Passions: Space documentaries - one giant leap for my imagination - Emma Newlands

I have found a new genre of TV programme that is an antidote to the news cycle
'I am particularly drawn to Jupiter, the King of planets.' Picture: NASA.'I am particularly drawn to Jupiter, the King of planets.' Picture: NASA.
'I am particularly drawn to Jupiter, the King of planets.' Picture: NASA.

I once visited a west London church serving as one of the many venues around the world to have displayed artist Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon, a seven-metre-wide model of the lunar entity accompanied by audio created by, I have now learnt, award-winning composer Dan Jones including, if I remember rightly, astronauts’ chatter.

But I didn’t realise that I was also crossing the threshold into a new area of interest for me – space – after finding myself utterly transfixed by the installation, and with a new appreciation of the Moon that has overseen everything that has ever taken place on earth. And Jerram has said: “Different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural, scientific and religious relationships to the moon. And yet somehow, despite these differences, the moon connects us all.”

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I was also recently told by a colleague that people interested in space are more likely to have religious beliefs, something that I can see making sense given the scale of our universe and beyond that is impossible to comprehend.

And I am now hooked on space documentaries that I watch with the same level of fascination with which I used to reserve for ones about celebrities’ origin stories/falls from grace. Most recently BBC show The Planets, the combination of crystal clear images of, says Mars and Jupiter, and Professor Brian Cox’s softly spoken commentary proving a relaxing combination and refreshing antidote to another grim episode of the news.

I am particularly drawn to Jupiter, deemed the King of planets, with its stunning surface of swirling stormclouds and red spot bigger than Earth, although Saturn is also now high up on my travel wishlist given the news that scientists think it rains DIAMONDS there. Why did nobody tell me this? I am also pleased to learn that Pluto was named by an 11-year-old girl, who in 1930 suggested to her grandfather that it should take its moniker from the Roman god of the underworld, and he forwarded the name to the Lowell Observatory. Just one of the many facts inspiring me to dive deeper into a world of endless fascination.

Emma Newlands is a business reporter at The Scotsman​



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