Majority of UK adults don’t know our galaxy is called Milky Way, poll claims

One in five respondents believe Sun is a planet

Richard Jenkins
Thursday 24 October 2019 18:40
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Most UK adults don't know the name of our galaxy, a survey suggests
Most UK adults don't know the name of our galaxy, a survey suggests

Could it be that not enough of us have our heads in the clouds?

That appears to be the takeaway message from a new poll commissioned by Google.

A majority of UK adults don’t know our galaxy is called the Milky Way, while 17 per cent believe the entire galaxy is called “Earth”, according to the survey of 3,000 people.

In addition, one in five respondents believe the Sun is a planet, and more than two thirds had no idea the first British person in space was a woman.

Helen Sharman from Sheffield became the first British cosmonaut and the first woman to visit the Mir space station in May 1991.

Across the UK, the results suggested those living in Wales are the least likely to turn their eyes up to the night sky for a spot of stargazing.

But on a positive note, the poll also found online searches for astrophotography growing 29 per cent year-on-year.

Astronaut Tim Peake said: “It’s very hard to describe the feeling of looking at the Earth from space, but when you see stunning images of space taken from Earth it definitely evokes some of that same feeling.

“Now that I have my feet firmly on the ground, it’s been wonderful to share my mission with the public.”

The British astronaut was taken to the village of Star, in Pembrokeshire, to talk to its inhabitants about his love of taking pictures in space.

During the visit, Tim talked to residents of Star and school children from Ysgol Clydau about what they could see in the night sky.

The poll also suggested more than a tenth of the population believe there are 12 planets in our solar system, rather than eight.

But 44 per cent of respondents said they would like to know how to spot the constellations in the sky, and a quarter want to be able to photograph them properly.

And after their partners and children, the most popular person adults would like to stargaze with was revealed as Professor Brian Cox, followed by Sir David Attenborough.

SWNS

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