The U.K. star count 2020

If you live in the U.K., you can help the Countryside Charity take a survey of how dark the nighttime skies are. They’re asking people to go outside after 7 pm between February 21 and February 28, wait till their eyes adjust to the dark, and report how many stars they see inside the Orion constellation. You don’t need binoculars or telescopes or anything other than yourself and the skies and a clear night.

That last part–the clear night–is going to be hard. I can’t remember the last one we had.

It’s as useful to report from a city where you’d be lucky to see a single star as it is to report from the darks of Bodmin Moor. It’s all information. Follow the link above and you’ll find the instructions (there aren’t many) and a way to report your count.


As long the weather’s come into the conversation, I might as well tell you that as soon as Britain’s hit by a storm big enough to earn itself a name, it will be Storm Ellen. Batten down the hatches.

42 thoughts on “The U.K. star count 2020

    • I have no idea how many responses they get in an average year, but it seems to be enough for at least a rough map of how visible the stars are at various points in the UK. The problem, at least based on the form I filled out last year, is that if the darkest areas have postcodes, I don’t know how to find them since they’re the places that don’t have buildings. And postcodes are overwhelmingly the UK’s way of locating things, people, and places.


  1. Ellen, thanks once more for your very entertaining and flavorful blogs. If school kids had access to such writing, they’d know a hell of a lot more about history amd cultural shenanigans that schools ever teach them, and might find the subjects enjoyable instead of deadly boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess the principle is the same as the way they used to actually do blood counts (even in my college days) They put blood on a slide, placed a little grid (like a tic-tac-toe grid) on the sample and literally counted all the blood cells inside the center grid. Then they multiplied by some formula to approximate the total “blood count.”

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    • Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. I didn’t do very well from my back garden here in Cornwall either. This is the second or third year I’ve looked, and I always mean to go up to the moor but somehow I never get there.

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