Orion Star Count

Orion constellation (well…most of it)

In the UK, The Countryside Charity (CPRE) is asking people to participate in the annual star count (Feb 6th-14th 2021) – this involves counting the stars with the naked eye within the main part of the Orion constellation to get an understanding of the level of light pollution across the country.

Orion with outline superimposed

Finally, after several nights of waiting for clear skies, I was able to do this last night!

The star count involves counting the stars you can see (unaided) within the four main stars that form the body of Orion as shown below – the four corner stars should not be included in the count.

Orion star count region

Last night, I could see 17 stars, but my sight is not as good as it used to be…even with glasses! The photograph I took with the camera shows many more, but that doesn’t count – that was just for fun!

The nice bit about the photo is how well the Orion nebula (M42) shows up below the three belt stars – the purple ‘smudge’. It is a gas cloud around 24 light-years across and is an example of a stellar nursery where stars are born within the Milky Way (our galaxy) – it is around 1344 light-years away meaning that when the light we see now left the nebula in 677CE

#2021 #astronomy #astrophotography #cpre #starcount #orion #cotswolds #UK #WestOxfordshire

Technical details:

Fuji X-E1; 34mm(XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS); 10s@f3.6; ISO3200 – tripod – post-processing in Lightroom – DSCF267621021011910