Plympton Academy students study the stars

Students at Plympton Academy have been supporting the Campaign for
Rural England’s (CPRE) light pollution survey.

Stephen Heighway (12), Lewis White and Ben Bacon who are both 13 years
old, recorded the number of stars they could see in Orion, and the
results were submitted to the British Astronomical Association in
London.

Light pollution means many people can’t see the stars and this
campaign by the CPRE is aiming to reconnect people with the wonder of
the night skies.

Stephen said; “It is really shocking how much light pollution there is
around Plymouth and how few stars we can see.”

His fellow star gazer, Ben, agreed; “It took me a while to find the
constellation due to light pollution but when I did I was surprised
how many stars I could see.”

Lewis added; “It was a very clear night when I took part but I could
only see the three belt stars and three others.”

Teacher Martin Edmonds explained; “Orion’s belt is very easy to spot
on a clear night and people were asked to record the three belt stars;
Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, plus any other stars that were visible
in that constellation. There are around 40 stars within that boundary.
If you can see that many stars then you would be in one of the darkest
places in the country. Most of us would be able to count far fewer
stars than that and people in very bright urban areas may only see the
three belt stars.”