STARGAZERS are being invited to take part in a star count to help map light pollution across the country.
A cosmic census within the constellation of Orion begins tonight and runs until February 16.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), with support from the British Astronomical Association, is asking the nation to spend a few minutes counting the stars that can be seen with the naked eye and to report their findings on CPRE’s website.
Sir Andrew Motion, CPRE president, said: “Reclaim darker skies! They are within our reach, and the growing awareness of thousands of people who value the night sky means we can halt the blight of light pollution.
"It may not seem the most serious environmental issue, but it has a range of significant impacts. It damages the character of the countryside, blurs the distinction between town and country, and denies people the experience of a dark, starry sky. Light pollution can disrupt wildlife and badly affect people’s sleeping patterns. Excessive light isn’t just an extravagance; it’s colossally wasteful.”
The 2013 Star Count results will help create a new map showing how light pollution is affecting views of the night sky. This information will be used to lobby Government to produce guidance for local authorities on how to tackle light pollution, and to encourage councils to introduce lighting policies and consider how street lighting can be improved. For more information visit cpre.org.uk.