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Get into astronomy with Stargazing Live on BBC Two

Prof Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain
Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain will guide the audience on an astronomical journey

If you were an avid stargazer as a child but haven't looked down a telescope since, a BBC series wants to rekindle your interest in astronomy.

Scientist Prof Brian Cox and comedian Dara O'Briain are teaming up to present three days of live stargazing.

As well as watching on BBC Two, they want you to take part by going to a local event or joining in from home.

Stargazing Live has been scheduled from from 3-5 January to coincide with a number of astronomical events.

People across the UK should be able to observe the alignment of Uranus and Jupiter, a partial solar eclipse and the Quadrantid meteor shower.

Visibility will of course depend on the weather, so it's wise to check the forecast before looking skyward.

"Clear evenings"

BBC West meteorologist Richard Angwin said as the nights are still long in January, there's plenty of scope for viewing the sky:

"Although there is usually bad weather during the month, it is a time for fast-moving weather systems and therefore there are sure to be a few fine, clear evenings."

Time-lapse photograph of the stars
Time-lapse photography can generate amazing images of the night sky

Trained physicist Dara O'Briain is a frustrated astronomer, who has been living with an unopened telescope in his attic for as long as he can remember.

During the programme, Brian Cox takes Dara on a crash course of the skies, showing him how to spot and take pictures of celestial marvels.

And Brian is asking astronomers of all levels to share their best photographs of the night skies online, to be showcased during the live shows.

Whether the pictures are of the moon or the planets, galaxies or nebulae, comets or meteors, the Stargazing team would love to see them.

For a chance to get your pictures featured live, send images to stargazing@bbc.co.uk or visit Stargazing Live website for more information.

Star party

Free Stargazing Live events are taking place across the country to coincide with the broadcast in January.

From star parties to sidewalk astronomy sessions, viewers can find an event near them by searching the map on the Stargazing Live website.

Here in our patch, a number of events have been organised in Bath by the William Herschel Society and Bath Astronomers.

On 14 January, a dramatised account of the life and works of Sir Isaac Newton will be performed at Bath Royal Literary and Science Institution (BRLSI), 16-18 Queen Square, Bath. It takes place from 7.30pm-9pm and there is a suggested donation of £4. Age 14+.

  • On 15 January in Queen Square Gardens a telescope will project an image of the sun from 10.30am-12pm, as long as the sun is visible. It's hoped viewers will be able to see sunspots. Free, children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • On 15 January, if the sky is clear, a star party is being held from 7pm-9pm at Bath Recreation Ground in William Street (off Great Pulteney St). People who attend the free event will be introduced to the moon, planets and the Orion Nebula. If the sky is not clear, this event will be held at the same time and place on 16 January.

You can watch Stargazing Live on 3, 4 and 5 January 2011 at 8pm on BBC Two.


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