Things are looking up: how to travel to the stars from your ...


Things are looking up: how to travel to the stars from your backyard

Our own planet may be largely off limits but there’s a universe to explore from your garden

Chris Leadbeater

In this current unusual ­situation, it can seem as if our personal worlds have shrunk to a few square metres. Where only a few weeks ago, we freely ­traversed the globe – to different continents, exotic resorts and fascinating cities – here we are in mid-May, confined to a nearby park, to a patch of garden, to a balcony, to an open window.

And yet, even in the midst of a pandemic lockdown, we can still travel. Not around Earth, admittedly. But with a little persistence, we can go above and beyond it. The sky overhead is a gateway to the wider universe – an infinite playground of meteors, stars, constellations and planets. And some of it is visible via a telescope or even the naked eye.

I talked to astronomer Pete Lawrence  to get his take on how we can “journey” to Venus and the moon without leaving our own stoeps – and to get the inside track on the sequence of ­celestial events that will brighten the darkness of the firmament in the ­coming months...

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