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Join us for a Night-time Adventure into the Galaxy!

26th January 2021

We have created these educational lockdown-friendly activities as a useful resource for parents and schools and to reconnect people with the magic of our dark skies.

There are two online activities for children which can be done at home.

1. CPRE ‘Star Count 2021’

This is an exciting science project which aims to build a map of Britain’s darkest skies.

For this galactic adventure you will need a clear night between Feb 6 – 14 and a dark outdoor space or a south facing window.

How it works:

Try to pick a clear night for your Star Count and wait until after 7pm so that the sky is really dark. Switch off all artificial lights and wait for between 10 and 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

Use our guide to find the Orion constellation, with its four corners and ‘belt’ and count how many stars you can see within it with the naked eye – but don’t include the four corner stars.

If there are lights around your home hampering your view then try wearing a hoodie or draping a dark towel over your head to tunnel your vision or ask your grown-ups to switch off the lights and join in!

To sign up go to Star Count: a lockdown-friendly stargazing activity for the whole family – CPRE

Top Tips

  • Use your new night vision to look out for nocturnal creatures like foxes, deer, badgers and owls!
  • Did you know there are lots of free apps available that use your device’s inbuilt GPS to help you find the stars? Try NASA app, Star Chart, GoSkyWatch Planetarium or Star & Planet Finder.

2. Night Photography (short online course)

This is a series of short ‘filmlets’ created by Sussex environmentalist, Steve Geliot.

Steve will show you step by step how to take photos in the dark without expensive equipment.

If you can’t see this video on your browser, view it on YouTube here.

If you can’t see this video on your browser, view it on YouTube here.

If you can’t see this video on your browser, view it on YouTube here.

If you can’t see this video on your browser, view it on YouTube here.

*Activity best suited to KS3 and KS4 .


Take part in our ‘Night Vision’ children’s photography competition!

We would love to see your photos of the star-studded Dark Skies or of the nocturnal wildlife where you live. During lockdown we are encouraging people to take photos from their window, balcony, garden or street in line with government guidelines.

Enter by sending your images to

A winner will be selected in each category to receive a £35 gift voucher for Herstmonceux science observatory: The Observatory Science Centre.

There are two categories – age 12 and under and age 13+. Entries by Feb 28. The competition will be judged by Steve Geliot.



CPRE Sussex Dark Skies Activities

Seven Sisters + stars
Seven Sisters and the Plaiedies - the Seven Sisters! © Dan Oakley