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U.K. skywatchers bemoan light pollution
by Staff Writers
London (UPI) Apr 11, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Light pollution of night skies over Britain meant half the star-gazers who joined a recent star count had trouble seeing even bright stars, organizers said.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Campaign for Dark Skies said 53 percent of those taking part failed to see more than 10 stars in the familiar Orion constellation, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Almost 1,000 people in locations across the country took part in the annual Star Count survey in January and February.

"When we saturate the night sky with unnecessary light, it damages the character of the countryside and blurs the distinction between town and country," Emma Marrington of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said.

"But this isn't just about a spectacular view of the stars; light pollution can also disrupt wildlife and affect people's sleeping patterns."

Dark Skies campaigner Bob Mizon said light pollution is affecting the study of stars.

"Many children growing up today will never see the Milky Way; never see the unimaginable glory of billions of visible stars shining above them," he said.

Campaigners hailed a recent government policy paper, saying design, planning policies and decisions "should limit the impact of light pollution from artificial light on local amenity, intrinsically dark landscapes and nature conservation."

"Of course we need the right, well-designed lighting in the right places -- and some areas need to be lit for safety reasons -- but there should not be a blanket assumption that glaring lights are needed," Marrington said.


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