How many stars can you count?

The British Astronomical Association (BAA), in collaboration with the Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) are asking members of the UK public to participate in a nationwide survey of light pollution (via DaveP). The idea is to get as many people as possible to count the number of stars they can see bounded by the shoulders and knees (or feet) of Orion between the 20th and 24th December. Orion is a very easy constellation to spot so this should be fairly easy for most people to do.

If you want to participate, wrap up warm, have a hot drink and go outside for 10 minutes to let your eyes adapt to the dark. As your eyes are adapting you can find Orion in the south (around to the left from where the Sun sets) and identify the shoulders and knees.When you think your eyes have adapted, start counting stars. Once you are happy that you've counted as many as you can, submit your results on the BAA website. While you are outside and not too cold, have a look around at some of the other things you can see. I'll leave it to Ian Morison to tell you what you can see in the night sky during December (MP3: 3.5 MB).

It is just a pity that this isn't an international project.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 19th Dec 2006 (15:54 GMT) | Permalink
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