The number of stars visible over the UK has increased annually this year, indicating a decline in light pollution upon closure.
CPRE, a rural charity, reported that 51% of those who participated in the civic science count last February scored 10 stars or less in the Orion constellation, indicating severe light pollution. During the same period in 2020, 61% of the counts registered 10 or fewer stars before the first lockdown.
More than 30 stars representing a really dark sky appeared to 5% of participants, the highest number since 2013.
Crispin Truman, CPRE’s CEO, was pleased to see the decline in severe light pollution in the UK. Since nighttime habits have changed, this is most likely an unintended positive result of closure. We hope we can catch some of these achievements when we get out of the blockade.
The results recorded on the interactive map were presented during International Dark Sky Week, which aims to raise awareness of the effects of light pollution. Human planetary lighting is increasing in range and intensity by about 2% per year, light pollution is associated with a decline in insects, especially moths, and changes the behavior of many other animal species as well.
Truman said: Looking up at the starry night sky is a magical sight and believes that everyone should be able to experience wherever they live. And the good thing is that light pollution is one of the most easily reversible types of pollution by ensuring that well-designed lighting is only used when and where it is needed, and it has strong national and local government policies.
Ruskin Hartley, Managing Director of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), said: We believe that solving light pollution problems begins with knowing that problems exist. For many, joining the Star Count during the blockade may be the first encounter with a dark night sky in a long time.
CPRE and IDA are trying to protect dark skies and reduce light pollution through a policy of turning off lights when office buildings are empty and increasing the use of LED lights that only illuminate where we walk.
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