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Dark skies

Abigail Oliver

Starry skies are one of the most magical sights the countryside can offer. Light pollution not only limits our views of these skies, but also disrupts wildlife’s natural patterns. We want to reclaim our dark skies. Take part in our 2022 Star Count and help us to find out about light pollution across Cheshire.

CPRE believes that darkness at night is one of the key characteristics of rural areas and it represents a major difference between what is rural and what is urban.

Light doesn’t respect boundaries; it can spread for miles from the source and blurs the distinction between town and country. Light spilling up into the night sky is also a waste of energy and money, and can account for between 15-30% of a council’s carbon emissions.

This month, we’re joining the nation to count the stars

To celebrate the wonder of starry skies, take part in CPRE, the countryside charity’s Star Count, a cosmic census to map our view of the stars. It’s taking place between 26th February and 6th March.

Taken part already? Submit your results here

How to take part

A star-filled sky is one of the most magical sights you can see in our countryside, and the stars have inspired art and culture for thousands of years. But too often, light pollution means that many of us can’t see the stars, especially if we live near a big town or city. Just 2% of people in England experience ‘truly dark skies’.

Light from buildings, roads and other sources can also affect wildlife, disrupt natural cycles and confuse insects and animals.

That’s why we’re counting the stars. Join in by choosing a clear night between 26th February and 6th March, and counting the number of stars you can see within the constellation of Orion. It’s easy to do, and you don’t need a telescope or any equipment.

Your results will help us create an interactive map of the nation’s view of the night sky, and where light pollution is at its worst, so local councils can take action. It’s a family-friendly activity that’s quick and easy to do, and can help more of us experience the beauty of a starry sky.

Take part:

Light pollution in our area

There are huge variations in the amount of light pollution in Cheshire, but historically much of our area has been blighted by light pollution. This year’s star count will enable us to build a picture of whether the situation is improving or getting worse.

See CPRE’s dedicated website, Night Blight, for the findings of previous star counts.