Skip to navigation

Star Count 2021

29th January 2021

Nationwide star count to reveal lockdown’s impact on light pollution.

People living in Dorset are invited to take part in an annual Star Count to record our view of the night sky. CPRE is working with the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies to find indications of light pollution levels across the country.

By counting the number of stars they see in the Orion constellation, citizen scientists will help map the best and worst places in England to enjoy a star-filled night sky. For more information, visit

They will also be compared with 2020’s findings, gathered before coronavirus restrictions took hold, to see whether lockdown has had an impact. Dark night skies are a special quality of the Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and contribute to the areas sense of tranquillity and remoteness. The Cranborne Chase AONB (overlapping the boundaries of Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset)was designated an International Dark Sky Reserve in October 2019. 

Many studies found changes in other types of pollution during lockdown compared to before, but until now, few have focused on the often overlooked, but hugely important, problem of light pollution.

Light pollution means many people only experience a limited view of the night sky, and it also disrupts wildlife’s natural patterns. By showing where people’s views are most affected by light pollution, CPRE can use this evidence in crucial lobbying efforts to protect and enhance the skies of Dorset, improving our health, wellbeing, wildlife and the environment.

Bob Mizon, UK coordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, and lives in Dorset said:

‘Turning back the tide of light pollution brings darker night skies and improvements to the well-being of humans, wildlife and the environment. In its three decades of working with the CPRE towards these goals, we have seen increased public and Parliamentary awareness of the importance of our view of the universe above.

‘The CPRE Star Count is an important part of this work, especially in these abnormal times when we have a chance to see whether changes in our activities are having any positive effect on the atmosphere and our view of the night sky.’

join us

Back to top