It’s just after midnight. There’s no moon, and hardly any cloud. A few street lights burn in the village below, but on the hill where I’m standing they have no impact on the brilliance of the night sky. Brilliant, because I’m looking into a canopy of stars too numerous to count.
She lives in a village on the edge of Snowdonia, the reality for most of us is different.
The latest annual star count survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) showed 53% of those taking part on a clear night earlier this year could see 10 stars or fewer within the major constellation of Orion. Only 9% could see between 21 and 30 stars within the constellation, and just 2% had really dark skies above them and so were able to see 31 or more stars. Our skies are so “saturated” with glaring light, according to campaigners, that many of us are unnecessarily denied access to the wonders of the night sky.
In South London, where I live it is worse than that.
We needed to do something about this. We need to see the stars otherwise we lose something, partly our sense of wonder, partly our connection with the universe and the idea that we are a small part of it, but mostly the sheer joy of being out on a clear moonless night and looking up at the stars.
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