CPRE’s Star Count 26 February-6 March 2022

Star Count 2022 - orion

3rd February 2022

Dark starry skies are a beautiful sight, and a distinctive feature of the countryside. But too often, light pollution means that many of us can’t see the stars.

To celebrate our starry skies and to help to protect and improve our view of the stars, CPRE, the countryside charity is inviting the nation to be ‘citizen scientists’ and take part in Star Count 2022 a cosmic census that will help map our view of the stars and the impact of light pollution across the country.

Light pollution impacts our experience of the natural wonder of the night sky, blurs the distinction between town and countryside, and disrupts wildlife. CPRE’s Night Blight maps show that just 22% of England has pristine night skies, free of light pollution, and in our 2021 count, 51% of participants counted 10 stars or fewer in the constellation of Orion, indicating severe light pollution.

Dark skies are also important for the health and wellbeing of people and animals. Too much artificial light can impact our sleep, disrupt nature’s natural cycles and confuse wildlife.

Take part in Star Count to map the nation’s view of the sky.

Stargazers will be asked to count the number of stars they can see, with the naked eye, within the constellation of Orion, and submit their count on our website at www.cpre.org.uk/starcount

You don’t need a telescope or any equipment to take part.

The number of stars visible within the constellation of Orion is a good indicator of the amount of light pollution affecting views of the night sky, and can be compared with previous years’ data to show how our ability to see the stars is changing. We’ll also use the data to produce an interactive map of the nation’s view of the stars.

Star Count will take place during the darkest skies from 26 February – 6 March, inclusive.

Star Count is taking place with support from the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies.