Islanders Encouraged To Count Stars

View of night sky over St Agnes by time-lapse photographer Graham Gaunt

View of night sky over St Agnes by time-lapse photographer Graham Gaunt

Islanders are being encouraged to count the stars as part of a national light pollution measurement campaign.

It is the third time Scilly’s AONB has arranged the islands’ participation in the Big Star Count, which in turn is backed by the British Astronomical Association and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.

Scilly has relatively dark skies compared to many parts of the country but it’s not immune to light pollution increases, and the reports received will help monitor any changes.

A recent study highlighted increased amounts, compared to the mid-1990s, around Hugh Town and the southern end of Tresco.

Rebecca Steggles from the AONB says islanders are encouraged to pick a clear night, any time after 7pm and before March 8th.

You will need to count as many stars as you can within the four corner stars of the Orion constellation and only by using the naked eye.

If you need help in finding Orion, stargazing charts are available from the TIC at Porthcressa or the AONB Office at the Old Wesleyan Chapel.

Rebecca says that the average count was 28 stars last year and 25 stars in 2012.

Spectators on St Mary’s are likely to see fewer stars when spotting from Hugh Town, than, for example, from Longstone.

And if you’d rather spot in a group, on Monday, there’ll be a 2-hour long Big Star Count walk with astronomer Steve Sims.

It will start at 7pm from the Old Wesleyan Chapel and there will be hot chocolate available afterwards.

7 Responses to Islanders Encouraged To Count Stars

  1. Western Patriarch March 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Next Event…counting the fish in the sea…everyone welcome!

  2. Steve Sims March 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    It’s very likely to be postponed. I suggest people use there commonsense and don’t turn up on Monday if (as it probably will be) the weathers unsuitable. Failing Monday then we will try Tuesday. I can’t make another night until the following Monday when the moon will be too bright for the count.

    So it’s Monday or Tuesday. Though anyone can do the count by just nipping out in to the garden.

  3. colin March 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I sort of guessed there would be a simple explanation. Thanks for that.

  4. Ian T. March 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Unless you have perfect eyesight, this count is surely meaningless.

  5. Twinkle March 1, 2014 at 8:06 am

    There’s one……there’s another one……

  6. Jester February 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    This is why you count stars within the four corners of Orion Colin… And I think the star walk should be postponed for this following Monday, have you seen the forecast?

  7. colin February 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    It is the 28th February today, not the 1st. Count stars ? someone’s having a laugh surely? The last time I looked up at the starlit black skies over the islands, there were millions visible.