Star Count 2023

Look skywards in the Cotswolds for CPRE’s Star Count 2023!

Between 17th and 24th February, in celebration of our starry skies and to help protect and improve our view of the stars, CPRE, the countryside charity, is inviting the whole nation to become ‘citizen scientists’ and take part in Star Count 2023 – a cosmic census that will help map our view of the stars, and measure the impact of light pollution across the country.

Dark, starry skies are an undeniably beautiful sight, and a distinctive feature of the countryside – the wonder of gazing up into velvety blackness, with twinkling constellations as far as the eye can see, never gets old. But all too often, light pollution means that many of us can barely see the stars at all.

Our towns, cities, villages, buildings, and roads all emit light, and this can affect our view of truly dark skies, and cause problems for wildlife and people. Too much artificial light can impact our sleep and mental health, disrupt nature’s natural cycles, and confuse wildlife. Light pollution also impacts our experience of the natural wonder of the night sky, and blurs the distinction between town and countryside.

To help understand all this, thousands of people have submitted star counts over the years, which CPRE’s experts plot onto an interactive Star Count map, then analyse and compare with previous years’ data. In the 2022 Star Count, 49% of participants counted 10 stars or fewer in the constellation of Orion, indicating severe light pollution, while only 3% experienced truly dark skies.

Help count the Cotswold stars by becoming a citizen scientist!

This year, we need you to help us fill up the Cotswolds section of the interactive Star Count map! We’d love to see counts submitted to CPRE from every corner of the Cotswolds, including from towns just outside the area, like Cheltenham, Stroud, Gloucester, or Banbury. Let’s all join together to look up, get counting, and sending in our observations.

Taking part in Star Count is completely free, and can be done without any special equipment. You’ll be part of a nationwide citizen science project. Stargazers are asked to count the number of stars they can see (with the naked eye) within the constellation of Orion, and submit their count online.   Visit to find out more and to register to take part.

The number of stars visible in Orion is a good indicator of the amount of light pollution affecting views of the night sky, and can be compared with previous data to show how our ability to see the stars is changing.