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Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Thursday, 28 October 2010 16:14 UK
Alderney aims for dark sky status to promote astronomy
Large parts if not all of Alderney could be eligible for Dark-Sky status

Dark-Sky status was in the news in the Bailiwick in 2010 as Sark bid to become the world's first Dark-Sky Island.

This was due to its lack of light pollution being an ideal spot for astronomers, with this in mind Alderney started looking into joining them.

Astronomer, Michael Maunder said: "A large part of the island is suitable... the lighthouse is the main problem."

Michael has written two books with Sir Patrick Moore that focus on the issue of light pollution.

As well as the lack of light pollution on the two islands Michael also pointed a second factor which added to their ideal nature for astronomers.

Sir Patrick Moore
Michael has written books with Sir Patrick Moore on light pollution

He said: "The beauty of Sark and Alderney is that you have extremely clear skies where there's very little dust in the atmosphere."

This dust, he said, can obscure many of the "fuzzy objects" that interest astronomers as much, if not more, than the stars themselves.

Michael explained: "When I'm back in England it's very difficult to see M31, the Andromeda Nebula, where as in Alderney I can stand underneath a street light and because there's no dust in the atmosphere it is still visible."

Michael's interest in astronomy began when he was a boy during the Second World War and lived in the time of blackouts so he said: "I know what a real dark sky is like."

He added that one of his reasons for moving to Alderney was the combination of the clear dark skies and transport links which he suggested could make the island a prime spot for tourists interested in astronomy and that it would be easy to market the island to this group.

Looking to the night sky in Sark
19 Oct 10 |  Nature & Outdoors

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