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More help needed to hunt out Orion in the Peak District

This is an archived press release

Monday 24 January 2011

What to look for - the shape of Orion

When you wish upon a star...you can help towards the Dark Skies project over the Peak District.

The Peak District National Park Authority is asking people to look for the constellation of Orion the hunter to find out how much light pollution obscures our view of the night sky.

The Authority's first appeal for people's help, at the beginning of January, was successful but partly affected by cloudy skies. So now the Authority is again asking people to go outside on a clear night, any time between January 28 and February 2.

When they see Orion, they are asked to log their location, time and date and compare what they see with a series of images available online.

The images show different views of Orion, some in a dark sky, where many stars are visible, and some with light-pollution and fewer stars. People are asked to identify which image most closely resembles what they see.

Jane Chapman, head of environment, heritage and recreation strategy, said: "We were really grateful for the results we got at the beginning of January. But as it was cloudy on some of the nights, we'd appreciate people's help once again to assess how clearly they can see Orion.

"Light pollution not only affects our enjoyment of the night sky, it wastes energy and has an impact on the wellbeing of people and wildlife.

"The National Park Authority is working closely with several local astronomical societies to determine how light pollution affects the night sky in and around the Peak District. This information will enable us to work with other authorities to try to reduce unneeded light, and allow us to develop policies to protect our night sky for future generations."

All the information needed to take part, including how to report your observations, is available from the website www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/darkskies

This is an archived press release

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