Be a part of Star Count 2022: it’s almost with us!
For two weeks in February and March 2022, we’re again asking for your help in looking up at the heavens. Can you help us by counting stars to measure our dark skies? We think that dark and starry skies are a special part of our countryside. Nothing beats looking upwards to see velvety blackness, with twinkling constellations as far as the eye can see. Our buildings and roads emit light, though, and this can affect our view of truly dark skies. We want to make sure that we can all enjoy starlit nights and we need your help in measuring what effect light is having on our views of the galaxy. What is Star Count? The best way to see how many stars we can all see in the sky is… to count them! So we’re asking people from all across the country to become ‘citizen scientists’ and look heavenwards for one night. Join in by choosing a clear night between Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, March 6, and becoming a stargazer. Pop the dates in your diary now! With brilliant support from the British Astronomical Association, we’re asking you to look up at the constellation Orion and let us know how many stars you can count. Don’t worry: we’ll give plenty of support on how to do this. Once you’ve done your star-spotting, we’ll share a form with you where you can quickly and easily send us your count – and then we get busy with our number-crunching. Your results from Star Count will help us make a map of where star-spotters are enjoying deep, dark skies. By showing on a map where light pollution is most serious, we can work with local councils and others to decide what to do about it. Better still, Star Count is also a great way to switch off from the distractions of daily life and reconnect with nature. Look up at the cosmos and… breathe. How to take part in Star Count Here are a few top tips for a brilliant Star Count evening:
- 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.
- Looking south into the night sky, find the Orion constellation, with its four corners and ‘three-star belt’.
- Let your eyes adjust to the darkness for as long as possible (we recommend at least 20 minutes), then count the stars that you can see within the four corners of Orion (check out the picture above, which shows you how).
- Make a note of the number of stars seen with the naked eye and submit your count on our website when the results page opens that week.
- Share your experiences (and any photos) with others on social media using #StarCount
- And don’t forget to check back to see the national results and how your area compares to the rest of the country!