The annual 'cosmic census' by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) runs from Friday 8 February to Saturday 16 February. Star Count invites you to spend five minutes outside after dark, counting stars by eye within the Orion constellation - it's one of the most recognisable features in the night sky, and you don't need any previous experience or knowledge to join in.
The National Park's own special Dark Sky Discovery Sites - Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest - would be perfect locations for anyone keen to participate. But any place with clear horizons and free from light pollution is suitable, including your own back garden or local open space, and according to the CPRE you're doing well if you can see more than 30 stars. That means you're lucky enough to have truly dark skies - and our wonderful spreading moorland panoramas certainly fit the bill.
There are full details about the event on the CPRE website. So why not sign up and submit your survey? You'll help make the North York Moors one of the top stargazing sites in the country, while enjoying our fabulous night-sky views.
Dark Sky Status
The big open skies of the North York Moors are breathtaking by day and also by night when the dark sky panorama is revealed. There are many spots in the National Park that are perfect for star gazing but Sutton Bank and Dalby Observatories should top the list.
People inspired by the BBC’s recent Stargazing Live series should head for the site of the Dalby Observatories in the North York Moors National Park as the area has been named as an official Dark Sky Discovery Site, Milky Way class.
In 2012, Sutton Bank was given Dark Sky status (Milky Way class) as in addition to its dark skies it has the added bonus of being accessible to surrounding towns and villages.
A combination of low light pollution levels, clear horizons and good public access helped secure Sutton Bank the accolade making it the first in the National Park.
Sutton Bank and Dalby Observatories have been given Milky Way class by the Dark Sky Discovery initiative because the galaxy is often visible to the naked eye from the sites.
Dark Skies events
Public observing at Dalby
Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society holds stargazing events in Dalby Forest on the 1st Friday of each month between October and March each year between 8pm and 10pm. More information from the Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society website.
Dark skies at Sutton Bank
The National Park Authority teams up with experts from York Astronomical Society to hold stargazing events at Sutton Bank National Park Centre to introduce people to the wonders of the night sky. The next event is 2 November 2013, 6.30pm to 8pm.
Views are being sought from residents and businesses before Planners consult on proposals for Whitby Business Park
New grants for good ideas have been launched by the North York Moors National Park Authority.
A beautiful chapel containing unusual sculptures will be open to the public on three special open days this year.
Stunning photographs of the UK’s National Parks are now on display at York Hospital.