COX ENCOURAGES US TO REACH FOR THE STARS
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 TV Guide, “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.”