Meteor shower may offer relief from election day battle
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will be hoping the stars align for them on election day in a week when astronomers have plenty to look forward to. Chris Burn reports.
AFTER WEEKS of campaigning in the cold, dark and wet, as well as in television studios and on social media, the moment of truth for Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders arrives on Thursday as the nation goes to the polls for the General Election.
Current polling appears to suggest that either a Conservative majority or another hung Parliament is on the cards, but after the surprise results of the 2015 and 2017 General Elections – and the outcome of the Brexit referendum in 2016 – it would take a brave pundit to confidently predict the result at this stage.
It is yet to be seen if the weather will have an impact on turnout in the first December election since 1923, but snow has been forecast for some areas.
Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm and an exit poll, setting out the anticipated result, will be released almost immediately afterwards. In 2015, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown famously promised he would “eat my hat” after the poll suggested his party was set to lose dozens of seats and the Conservatives would win an unexpected majority – a projection that proved to be accurate. There was a similar shock in 2017 when the poll correctly projected a hung Parliament.
The real results will follow late on
Thursday night and into the early hours of Friday. Whatever the outcome, there will be one definite change as Huw Edwards leads the BBC’s election night coverage, taking over from David Dimbleby who had been the main presenter for the channel for every election since 1979.
EYES TO THE SKIES
FOR THOSE wanting to be elevated away from the grim political squabbles in Britain at the moment, some relief may come from above not once but twice this week. On Wednesday, there will be a conjunction of Venus and Saturn. Appearing southwest at sunset, Saturn and Venus will be low in the sky. Saturn will appear fainter than Jupiter.
Later in the week will bring the start of the Geminids meteor shower, which will be visible from December 14 to 17. It will peak on Saturday when around 120 meteors will be visible per hour.
IT HAS been an excellent 12 months for British sport and on Sunday, the winner of the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award will be announced in front of a live audience of 10,000 people in Aberdeen and millions more watching live on BBC One.
The nominees this year are athletes Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, cricketer Ben Stokes, Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton, footballer Raheem Sterling and rugby union’s Alun Wyn Jones.
Members of the public will be able to vote during the live show on Sunday night, which is being presented by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan.
A COMPETITION of a different kind will be taking place in London on Saturday as the Miss World live final is held – with England’s entrant having a very different background to the stereotypical contestant.
Bhasha Mukherjee made history when she was crowned on August 1 by becoming the first British Asian to win Miss England.
Less than 12 hours later, she started her new job as a junior doctor at the Pilgrim Hospital, in Boston, Lincolnshire. Miss Mukherjee came to England aged nine with her parents as a refugee. Her parents and brother now live in Derby.
The 23-year-old, who studied at Nottingham University, will be supporting Diabetes UK as her Beauty with a Purpose Project in Miss World after revealing her own father suffers from the disease and almost lost his eyesight.
BORIS’S BIG MOMENT: Will the Conservative Party leader still be Prime Minister on Friday?