One man’s dark ambition

ALDERNEY is bidding for a place on the astronomers’ map.

Ken Hampton

ALDERNEY is bidding for a place on the astronomers’ map.

Ken Hampton, director of the Sustainable Alderney Association, has spent a year collating evidence to have the island designated an International Dark Skies Reserve.

He has sent photos of the darkest points of the island’s night sky to the International Dark Skies Association in Phoenix, Arizona.

The island core ‘dark skies area’ would be on the Giffoine, because of its remoteness from any street lights. It’s also States land and, as green belt, is protected from development.

The only artificial light by which it is affected is one at the airport. That, he said, could be turned downwards.

‘We have at least as good dark skies as Sark and we’re not light polluted from either Jersey or Guernsey, which Sark kind of is,’ said Mr Hampton. ‘We’ve just got some slight advantages over them here. And it’s States land and green belt so it will never be developed, meaning it is ideal for something like this.’

When a new area is given Dark Skies status it goes on astronomy websites all over the world.

Mr Hampton, pictured, added: ‘The immediate benefit will be increased tourism because all of the websites around the world that are astronomy-related.

‘All of a sudden Alderney would get listed as a dark sky reserve, so that will bring astronomers here. The longer term will be more educational opportunities for young people. They will actually learn some things about science and that’s an awful lot of what sustainable Alderney is all about, trying to bring some of those kinds of long-term benefits.’

Mr Hampton decided to go it alone in applying for the designation independently of the States.

He said: ‘Two years ago, Sark was given Dark Skies status and that was all over the news. Immediately I thought, why not Alderney? Why don’t we just do it?

‘I got looking around and nobody was even looking into it, so about a year ago I thought heck, I’ll do it myself. So I did a bunch of

research and was making contacts and it finally culminated in putting in an application – and so here we are.’

He hopes to have a reply in a couple of months and anticipates a visit from a Dark Skies official from the UK or the Continent.

Comments for: "One man’s dark ambition"

Ed

It's pleasing to see that within a region as parochial as the Channel Islands somebody displays interest for the universe around them. When studying the manner in which the ancients examined the night sky and the theories that they derived from such study ( a Greek astronomer professed that the Earth revolved around the Sun over a thousand years before Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo produced their theories),astronomy appears to be the one science that has been extensively understood for millennia.

Stiletto

I suggest that Ed, who is unable to conceive that most of us live outside the box, and Ken, who does, be beamed up immediatly - cue Scottie.

Stiletto

Apols for typo.

Sark Watcher

Ken Hampton's sustainable eco-cred requires that he uses a lower energy computer monitor. I thought those power-hungry CRT devices were all but extinct.

Strike a light

Quote "We have at least as good dark skies as Sark and we’re not light polluted from either Jersey or Guernsey, which Sark kind of is,"

True but we have Cap de la Hague neuclear reprocessing plant and its massive glow in our easten night sky instead.

Well done for getting your face in the papers Ken but I doubt if this idea's much of a vote winner.

Ray

Wait till the Fort Tourgis luxury Hotel and conference centre is completed with its blazing welcoming lights

Dani

I can't tell if your being tongue in cheek!

The firm originally directly involved has gone bust... but apparently the group are still going to do it... but it's Fort Tourgis and nothing ever happens...

Rees Bryant

Well done Ken. Nice to see someone doing something positive for a change. Grow your own is another idea that should be supported.

As for the Tourgis comments above - dark as can be. No cash, no build, no visitors. As most of us suspected years ago.

Dani

People are nominating themselves to stand for the States in Alderney.

Have you considered it? You seem quite passionate.

strike a light

Rees ? Stand for election? No, not his style. He'd rather bitch from the sidelines and be incredibly wise AFTER the fact. At least his son Chris Bryant has the cojones to actually practice the poliics he preaches and get himself elected to Westminster.

Dai Thomas

Hear, hear Dani, you have always been passionate about everything to do with The Island Rees so get your nomination in as I for one would give you my vote if I were still there.

Stiletto

I thought we would see Webber's name on the list of Alderney candidates, at one time he was over there like a rat up a drainpipe.

Rees Bryant

Strike a light. Why hide behind an alias?

And there are 2 very simple reasons why I

have not taken up the various offers to stand.

In a few months time I will be 80, and I am not in the best of health - hypertension.

And 1 politician in the family is enough.

I have offered to help in other ways, such as running RPI. But such help is refused. Like a year ago I offered to help turn the SWOT into a plan within 8 weeks - something I have done many times before. Offer refused and we still don't have a plan. Although we are now paying Consultants to do so.

Dani

Why would they refuse your help on RPI or to get the SWOT into a plan? RPI information would be very useful.

We had Roy Burke over here earlier this year talking about designing a strategy and a plan for Alderney and getting it going - surely some input would be useful. Bigging up such things that are non starters results in a loss of credibility which I do not like to see. He made it sound like he was the one leading it... not paying someone else to do it.

Rees Bryant

Dani,

If you contact me on rees.bryant@cwgsy.net I will give you all the details. The outline facts are :

1. SWOT published Sept 2011.

2. No plan has resulted to date

3. Another firm of consultants has been

engaged to help provide the plan.

4 No reason was given for refusing my offer

in October 2011.