Here it is!!

This wonderful book, which is literally full of wonders, doesn’t really need an introduction anymore – especially since I’ve mentioned it here before. However, I just found my copy of The Cosmic Tourist by Brian May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott in my mailbox and I’m standing on my soapbox with it for several reasons…

First of all, to tell you you’ll want a copy of this too. You will! The guys invite you on their spaceship called Ptolemy. (After Patrick’s cat, who incidentally killed my watch by making sure it ended up in the washing machine once, but that aside). We travel at the speed of thought, as they say, and we’ll start close to home, eventually visiting the end of the observable universe. In between you’ll meet “the 100 most awe-inspiring destinations”. And probably the best thing is, it truly is an astronomy book for everybody. You can treat it as a pretty picture book, but there’s much more to it than that, as our tour guides explain these sights in understandable terms.

I’m biased you say? Well I can’t deny that I don’t find it extremely cool that my Voorwerp is one of the 100 places of this journey, yes. But since that thing in space almost instantly made me an amateur astronomer, I’ve seen a collection of astronomy books growing on my book shelf and I genuinely think this format is a great idea. Hanny’s Voorwerp is number 97 in the book, as its distance from Earth is 650,000,000 light-years. Seeing it like that – almost at the end of an incredible and informative tour – reminded me how far away it is. And how unbelievably big our neighbourhood is.

Funnily enough a stranger on the interwebs called me a ‘humblebragger’ recently, which apparently means so much as ‘trying to hide the fact you’re bragging’. Rather insulting… as I wouldn’t try to hide this of course. In fact: I’m mentioned in a book by Brian May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott!!!! My life is awesome and your argument is invalid and all that. I cannot not mention that can I. It’s been great so far discovering the Voorwerp; it taught me a lot and I’ve met many interesting people. I’m fairly sure life would still be awesome without it though. The Sun on my face doesn’t feel more lovely than it already did a couple of years ago.

Truth is (I’ve been asked this a lot), I don’t feel proud, I feel honoured. Brian led me to Chris’ project, which enabled me to find this thingy and the fact it is now a page in their lovely book completes the circle nicely. And reading about all the other beautiful sights you’ll encounter before reaching that distance at the end of the book, made me feel quite humble too. We really are just tiny bits of star-stuff… Thanks Bri, Patrick and Chris, for this treasure! (And special thanks to Robin for sending it too! The package made me smile even before I opened it).

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