Norfolk is one of the few counties in Britain where the night sky is still comparatively dark. Elsewhere in the south east light pollution has increased over the last half century brought on by urban development. Sky glow from cities and towns prevents a large proportion of the population from getting a clear view of the night sky, and seeing the full wonder of the stars.
Development continues in all parts of the country and as astronomers in Norfolk we have a responsibility to protect our night time environment against new sources of light pollution. This is partially a matter of education, but it is also necessary to monitor the situation to detect and combat new threats.
Leading this project in the UK is the BAA Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS), and locally NNAS has decided to get actively involved. We have undertaken to survey large areas of north Norfolk with specialist equipment in order to map the existing brightness of the night sky.
Early 2010 the North Norfolk Astronomy Society acquired sensitive light meters and photographic equipment to begin a night sky survey, and a large number of readings were taken from a different locations across the region. Phase two of the project began in earnest in the autumn 2010 and a detailed survey was completed by spring 2011. Results will be published shortly.