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Count stars to map out light pollution!

People’s Observatory Armand Pien in Ghent has launched a project to map out the extent of light pollution in Flanders.  Light pollution means we can’t always see the stars, but it’s also damaging for human beings as it can disturb your sleep.

In order to compare light pollution across Flanders members of the public are being asked to count the number of stars they can see in the Constellation of Orion.  Under good conditions you should be able to make out seven or eight stars.  In many parts people get no further than four.

Maaike Dubois of the observatory: “We emit an incredible amount of artificial light that is sent up into the sky.  It prevents our view of the stars.”

Light pollution across Flanders is believed to increase by 2% a year.

Jan Scheers is an astronomer and photographer from Drongen, outside Ghent.  He too will be taking part: Once you have been abroad and seen the Milky Way in a dark area, you will never forget it.  It’s so fantastic.  We hope places like that can return to Flanders in future.”

Find more information on the observatory’s website if you want to take part in the count in coming days.


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