Come Stargazing in February to see how dark Cumbrian skies are
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 00:00

Following bad weather in January, Friends of the Lake District is hoping for clear skies between 20 and 26 February for another Star Count Week.


With CPRE and the Campaign for Dark Skies, we are asking people across the United Kingdom to take part in our star count week. By taking part in our star count you will be helping us to highlight the problem of light pollution which is spoiling our view of the beautiful night sky.

Choose a clear night and after 7pm, simply stand outside and see how many stars you can count in the constellation of Orion. Use the naked eye, not telescopes. There is a simple form to fill in see below.

While Cumbria has darker skies than many other places, light pollution is reducing how many stars we can see, especially from towns and villages. Between 1993 and 2000 light pollution increased in the North West by 35% and in Cumbria it increased forty fold.

We would like as many people as possible around the country to join in with the Star Count, but especially in Cumbria to help work out what the situation is here. This is part of our See the Stars campaign to reduce light pollution so that people can enjoy the wonders of the night sky whilst still having efficient and useful lighting. Wasting energy on inefficient lighting adds to CO2 emissions and costs money.

Do your own Star Count Monday 20th - Sunday 26th February

How to do your star count You can choose any night during the week, one where there is no haze so you have the best chance of seeing stars. It will get dark from 7pm.

We are asking people to count stars within the constellation of Orion. The main area of the constellation is bounded by four bright stars - see the photo above. Your star count should not include these four corner stars - only those within this rectangular boundary - but do include the stars in the middle known as Orion's three-star belt.

Make a count of the number of stars you can see with the naked eye (not with telescopes). Complete our survey form so we can plot the results on our star count map which we will publish on our website.

Submit your star count results online here

Friends of the Lake District also have copies of our recent Guide to Stargazing to give away, which you can download here.

Happy starcounting!


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