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Be a star and join in with count

Residents are being encouraged to explore the wonders of the universe from their own gardens during the lockdown.

Sarah Burgess from Stafford and her son Zac, aged 10
Sarah Burgess from Stafford and her son Zac, aged 10

Countryside charity CPRE and Cannock Chase AONB Partnership, is inviting people who live in or around Cannock Chase to join in the Star Count.

The results will help CPRE create an interactive map of the nation’s view of the night sky, and to find out where light pollution is at its worst, so local councils can take action.

Anyone can take part in the survey by choosing a clear night between February 6 to 14 and counting the number of stars they can see within the constellation of Orion.

It does not require any equipment or a telescope. Councillor Frances Beatty, chair of Cannock Chase AONB joint committee, said: “The amount of artificial light from growing conurbations surrounding Cannock Chase is damaging its natural world and reducing our ability to see dark skies.

“The need to protect and restore the rhythm of night and day has never been more urgent and we want decision makers to address artificial light pollution in their policies for the AONB and its surroundings.

“Plants and animals depend on the circadian rhythm of light and dark to govern life-sustaining behaviours such as reproduction, food, sleep and protection from predators.

“Artificial light has negative effects on many creatures, including amphibians, birds, mammals, invertebrates and plants, which impacts on the sensitive habits on the Chase.

“We want to ensure that our skies don’t get any lighter, and that looking up at a starry sky is something we can continue to experience and enjoy.”

For more information about how to take part in the Star Count and to download a free family activity pack, visit CPRE’s website.

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