Time to see the light, says Brian

Authors Brian May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott. © Paul SutherlandRock musician Brian May yesterday criticised the light pollution that is drowning out the stars over Britain.

Guitarist Brian, of Queen, was replying to a question from Skymania News as he launched his latest epic, a book on astronomy.

The celebrity, who has an honorary doctorate in astronomy, said it was sad that overuse of lighting in towns and cities was preventing people from seeing the wonder of the night sky for themselves.

Brian said: “Light pollution is a very big problem that makes it very difficult to do astronomy from much of this country.

“I’ve been lucky enough to go to places abroad where you can still see the stars well, like La Palma in the Canary Islands. They have a professor there, Carlos Sanchez, who has got himself a very powerful voice in local politics and lighting is very strictly controlled.”

Brian May looks pensive © Paul SutherlandBrian, 59, broke off from recording a new album with Paul Rodgers of Free to launch his book, Bang!, written with Sky At Night legend Sir Patrick Moore, 84, and the TV show’s fellow presenter Chris Lintott.

Brian told the event, held at the Royal Society in London: “We set out to write a proper account of the history of the universe in a form that can be understood by anyone.”

He added that Sir Patrick had invited him to co-write the book in 2003 when they were in Scotland together to watch a solar eclipse.

He said: “It was Patrick’s idea. I wasn’t sure at first that I could do it but I’m very glad I did. I felt that if I could understand it then anyone could. OK, I’ve got a degree but I’ve been away from it for a long time.”

Brian said he got his first guitar for his seventh birthday and became interested in astronomy when he first watched The Sky At Night around the same time.

Brian praised Sir Patrick’s musical skills – he used to play the xylophone and has written operas and music for brass bands. In return, Sir Patrick praised Brian as “a very eminent astronomer.”

Chris Lintott added that Brian’s resarch into the zodiacal light – a glow from sunlight shining on dust in the solar system – was still the authoritative work in the academic field.

Don’t forget, the book is priced at £20 in the shops, but you can support this site and purchase a copy for just £12 by clicking here. It is not yet published in America, but the launch was told that a publishing deal has been agreed.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

Get free Skymania news updates by email

Sign up for alerts to our latest reports. No spam ever - we promise!


Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *