Last night we did the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) Star Count.
The Star Count helps to measure light pollution around the UK. We had to go outside on a clear night after 7pm when the stars would be out and wait for a few minutes to get our eyes accustomed to the dark. We had to find the constellation Orion and count how many stars we could see within the rectangle made by the stars at his feet and shoulders. You find Orion by looking for his belt, which is three stars in a row.
We counted 9 stars, which means we have severe light pollution where we live. 0-5 stars would mean very severe light pollution and more than 30 stars would mean truly dark skies. When we were doing our star count I thought the sky looked quite dark but not very dark.
The CPRE has made a map of last year’s results to see how much light pollution there is in different places around the UK. The map shows there’s a lot of light pollution in most places.
Light pollution is bad for wildlife because it confuses nocturnal animals like bats. It affects things like their sleeping and hunting. It can also confuse migrating birds.
The results of the Star Count will help the CPRE talk to local councils and persuade them to take action to make less light pollution.
You can help reduce light pollution and help nocturnal wildlife by turning outside lights off. We used to have an outside light that came on when something moved in front of it, or sometimes when it was just windy, but I told Mummy and Daddy to turn it off when I found out about the problems for bats and they did.
The Star Count runs until 14th February so you can do it too if you want to, but you must be quick!