Star Count is now open for submissions!

Eric Partridge

Emma Marrington
Dark skies campaigner

Doing a count is simple – whether you live in town or country, just look to the night sky on a clear night from tonight until 14 February and tell us how many stars you can see within the constellation of Orion.

It’s an activity you can do at home and a great way to connect to nature during lockdown. Will you take part?

Click the button below to find out everything you need to know.

All you need to know

We think that everyone deserves the opportunity to view a pristine night sky, filled with stars, and dark skies are a defining characteristic of our countryside.

But sadly, light pollution means most people in England can’t see many stars at all, especially if you live in or near a big town or city.

Less than 3% of people that took part last year enjoyed ‘truly dark skies’.

Star Count helps us find out where is best and worst for seeing the stars, and by showing on a map where light pollution is most serious, we can work with local councils and others to tackle it.

So, your count could help others to enjoy the stars in the future!

Yes, I’ll take part

Here are 5 simple steps you can follow to take part in Star Count

1. Try to pick a clear night for your count, and wait until after 7pm so the sky is really dark. Please do your Star Count from home only. This could be your garden, balcony, doorstep or bedroom window.

2. Turn off all the lights in your home and let your eyes adjust (the longer you wait, the better).

3. Look south (the way satellite dishes point) and find the Orion constellation, with its four corners and three-star ‘belt’.

4. Count the number of stars you can see within the rectangle made by the four corner stars. Don’t count the corner stars, but you can count the three stars in the middle – the belt.

5. Make a note of the number of stars seen with the naked eye (not with telescopes or binoculars) and then submit your count on our website.

Here’s an image to help you find Orion.

Share your experiences (and any photos) with others on social media using #StarCount.

We hope you enjoy taking a moment to stare up at the stars and ponder the beauty of the night sky.

Happy stargazing!