STOP PRESS: BRIAN will be on SKY NEWS live tonight at 6.45pm, in advance of the global online book launch for Cosmic Clouds 3-D.
TRANSCRIPT (by Jen Tunney, E&OE):
MARK AUSTIN: Right. This is the News Hour At Six and coming next – see the stars like you’ve never seen them before. I’ll be speaking to the rock legend and also Astrophysicist. , Brian May.
Welcome back. The rock legend, Brian May is also famously an astrophysicist. Now he’s offering us the chance to see the stars like we’ve never seen them before. His new stereoscopic book, “Cosmic Clouds 3-D” takes readers inside nebulae, the birthplace of the stars, and Brian May joins me now. There he is. Thanks very much for being with us. So a big night this for Brian May, the astrophysicist. Tell us about this virtual journey into space that’s happening this evening.
BRIAN MAY: Yeah, we launch at eight o’clock on the Science Museum’s YouTube channel. They’re very kindly hosting it. It’s a journey. It’s amazing. It’s never been done before because these cosmic clouds, these nebulae, are too far away to actually photograph in 3-D. Luckily I came across this amazing person called J-P. Metsavainio, who generates 3-D pictures by using the available astronomical data and he takes the pictures himself. So it’s the first book ever which is actually talking about the nebulae and the way the stars are born within them but also you can see it in 3-D and it’s as if you were there kind floating beside them. It’s amazing.
MARK: Yeah, I’ve been looking at the book and the photographs using this stereoscopy. You better just explain what stereoscopy is.
BRIAN: This is the book. Stereoscopy really is what we all take for granted in everyday life. The fact that we have two eyes instead of one means that we get two views of the universe at any one time, just very slightly different, and things will be slightly in different places between the two views, so with stereoscopy you recreate that. You make sure that the right hand picture gets to the right eye, the left hand picture gets to the left eye. Your brain does the rest – puts them together and magically constructs this 30D image in your brain – in your head. So that’s what we’ll be doing tonight. It’s not only the first launch of such a thing online, but it’s also the first 3-D launch and we’re hoping that people can watch it on their phones.
If you have – if you have one of these [Shows OWL VR Kit and Lite OWL ] then you can watch it in 3-D. If you don’t you can watch it in in 2-D. You can watch it flat if you like but we will be showing some of the pictures tonight at the launch and if you have any kind of stereoscopic viewer you can see them in 3-D with us.
MARK: Yeah well that’s good. I mean this book follows a book on the, you know, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11, the Moon landings. What do you make of what’s happened in the last half century in space?
BRIAN: Been very odd isn’t it? Everyone was very excited and it seems so modern to me the fact that men were on the Moon but in fact 50 years later nobody else went, so it’s very exciting now that the the chase has been taken up again, I think, and obviously we’re heading for Mars as well. It’s amazing. I mean it’s not like nothing happened in that 50 years ‘cos all kinds of probes have been put up there that are unmanned and you get some incredibly exciting results from those as well. I mean I’ve been involved in a couple of missions, particularly the one that went to Pluto, and when those images came in we actually managed to get a 3-D image out of that. It was incredibly exciting to be in the Control Room of New Horizons and you felt you were actually beside Pluto making the fly-by yourselves. It’s great stuff that’s been done over the last 50 years.
MARK: Yeah and Mars, the red planet, is now the subject of great attention obviously with the search going on for signs of life. Where do you stand on this whole idea the possibility of life on Mars?
BRIAN: Ah – it’s a complicated thing. I mean there’s a bit of a worry that we might have polluted it anyway and some of our microbes might be there but, of course, there is kind of cross-pollination between the planets anyway because if there’s a big enough volcanic eruption on Mars, bits of stuff from Mars will land on the Earth – and they have landed on the Earth and vice versa. So there may have been a little bit of interaction anyway. So I think it’s possible we may discover some kind of microbes on Mars but I think it’s fairly well established that it doesn’t have a life as we know it and as far as the rest of the universe, who knows? It’s very hard to tell – the probabilities is very difficult to work out.
MARK: And this whole Space Race now being privatised with these companies, Elon Musk and Branson and Bezos, The blue origin – do you, who do you think will win that?
BRIAN: Oh, God I have no idea really. May the best man win. I don’t know – if I had to put my money – I don’t know – probably Elon.
MARK: Yeah he seems to have the… his determination. I mean do you fancy a quick, if expensive, trip into space? Are you – you could because they’re doing these trips of private astronauts now or planning them to the International Space Station – a) Will it happen and b) Do you want to go?
BRIAN: I think it’ll happen. I think probably my days of astro travelling are over, don’t you think? You know I’m a little old probably I’ll view it from my armchair.
MARK: Yeah, but you seem so passionate about it, I thought you’d be first on the list.
BRIAN: No I don’t particularly want to go up there, I think, I mean I don’t want to do the short trip that’s for sure. If I could sit in the International Space Station for a while and look down on the Earth gradually rotating – yeah, I think I would go for that. I’d settle for that.
MARK: Yeah. Take some Queen music up there. Well listen – good luck tonight. Good luck.
BRIAN: Thank you. Yes we’ll see you eight o’clock on the science museum YouTube channel.
MARK: Yeah okay. Brian, you’ve got your plug in. Thanks very much indeed
BRIAN: Got my plug in. Thank you. Nice to talk to you.
BRIAN MAY: Cosmic Clouds 3-D – Happy publication day 23 Sep 2020
Happy publication day to Cosmic Clouds 3-D!
Brian calls out for you all to join him TONIGHT at the launch of “the world’s first book on nebulae illustrated in 3-D” wh.ere you will be taken on a fantastic journey, spanning the birth, death and recycling of stars.
The Science Museum at 8pm LIVE on YouTube
LINK TO VIEW THE LAUNCH: http://tiny.cc/nmrxsz