Starry Ride: Astronomers Have Created A Night Sky Tube Map

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 26 months ago

Last Updated 15 March 2022

Starry Ride: Astronomers Have Created A Night Sky Tube Map
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Just when we thought every possible alternative tube map idea had been realised, the experts at Royal Observatory Greenwich have hit us with another — the night sky tube map.

Astronomers teamed up with TfL to create the space -themed offering. Each of the 11 London Underground lines, plus the DLR, Overground, trams, TfL Rail and Emirates Air Line represents a different astronomical subject.

The Circle line shows objects within the solar system — our home planet replaces Mansion House, with Saturn at Bayswater and gas giant Jupiter taking over Euston Square.

Comets have taken over the Hammersmith & City line, with Halley's Comet and Hale-Bop making an appearance, with stations at the end of the Metropolitan line represented by spacecraft including Rosetta, Voyager 1 and the International Space Station.

There's plenty to keep space experts busy, with phrases such as 'cosmology' and 'exotic astrophysics' bandied around, but casual space observers will see plenty they recognise too.

The map was created to coincide with NASA's Mars 2020 mission, which launched in July 2020 and touched down on the Red Planet in February 2021 — so about the time it takes to travel the entire length of the Central line.

Gone all starry-eyed at the thought? Copies of the map are available to buy — along with magnets, mugs, tea towels and the like — from the Royal Museums Greenwich shop. Posters are available from the London Transport Museum Shop. Funds raised will support the museums, and be reinvested into the transport network by TfL.

Julie Dixon, Head of Customer Information Design & Partnerships at Transport for London, said:

London’s transport network is recognised the world over and has been a symbol of the city for more than 150 years. We are delighted to work with the Royal Observatory on this new map, which provides a fun and engaging way of learning more about our night sky. We hope this map will soon adorn the walls of future astronomers, astronauts and space explorers.