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
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...