I slept in Louis’ room when Hot Stuff’s mother came to stay last week. Or should this space be called the guest room now my son has moved out to live with friends? This third bedroom is a loft conversion with velux windows with built in blinds. I kept these open so that, in the morning, I could enjoy the sea glimpse that is only possible from this room in the house. They also allowed me to gaze at the stars but I’m a pitiful excuse for an astronomer. One night while popping to the loo I spotted a bright white planet that was low in the sky. Now I could have found out what I was looking at exactly by referring to a star chart but I couldn’t be arsed!

This picture of the moon that I came across on Twitter the other day caught my attention. It looks like a photograph taken with a high tech camera. The actual medium surprised me as it’s actually a pastel drawing. What really surprised me was that it was drawn in the 18th century. The artist, John Russell, was a portrait painter who was good friends with William Herschel, the astronomer who discovered Uranus.

Now Russell seemingly had an more than my own passing interest in astronomy. So Herschel provided his friend with the telescope that allowed him to record that extensive detail. This drawing of a gibbous moon, the lunar phase where the illuminated part is bigger than a semi circle, was no quick and dirty work. It took Russell four years to complete.

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