Stargazing Live cancelled despite interest in astronomy during pandemic

Jane Corscadden August 17, 2020
Stargazing Live cancelled despite interest in astronomy during pandemic

Stargazing Live, the BBC’s programme focusing on all the latest news and best views of the night sky, has been cancelled despite Brits’ increased interest in astronomy during lock-down.

Rumours have been circulating for a while about the show’s cancellation. We even had a close call back in 2018, with co-host Professor Brian Cox taking that year’s show to Australia instead.

The announcement was today confirmed by co-host Dara O’Briain. His tweet announcing the BBC’s decision was deleted, though other tweets about the beloved series remained:

Stargazing as a lock-down hobby

This news comes amid findings that during the coronavirus lock-down, more Britons than ever were turning astronomy into a hobby.

According to John Mason of the British Astronomical Association, there has been a “huge interest” in astronomy during this period, with more people than ever viewing the Association’s YouTube channel. Mason puts this growth down to people finally having time to pursue their hobbies.

Also, because fewer people are leaving their homes, light pollution has reduced, making skies clearer. Hobbyist astronomers can thank their lucky stars, as this creates the perfect stargazing conditions.

Photo by Félix Besombes on Unsplash

The Widescreen Centre, a UK-based supplier of astronomy equipment, also saw an increase in business during lock-down. Their sales for April 2020 were 50% higher that the same month last year.

For many new home-astronomers, the cancellation of Stargazing Live will create a huge gap in TV viewing this year. However, past episodes of the show will live on through the BBC iPlayer.

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Jane is a freelance journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland specialising in news, culture and politics. She studied Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before completing a Journalism MA at the University of Ulster. Always trawling social media and keeping up to date with the latest trends and crazes, her main interest lies in digital culture and internet trends.