Urged people to count the stars to see if the lockdown has reduced light pollution Astronomy

People are being urged to take part in the nationwide star count to see if the lockdown is having an impact on light pollution.

Organizers said that by counting the stars within the constellation of Orion, they would help “citizen scientists” identify the best and worst places in England to enjoy the starry night sky.

The information will be used in efforts to secure dark skies, which improve health and well-being, protect wildlife and allow people to enjoy a clear view of the stars, according to CPRE, a rural charity, and the British Astronomical Society’s Dark Skies Committee.

This year’s annual survey data will be compared with the results of 2020 to see the impact of the lockdown, if any.

The number of stars last year, which occurred before the restrictions of the Corona virus, revealed that 61% of participants lived in severe light pollution.

To participate, people just need to search from their garden, balcony, doorstep, or even their bedroom during a clear night between February 6 and 14, and count the number of stars within the constellation Orion that they can discover.

CPRE CEO Crispin Truman said: “The starry night sky is one of the most magical scenes the countryside can offer, connecting us with the nature we all love and the wonders of the wider universe.

“Dark skies are also important to our health and the health of wildlife. The lockdown and the coronavirus have reminded us of how good the countryside is for us.”

He said many places had suffered from light pollution, “the bleaching of the night sky,” but he said his campaign group aims to change that.

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He said, “By participating in the star count, people will help us press the government for more protection for this often overlooked, but vital, part of our countryside.”

“Reversing light pollution results in a darker night sky and improvements in the well-being of people, wildlife and the environment,” added Bob Maison, Coordinator of the British Society for Astronomical’s Dark Skies Committee.

“The number of CPRE stars is an important part of this work, especially in these abnormal times when we have the opportunity to see if changes in our activities have any positive impact on the atmosphere and our view of the night sky.”

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