Stargazing LIVE: More secrets to be uncovered

Astronomer

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I have been fascinated by the night sky ever since I was a child.

I remember seeing Saturn through a telescope for the first time when I was about 10 years old, and the sight was nothing short of magical.

Seeing Saturn, rings and all, hovering against the velvet black sky ignited a fire in me that has been raging ever since.

Professor Brian Cox: Stargazing LIVE series two trailer

One of the key things that has helped maintain this passion is that no matter how much we learn about the Universe, there will always be more secrets to be uncovered.

It's been fantastic to be the astronomer on Stargazing LIVE, to work with Dara O'Briain and Brian Cox along with an incredible crew.

In the last series this involved me teaching astronomy to Jonathan Ross in his back garden, explaining how to take astronomical photographs and showing people the wonders of the night sky live on national TV.

It's been manic in the run up to this second series. Already we have two short film sequences complete, one which is a beginner's guide to telescopes and binoculars and another which is about light pollution.

Trying to get people to think about the amount of excess light they are using is one of the big themes of the series.

We want to demonstrate that even the smallest places create a heck of a lot of light, so I'm now on my way to Dulverton in Somerset to prepare for this year's biggest challenge - on the third night I will be attempting to get all the lights of the town simultaneously turned off live on air!

I'm pretty nervous about this as it relies entirely on people responding positively and agreeing to join in. It's all out of my hands when it comes to the show regardless of how much work we put in campaigning over the next two days.

Stargazing series one: Jonathan meets Jupiter

There are loads of other great things coming up in the new series too and we want you to get involved.

You can send in your pictures and questions to the team and we will try to answer as many as possible in the follow-on show Stargazing LIVE: Back To Earth which happens straight after Stargazing LIVE.

There are also hundreds of events up and down the country for you to go along to.

We've also got some great new graphics plus an updated star and moon guide and loads of other resources downloadable from the website to show you what you can look for in the skies over the UK during January so you can get out and stargaze for yourselves.

Last year's show was great, even my 'missed meteor moment' was hilarious but we have loads of bigger and better things planned for this year and frankly, I can't wait for the first show.

Mark Thompson is the astronomer on Stargazing LIVE.

Series two of Stargazing LIVE begins on Monday, 16 January at 8.30pm on BBC Two and BBC HD. For further programme times, please see the upcoming epsiodes page.

On Thursday, 19 January at 2pm, Professor Brian Cox will present a live, interactive lesson from Jodrell Bank in collaboration with The Big Bang Fair. All UK schools can join in on the BBC red button.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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