Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve gives local people the chance to become Dark Sky Rangers

Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park Photograph Mila Zinkova

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve has just launched a pioneering astronomy project, which will train four nonscientists to reveal the mysteries of the night sky. Successful applicants will hold the post of Dark Sky Ranger.

The UNESCO designation holds the UK’s first Dark Sky Park a piece of public land where light pollution is so infrequent, visitors are afforded exceptional views of the night sky. Covering 5268 square kilometres and including 45,000 dwellings, the Biosphere provides an unpunctuated skyline across much of its expanse: the ideal conditions for stargazing.

The key criterion for applicants is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Their chief role will be disseminating their knowledge to others at events across the year. Training will also be given in reading constellations, the solar systems and basic astronomy. Recruits will then be able to run solar and celestial interpretation workshops on the site.

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve accreditation acknowledges the scientific, scenic, cultural and educational value of the area, and commits designations to the three goals of conservation, sustainable development and learning and research.