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Fancy a trip into space with Queen’s Brian May?

Brian May
(Image credit: Brian May)

Brian May’s fascination with astronomy and astrophysics is well-known, and tonight (September 23), Queen’s guitarist is emerging from lockdown to invite the world to take a journey into space to explore nebulae, the cosmic clouds inhabited by infant suns.

The livestreaming event is being hosted by The Science Museum, on their YouTube channel, and is being held to celebrate the launch of May’s latest book, Cosmic Clouds 3D, authored in conjunction with David Eicher (editor-in-chief of Astronomy magazine) and J-P Metsavainio (astrophotographer). The trio promise to take those who join them “on a mesmerising journey spanning the birth, death and recycling of stars.” The event begins at 8pm UK time.

“Together, the panel will explore how the universe creates stars from recycled gas and how our solar system will end as a glowing planetary nebula,” the event description on the Science Museum website promises. “You’ll see some of the incredible photography from Cosmic Clouds 3-D, peering into the nebulae, the cosmic clouds inhabited by infant suns.”

The website also promise that some viewers will have the chance to put your own questions to the speakers on the night.

“I believe this is an important book in its own right, because an up to date and in-depth account of nebulae is long overdue out there,” says Brian May. “With all this current interest in life in other parts of the universe, a study of nebulae is crucial, because the nebulae, the cosmic clouds are the beginning of everything, and in a sense we can regard the seeds of life itself as being nested in those exotically coloured and fantastically shaped clouds, billions of miles away in the neighbouring space of our galaxy.”

“But I have another reason to be proud of this book. It fulfils part of my dream to bring art and science together, and in particular to bring stereoscopy and astronomy together. This is the first book ever published in the known universe on nebulae illustrated with stereoscopic pictures of the objects themselves. This has only been possible because of the unique blend of art and science delivered by J-P Metsavainio in the incredible pictures which you will find in this book. As you leaf through its pages, and view the pictures with a stereoscope  - ideally using a London Stereoscopic Company OWL stereoscope - you will feel that you are floating in space with eyes a billion miles apart, taking in the intricate and beautiful complexities of these vast clouds of gas and dust. Reading David J Eicher’s text, you will find a new understanding of the way stars are born, and ultimately of the way that humans came into existence in the universe.”

“Be there, at our live virtual, stereoscopic-enabled launch! All you need is YouTube, and for the 3-D experience, a way of viewing stereoscopic images side by side. If you’re in doubt, check my Instagram feed and you will find an instruction video! See you there.”