"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."
Vincent van Gogh
Can you take part in a mass 'star-gaze' between 21st-28th February 2020?
With the aim of seeing where our skies are darkest and lightest - and to help prevent future light pollution which disrupts wildlife's natural patterns, The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)'s annual 'Star Count' is underway. Wherever you are in the UK, they are asking you to pick a cloudless night (between 21st and 28th February 2020) and to count the stars that you see within a rectangle formed by the four corner stars in the Orion constellation.
The CPRE have been campaigning for policies to reduce light pollution since the 1990s - and as a result, in 2012, a national planning policy to control lighting was introduced. Your participation in this mass star gaze is vitally important as your sightings will help them continue their vital work in pushing the government and local authorities to tackle light pollution and highlight 'dark sky' areas in need of protection.
6 TIPS FOR TAKING PART IN THE STAR COUNT
Here are some of CPRE's tips for getting the best views. Who knows, you may spot major constellations, bright nebulas and possibly meteor showers, too:-
1. Try to pick a clear night for your count, with no haze or clouds, then wait until after 7pm so the sky is really dark.
2. Looking south into the night sky, try to find the Orion constellation, with its four corners and 'three-star belt'.
3. Let your eyes adjust to the darkness - the longer you wait, the better - then count the number of stars you can see within the rectangle made by the four corner stars or Orion. Don't count the corners, but if you can see them, do count the three stars in the middle - called the 'belt'.
4. Make a note of the number of stars seen with the naked eye (not with telescopes or binoculars) and then submit your count results here.
5. Share your experiences (and any photos) with others on social media using #StarCount
6. And don't forget to check back to see the national results and how your area compares to the rest of the country.
For more information and to register contact them here.