The Butterfly Nebula, part of an exibition of astronomical images at the National Maritime Museum (© Nasa ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)
Visions of the Universe National Maritime Museum, from 7th June
This self-described “collection of some of the best astronomical photographs ever made” brings together so many science history firsts that it can be hard to form an adequate response. The exhibition starts with the origins of astronomical imaging, with hand drawings Galileo made as he looked through his telescope. It goes on to explain the significance of other landmark images, such as photographs Edwin Hubble took in 1923, which proved that galaxies beyond ours exist. The beauty of these images is not overlooked. The winning entries from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition are on display too, with images capturing the skies in often personal ways.
The most exhilarating exhibit is the “Mars Window.” A curved screen 13m wide, it shows images transmitted live to Earth from the Mars Curiosity Rover, launched in 2011. In April, Mars was obscured from the Earth by the Sun, and communication with spacecraft paused. Transmission will resume just in time for the opening of this exhibition.
If Only Minerva Theatre, Chichester, 14th June to 27th July
David Edgar invariably gives left-wing drama a good name, chiefly because he’s very clever, knows his stuff and is good at identifying crisis points in history. This time, he’s speculating about the 2015 election in a meeting of three politicians from the major parties. So you’ll soon be able to say, “Have you seen the one about the Labour special advisor, the Lib Dem staffer and the Tory candidate?” The three of them first meet in Malaga airport in April 2010, stranded there by the Icelandic ash cloud.
Now it’s August 2014 and, as the nation prepares for the centenary of the First World War, they meet again. One of them has some information that could radically change the election outcome. I don’t think we’re necessarily talking a projected Ukip landslide here, or a deal with Nigel Farage, though you never know with Edgar; he’s unlikely to sound anything but bang on the money and right up to date.
Behind the Candelabra On release from 14th June
In 2005 the drama Brokeback Mountain, about a…