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UK star count shows drop in light pollution

Lockdown has led to a significant drop in light pollution in the UK and inspired more people to look to the skies. That’s according to organisers of Star Count, a citizen science project that asks people to count the number of stars they see in the Orion constellation. 

CPRE, the countryside charity behind the count, said three times more people took part in this February’s tally than in 2020. Of those, 51 per cent noted 10 or fewer stars, indicating severe light pollution during the two-week count; in the same period last year, before the first lockdown, 61 per cent registered 10 or fewer stars.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, attributed the apparent drop in light pollution to changing habits during lockdown. “Let’s hope we can hold on to some of this as we ‘unlock’,” he said, adding: “Light pollution is one of the easiest kinds of pollution to reverse – by ensuring well designed lighting is used only where and when needed.”

Read more about the movement to protect our night skies here.

Image: Ryan Hutton

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