A local astronomer has been appointed as a ‘dark skies advocate’ for the Isle of Man to support dark sky conservation efforts.

Howard Parkin was given the role by the International Dark Skies Association (IDA), which is a ‘place to find support, inspiration and camaraderie in efforts to protect the night’.

The IDA supports a community platform to enable connections and leverage the collective wisdom of dark sky advocates.

It holds regular meetings to educate and train on different topics relating to light pollution and dark sky and maintains a library of resources and tools to support dark sky conservation efforts.

Mr Parkin said: ‘I am delighted to have been appointed as an International Dark Skies Association advocate and I am looking forward to working with the IDA and other advocates to encourage the installation and development of environmentally friendly lighting for lights that minimise glare, reduce light trespass, and lessen the obstruction of the night sky.

‘At this particular time with a huge focus on energy costs and usage it is hoped that by making people aware of the amount of unnecessary lighting that abounds throughout the world, that considerable savings can be made which will also benefit not just astronomers, but humanity, wildlife, and the natural environment.’

He explained that light pollution is increasing worldwide at twice the rate of global population growth.

‘Eight out of 10 people live under a light-polluted night sky, at least three billion dollars is wasted on outdoor lighting each year in the United States, and virtually every species studied has been impacted by light pollution,’ Mr Parkin said.

Through its programmes and advocacy efforts, IDA has brought awareness of the issue of light pollution to the general public since 1988.

The award-winning International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) programme was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education.

Since then, IDA has certified more than 170 places around the world, encompassing nearly 115,000 square kilometres of protected dark lands and skies.

Mr Parkin added: ‘I am hoping to interest other like minded organisations and individuals on the island and hopefully set up an island based IDA Chapter for the Isle of Man.

‘I will be delivering a series of talks on the subject throughout the Isle of Man in the next few months to explain just what the problem is and what we can do on the island and further afield.’