By Leah Conway – KLTV Contributor
The Countryside Charity (CPRE) are getting the nation ready for this year’s star count in a lockdown friendly way.
What is the Star Count?
The Star Count is CPRE’s way of measuring light pollution in different areas. Each year, they ask the nation to count stars in their area to help them.
Light pollution from our buildings to streetlights emit enough to affect the night skies. Measuring how many stars people can count measures the impact of light pollution and can measure the effect light is having on our views.
How to join the Star Count?
To help CPRE out you can help out from home. CPRE is asking people across the country to become ‘citizen scientists’ and look up to the night skies from home for one night.
To join, you can choose a clear night between 6-24 of February 2021. CPRE then ask you to look up at the constellation of Orion and let them know how many stars you can spot from home. You can look from your garden, balcony, doorstep and even through your windows to count the stars.
Once you’ve signed up for this year’s star count, CPRE will provide you with a form to film out and put how many stars you’ve counted.
How will my star count help?
By helping CPRE out, they will be able to make a map of where star-spotters can enjoy dark, stargazing, prime spots. They can show on the map where the light pollution is most serious. From that, they can work with local councils and others to take action.
They created an interactive map and you can see the results from 2020’s big count on their website.
CPRE’s Star Count guide and tips:
CPRE’s advice for the best chance at counting stars includes:
- Keeping note of the dates 6-4 February 2021 and keep an eye out on the weather forecasts as the week approaches
- Try to pick a clear night and wait until after 7 pm so the sky is dark enough.
- Turn off all the lights in your house will make it easier to see the stars
- Look south into the night sky and find the Orion constellation – you will be able to spot it by its four corners and the distinct ‘Orion’s belt’
- Take a few moments to let your eyes adjust, then count the three starts in the middle – the belt
- Make a note of the number of stars you can see with the naked eye and submit your count on CPRE’s website
- You can share your experiences and photos with them and others taking part on social media using #starcount
- Star Count results from across the country will be available to see on their website
You can sign up for the star count of 2021 and find more information on CPRE’s website