Delhiites’ midnight loss: 97% stars not visible | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhiites’ midnight loss: 97% stars not visible

delhi Updated: Nov 07, 2010 23:08 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sky-gazers in Delhi miss nearly 97 per cent of stars which are visible to the naked eyes as compared to their counterparts living in remote areas close to the national capital.

With stars hardly visible in cities due to light pollution, a campaign has been launched by Space Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), an NGO, from October 29 to November 12.

The project named the Great Indian Star Count (GSIC) aims to make people aware of the value of pristine dark skies. School children, amateur astronomers and public are being involved in this campaign.

As a part of the plan, a team of school students, amateur astronomers visited Sakras, about 120 kms from Delhi, and found that sky there was much darker as compared to Delhi.

The team was able to see stars up to 5.5 magnitude from Sakras, while in Delhi one could see only stars of 2 magnitude, SPACE President C B Devgun told PTI, adding that more magnitude means one can see fainter stars. "Sakras has one of the best night skies in close to Delhi this will enable us to observe celestial events in a better way," Devgun said.

"Artificial light is essential for our modern society. However, its increased use can cause problems like light pollution," he said. "Light pollution is a concern on many fronts like safety, energy conservation, health besides our ability to view the stars," he said.

"GISC is a scientific survey to quantify light pollution by counting number of stars that can be seen in the skies. It is a dedicated campaign for better use of lighting and illumination used in our day-to-day lives, efficient use of electricity and saving of electrical energy," he said.

SPACE is conducting the programme in India on behalf of Great Worldwide Star Count this year. GISC has been conducted for several years as part of Project Dark Skies to increase awareness of how light pollution affects visibility, he said.

Great Worldwide Star Count recommends a method of counting stars where an observer looks at known constellation like Cygnus, the swan, and tries to spot how many stars from this constellation can actually be seen in their sky.

Other methods such as counting how a star is visible through a defined pipe area can also be used.