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What Is A Dark Sky?

What Is A Dark Sky?

What Is A Dark Sky?

A dark sky is a location, usually very rural, where there is zero light pollution, and the night sky can be observed with such clarity that a myriad of stars and galaxies are clearly visible. Dark sky sites, such as the Dark Sky Theatre on the Isle of Gigha, are proving increasingly popular destinations for amateur astronomists around the world.

In our built up world such places can be hard to find as light pollution is generated by so many human activities such as airports, factories, road and street lighting. The glow of light from big cities can be seen for miles around and is known as sky glow pollution.

The Isle of Gigha is a rather perfect get away venue for amateur astronomers or anyone interested in an evening of star gazing, it’s completely unspoilt & stunningly beautiful, with a variety of self catering options, a hotel & a well stocked shop. But most importantly, it has very little light pollution. It’s also quite possibly the friendliest place I’ve visited; everyone waves & says hello.

The Dark Skies Theatre on the Isle of Gigha is situated at the end of the lonely road leading to the north of the island and can be reached after a short drive from the ferry, or on foot walking the only rural road heading to the top of the island. You can’t get lost if you don’t stray off the path. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of a rugged coastline and pale white sandy beaches. Wrap up; you’ll be pleased to have warm wind & waterproof clothing and something warming to drink as the weather can be robust.

The Theatre is in its early stages, being marked by the newly built information plinth and benches running around the edge of the flat grassed area. The group of enthusiastic amateur astronomers behind the Isle of Gigha Dark Skies Theatre project have exciting plans for their project, the first of which is a Dark Skies Festival taking place on November 18th & 19th 2022.

From the Dark Skies observation point on the Isle of Gigha, you’ll be able to see as many as 2000 stars on a clear night. Remember to choose a night when the moon is at its smallest as the light from the moon will add its own challenges to star gazing. And at certain times of the year, if you’re lucky, you may see the spectacular Northern Lights phenomenon.

On the Isle of Gigha, the best months of the year for star gazing are from mid-August through to early May. But star gazing is wonderful at any time of the year on this beautiful little island.

To observe the night sky, use a pair of binoculars with a 10 x 50 magnification on a moonless night when the sky is cloudless. You should be able to see galaxies, star clusters and maybe even a planet or two.

To identify what you are seeing you could download a stargazer app to your phone, which will help you locate what you are looking at in the night sky. But if you are heading to the Isle of Gigha’s Dark Sky Theatre to get away from the internet and your phone, consider taking one of our Rob Walrecht Planispheres with you. 

If you’d like further information about the Dark Sky Theatre on Gigha, email them:

If you would like to find out more about the community owned Isle of Gigha, check out their website 

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