How Space Helped Me Through Lockdown


I have always been amazed by space. From visiting the new planetarium in Bristol for my birthday to being really excited for the space topic in science at primary school, I have always found it fascinating. One issue is that I live in a big city and so the light pollution always made it hard for me to see the stars. That is why my love for space was reignited and flourished during lockdown. As less cars took to the roads, light pollution levels in Bristol dropped and I could finally see the stars. I jumped at this chance to spend as many evenings as possible sitting in my garden staring at the sky and as many days researching what to look out for.

When I was younger, I was given a little book of constellations. It had a little compass in the front cover and instructions on how to find the constellations in the sky so you could work out what you were looking at. After spending some of lockdown using this, my mum and I upgraded to a stargazing app, SkyView. This allowed me to aim my phone at the sky and uncover the world above. It shows the constellations, planets and more. Me and my mum would spend ages walking around outside, craning our necks to the sky to try and work out where the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt were.

As lockdown progressed, we dug up our old telescope, which sadly no longer worked, took blankets and cups of tea outside so we could stay out for longer and even monitored twitter pages and more to look out for meteor showers. My mum and I would spend work and study breaks tracking the International Space Station and setting alarms on our phones so we didn’t miss it fly overhead. I have always found the International Space Station to be one of the most incredible things about space. I find it surreal and unbelievable that there are real people up there, seeing our planet from the stars.

During lockdown, there were several big events happening at NASA too, from spacewalks to the SpaceX Dragon capsule launch. I loved keeping an eye on all these events and it really gave me something to look forward to. The rocket launch, spacewalks, and more were all livestreamed on YouTube too. I even went outside to watch the rocket fly over us after watching the livestream but sadly it was too low for us to see. I loved looking forward to them and watching them. They provided structure to the long, lockdown days.

Space and stargazing really helped me through lockdown. It gave me something to look forward to, provided some form of structure and allowed me to reignite my love for space and the stars. It brought me and my loved ones closer together too, from messaging my partner to look out the window at the rocket launch at the same time as me to telling my friends that there was a spacewalk next week. Though the light pollution has now returned and there is more to do on an evening as lockdown lifts, I still love to take a look at the stars.


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