Every fact I’ve ever been told about space has left me dumbstruck.
In every way, space defies our understanding of things. That the light we see from stars is years old. That the fastest spaceship we’ve ever made would still take over 160 days of constant travel to get to Mars. That there are clouds of gas that measure 160 million light years across. And it’s just so lovely to look at!
I have a really rudimental grasp of the different constellations up there, but I love that this time of year the cold air is extra clear and makes it even easier to see them.
The long, dark nights are perfect for viewing, which is why a lot of the public observatories around the country go into overdrive and are doing talks and events in the winter. A couple of years ago, we went to one at Dundee’s Mills Observatory, when the bloke told us about what meteor showers we would see in the next couple of weeks, and what planets were where. Then we went up on to the observation deck outside, and watched the International Space Station fly past. Even though you never leave the earth, you certainly forget your worldly worries for a few minutes while you wondered what their view was like.
As Vincent Van Gogh said, “The sight of the stars make me dream.”
Have a look at this list to find your local observatory, or – even better – read Dawn Geddes’ great feature about some of the UK’s finest in the current special.