Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere played host last month to the first ever Dark Sky Conference to be held in Europe.  The three day event in Gatehouse of Fleet, brought together some of the world's top dark sky experts with the aim of promoting rural development, tourism and tackling light pollution issues.

Over eighty people including astronomers, town planners, lighting specialists, environmentalists and academics discussed the benefits that dark sky status can bring.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham gave the keynote speech, "Scotland's natural environment, including its dark sky places, is one of its unique selling points and one that we should never take for granted," she said.  "Dark sky places have an important part to play in raising awareness of light pollution and its effects on people and the environment. "However, we can share best practice and use more efficient technologies to reduce energy consumption and overall light pollution."  She said dark sky places could improve the environment and provide a "big attraction" for stargazers from all over the world, helping to boost the economy. "It's a win win situation," she said.
The event was a great success and it is hoped that as well as continuing the networking, other Dark Sky areas will be encouraged to host events themselves in future.