Star Count 2021

Nationwide Star Count to reveal lockdown’s impact on light pollution

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 7 February 2021

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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This week CPRE, the countryside charity, is asking people to count stars from their garden or window as part of its annual nationwide Star Count.

Working alongside the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, the charity will compare the data with results from 2020’s Star Count to see whether lockdown had an impact on light pollution. The findings will be used for vital lobbying efforts for darker skies.

Light pollution in England

By counting the number of stars they see in the Orion constellation between 06 and 14 February, citizen scientists will help map the best and worst places in England to enjoy a star-filled night sky.

The results will be compared with 2020’s findings, gathered before coronavirus restrictions took hold, which revealed that 61% of participants live with severe light pollution.

‘A starry night sky is one of the most magical sights the countryside can offer, connecting us to the nature we all love and the wonders of the wider universe.

‘Dark skies are also crucial for our health and for that of wildlife. Lockdown and the coronavirus have reminded us about how good for us the countryside can be. 

‘But many places suffer from light pollution, bleaching out the night sky. We want to change this.

‘By taking part in Star Count, people will be helping us to lobby the government for more protection of this too often overlooked, but vital, part of our countryside’. 

CRISPIN TRUMAN
Chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity

Pollution in lockdown

Many studies found changes in other types of pollution during lockdown compared with before, but until now, few have focused on the often overlooked – but hugely important – problem of light pollution. 

Light pollution means many people only experience a limited view of the night sky, and it also disrupts wildlife’s natural patterns. By showing where views are most affected by light pollution, CPRE can use this evidence in crucial lobbying efforts to protect and enhance the nation’s dark skies, improving our health, wellbeing, wildlife and the environment. 

‘Turning back the tide of light pollution brings darker night skies and improvements to the wellbeing of humans, wildlife and the environment.

‘In its three decades of working with the CPRE towards these goals, we have seen increased public and Parliamentary awareness of the importance of our view of the universe above.  

‘The CPRE Star Count is an important part of this work, especially in these abnormal times when we have a chance to see whether changes in our activities are having any positive effect on the atmosphere and our view of the night sky.’ 

BOB MIZON
UK coordinator, British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies

Click here to find out more and to take part in 2021’s Star Count.

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