Public urged to go outside and count stars to tackle light pollution
Public urged to undertake star-counting ‘census’ of Orion as it’s revealed just 22 per cent of England is untouched by light pollution
- Campaign to Protect Rural England want people to conduct night sky inventory
- Animals use darkness for camouflage so light pollution makes them vulnerable
- Disrupts human sleep patterns and also interferes with signalling to the brain
More than three-quarters of UK skies are affected by light pollution.
To prove it, the Campaign to Protect Rural England are urging people to go outside and conduct their own ‘cosmic census’ by counting stars with the naked eye.
This, it says, will highlight the scale of the problem and help experts to counter the worst ares – many of which are located over our national parks.
Often overlooked, it can have negative effects on nature by disrupting wildlife behaviour and ecosystems.
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Take part: Star Count 2019 will take part between Saturday 2 and Saturday 23 February 2019. The Campaign to Protect Rural England are urging people to go outside and conduct their own ‘cosmic census’ by counting stars with the naked eye
Some creatures use the darkness for camouflage so the light pollution makes them more vulnerable to predators.
Migratory birds’ transcontinental navigation systems get confused by the light concentrations of cities, and baby turtles hatching on Queensland’s beaches scuttle towards the artificial light of coastal development instead of the celestial reflections upon the ocean. Plants also rely on regular intervals of light and dark.
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Meanwhile, for us humans, light pollution could be disrupting our sleep patterns – it interferes with subconscious signalling to the brain, keeping us awake and alert.
Of our planet’s 7.6 billion people, one third of us can no longer see the Milky Way when we look up at the night sky.
Bob Mizon, UK coordinator of the British Astronomical Association Commission for Dark Skies, said that mapping problem areas by doing an inventory of stars within the constellation of Orion is a way to prioritise how it’s tackled.
Star-gazing: Campaign to Protect Rural England are urging people to go outside and conduct their own ‘cosmic census’ by counting stars with the naked eye
Did you know? Light pollution can disrupt our sleep patterns by it interfering with subconscious signalling to the brain, keeping us awake and alert
‘Star counts are not only fun things to do in themselves but also help to form the national picture of the changing state of our night skies,’ he explains.
‘As lighting in the UK undergoes the sweeping change to LEDs, it is really important that we know whether or not they are helping to counter the light pollution that has veiled the starry skies for most Britons for the last few decades.’
Star Count 2019 will take part between Saturday 2 and Saturday 23 February 2019.
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