
Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died 27th
HMS Boreas sank at Hanois 28th
Radio station Contact 94 went off the air 29th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled 30th