Cox reaches for the STARS

Pro­fes­sor Brain Cox has come to Aus­tralia to share his pas­sion for as­tron­omy in ABC spe­cial, Stargaz­ing Live, writes HOLLY BYRNES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV GUIDE -

PRO­FES­SOR Brian Cox was “five or six” when he first looked sky­ward and found magic in the stars.

“As long as I can re­mem­ber,” Cox tells Tassie Liv­ing, “I no­ticed the con­stel­la­tion Orion, which is the eas­i­est to see and [in the UK] comes up in late autumn, or the start of win­ter here.”

Un­like most small chil­dren, who looked for Santa stock­ings or dec­o­ra­tions in store win­dows to mark the ar­rival of Christ­mas, Cox ex­plains it was spotting “the red star in Orion, called Betelguese, or ‘Beetle­juice’,” which filled him with ex­cite­ment about the fes­tive sea­son ahead.

His par­ents “weren’t into as­tron­omy ... but they en­cour­aged me, bought me a cou­ple of books and off I went”.

Fast for­ward 43 years or so, Cox is in Aus­tralia, prepar­ing to share his life­long pas­sion and phe­nom­e­nal knowl­edge of our night sky in a fas­ci­nat­ing new ABC spe­cial, Stargaz­ing Live.

The “cit­i­zen science” event is based on a BBC for­mat, which en­cour­aged view­ers – 16.19 mil­lion and count­ing – to step out­side and ex­plore the world above them.

The Hu­man Uni­verse host is thrilled by the op­por­tu­nity to delve deeper into the dark se­crets of the south­ern hemi­sphere, pre­sent­ing the live pro­gram over three nights from Sid­ing Springs Ob­ser­va­tory, near Coon­abarabran in re­gional NSW.

“It’s al­ways been about try­ing to en­cour­age peo­ple to go out af­ter the show and look up and see the sky in a dif­fer­ent way and [in the UK] it has re­ally worked.”

Sim­pli­fy­ing the chal­lenge, Cox says, “As­tron­omy is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est science to do, be­cause all you need to do is look up.”


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