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Star Spotting in Cornwall

If you fancy taking a gander at the night sky, then you could do a lot worse than #Cornwall. In fact, the county is such a prime star-spotting venue that it ranks as the 4th darkest county in England and has a high percentage of dark skies with minimal light pollution – 73% of the skies above Cornwall fall into the two darkest categories.

All of which is great news for Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory’s bid to secure Dark Skies Designation for Bodmin Moor. The council officially decided today to support the bid to secure GOLD level designation status. If successful then we could see one of the jewels in Cornwall’s crown getting status on a par with World Heritage sites around the world!

Bodmin Moor is an incredible place, a testament to the magical diversity of Cornwall. Being granted International Dark Sky Designation would ensure the ongoing protection of its environment and beauty for both people and wildlife as well as offer real opportunities to local communities and businesses.

It’s a sad fact that many children will grow up and never see the Milky Way, our own galaxy! On a dark, clear night we should see about 3000 stars but because of increasing light pollution many of us can only see a few dozen of the brightest stars at any time.

Cornwall might rank 4th but we do of course have light pollution issues too. Areas where you would expect to see light pollution tend to be more urban and that’s certainly the case with Falmouth, Penryn, Truro, Camborne, Redruth and other towns. There is also a light pollution corridor blooming across the county from St Austell to Newquay. And, we are increasingly seeing upward light glow from areas along the coast, much of it in our AONB, and this glow is blurring that important differentiation between urban and rural landscape.

It doesn’t have to be like this because the technology already exists to put the right lighting in the right place, so we can all benefit from clear night skies.

Securing Dark Sky Designation for Bodmin Moor will be one way to ensure that future generations can look up and get a glimpse of our galaxy. Finger’s crossed!

Counties_Cornwall map shows the areas of light pollution around Cornwall.

Cornwall Council’s press release is available here http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/council-news-room/media-releases/news-from-2017/news-from-february-2017/bodmin-moor-international-dark-sky-designation-bid-gets-the-go-ahead/

 


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