Tamar Valley Community Star Count – the results are in…

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© Simon Ould

In December 2014, December 2015 and January 2016 the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team asked communities in and around the Valley to help observe and record the number of stars that could be seen, to help measure light pollution.

Although the weather conditions were unfavourable, eleven volunteers picked a clear night and recorded their observations. Huge thanks to everyone who took part.

Congratulations to the winner of our prize draw, Sarah Dean from Horrabridge, who won ‘The Wonders Collection’ DVD, presented by Professor Brian Cox.

More than 30 stars means a truly dark night sky. The number of stars that were counted in the Orion constellation varied from 6 to 21, with more being counted in rural areas away from distinctive light sources. In urban areas, mainly around Saltash the number was 12 and at a rural location near North Hill near Callington a massive 21 were counted. The lower numbers were submitted in 2015, and this may have been due to the weather conditions.

Sam Barnes, Helping Hands for Heritage Project Officer, explains, “The night skies are an important part of the character of the AONB and contribute to its tranquillity, but it is being affected by light pollution. Only 11% of England still has truly dark night skies, as the threat of light pollution from our surrounding towns and cities increases. This also has an affect on wildlife by interrupting migration & feeding patterns”.

The AONB team will now be looking at what these results mean, and how we can reduce light pollution and its effects on the tranquility of the Tamar Valley AONB.

The Tamar Valley AONB

Working with people to celebrate and support the special landscape of the Tamar Valley and its rural way of life.

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