Wonders of night sky are open to all

ASTRONOMY has always been a fascination for me since I was at Ottershaw Boarding School in Surrey in the 1970s.

I wrote to the late and great Sir Patrick Moore, pictured, on the subject of eclipses to which he duly replied.

My late mother Kathleen Kidd sent me newspaper cuttings about comet Kohoutek, which like the more recent comet Ison turned out to be rather a damp squib as it moved too close to the sun and it was destroyed.

As fascinating as comets are, total eclipses of the sun are my favourites.

I was fortunate enough to be in south Devon to see the eclipse of August 1999.

The next total eclipse visible from mainland Britain will not be until 23 September 2090 and Scotland will not receive a visitation until the years 2133 and 2135.

Central London will not be in the lines of totality until the 27th century – the first time in over 1,000 years.

Ancient people believed monkeys and dragons were devouring the sun and in ancient China some were executed for failing to predict an eclipse.

Finally I would advise some caution about information on the internet that readers might see.

Neptune is not visible to the naked eye but Uranus can be seen sometimes!

Readers with questions can write to me at 5 Danegeld Close, Andover SP10 5NG and I will do my best to assist them.

Richard Kidd, Andover

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