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Great news today: The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth has made it into The Daily Mail’s “book critics' top picks for summer holiday reading.”

 

They say, “We take so much for granted in our lives, the skies being a case in point.  In The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth Stuart Clark, a renowned astronomer tells of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei who battled against the bigotry and authority of the Roman Church to reveal the truth about the workings of our galaxy.

 

So, take a moment out of your holiday to sit under the stars and wonder, not just at their eternal beauty and mystery, but at the courage of the men who, literally, risked their lives so we could understand them.”

 

My thanks to Kathy Stevenson for her kind words.  You can see the rest of the beach bag choices here.

ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered that titanic stellar explosions can be excellent dust factories. In space, the dust mixes with gas to become the raw material for new stars, planets and, ultimately, life. This discovery may solve a mystery of the early Universe.

ESA’s Integral gamma-ray observatory has provided results that will dramatically affect the search for physics beyond Einstein. It has shown that any underlying quantum ‘graininess’ of space must be at much smaller scales than previously predicted.

 

A neutron star partially devouring a massive clump of matter I have a new story published by ESA:

ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory has watched a faint star flare up at X-ray wavelengths to almost 10 000 times its normal brightness. Astronomers believe the outburst was caused by the star trying to eat a giant clump of matter.

 

I have a new story published by ESA:

 

ESA and NASA have announced the scientific investigations selected for their 2016 ExoMars lander demonstrator. They will probe the atmosphere during the descent, and return the first ever data on electrical fields at the surface of Mars.

 

 

I have a new story published at ESA:

 

ESA’s Mars Express celebrates eight years in space with a new view of ice in the southern polar region of Mars. The poles are closely linked to the planet’s climate and constantly change with the seasons. Their study is an important scientific objective of the mission.

 

Kathy Stevenson of the Daily Mail reviewed The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth and said, “This book is a moving and eye-opening story of brilliance and bravery, and the fight against bigotry and closed-mindedness.”

 

Needless to say, I’m totally thrilled with it - all the more so because it was published on the morning I gave my debut talk at the Hay Festival.  Jan Rutherford from Polygon Books greeted me with the paper that morning and it got the whole day off to a terrific start.

 

You can read the full review here.

Those fabulous people at The Flamsteed Astronomical Society have reviewed the talk I gave them about The Big Questions: The Universe. Thanks to everyone who came to the talk and made it so enjoyable. Thanks also for buying sooooo many books.

 

You can read the report here.

I'll be online at 3pm on Friday 3rd June, live from the Hay Literary Festival answering your questions.  Feel free to ask anything you like, be it about astronomy or writing or combining the two.  Please submit your questions in advance to the Hay Festival Q&A website.  That page will also be the place to follow the interview, or catch up on it after it has finished.

 I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that the BBC’s The Sky At Night magazine has chosen The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth as their June book of the month. Kate Oliver has given it a four-star review, saying that: “the story is well paced and draws the reader along throughout.”

 

The review is not on line yet but you can read it alongside a mini interview with me, by Will Gater in the June issue, available in newsagents now.



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