CPRE’s Star Count starts today – and we need your help

By CPRE Norfolk
26th February 2022

CPRE’s Star Count starts today (26 February) and runs until 6 March. We need your help in identifying our darkest skies to help map the best and worst places in the UK to enjoy a star-filled night sky.

Taking part is easy – all you have to do is look up at the sky and count how many stars you can see in the Orion constellation.

You don’t need a telescope or any equipment to take part, just a sense of adventure and a view of the sky.

Watch the video below for more details.

Don’t forget to report your results online here – www.cpre.org.uk/starcount

Your results will be used to discover if light pollution has increased since the end of lockdown – and where the best views of the stars can be found.

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, the evidence can be used to help protect and enhance the nation’s dark skies, improving our health, wellbeing, wildlife and the environment.

Emma Marrington, dark skies campaigner from CPRE, the countryside charity, says:

‘We need your help to find out if light pollution has increased over the past year and if more people are experiencing darker night skies. The results from Star Count will help us create a map of where star-spotters are enjoying deep, dark star-filled skies. By showing on a map where light pollution is most serious, we can work with local councils and others to decide what to do about it.

‘Star Count is a great way to switch off from the distractions of daily life and reconnect with nature – and by taking part as a citizen scientist, you can help us protect and improve everyone’s view of a clear, sparkling night sky.’

Bob Mizon, of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, says:

‘The night sky is a great antidote to the stresses of modern life; you go out, look up and suddenly everything is calm. The stars made every atom in our bodies; they are our chemical parents. They’re intimately connected to us and even in these light polluted days people have a real desire to see the stars.

‘Just as we have an affinity with trees and the rest of nature, we have a connection to the night sky. It is literally 50 per cent of our environment – from east to west – and it is the only part of our environment that has no protection in law. People are very rapidly coming to the conclusion that what we do to the environment has a direct impact on our wellbeing. The same as coral reefs dying off and rivers clogged with plastic bags – one more aspect of our impact on the environment is our pollution of the night sky and yet it is completely unprotected.’

Star Count 2022
A footpath alongside a hedgerow and farmland in the Norfolk countryside