The worlds of stargazing and seafaring are intricately entangled, with celestial navigation playing a huge role in history's most important nautical endeavours. The National Maritime Museum, then, is an appropriate venue for a genuinely stellar exhibition opening next week.
Visions of the Universe showcases over 100 drawings, charts and photographs that trace our relationship with the night sky from thousands of years ago to the present day. Exhibition-goers can see handmade approximations of the heavens from the medieval period, undertaken with only the most primitive technology, alongside astonishing panoramas captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and the world's biggest observatories.
The National Maritime Museum has collaborated with NASA, the Russian space programme and the European Southern Observatory to make a number of captivating images public for the first time. Finalists from the Royal Observatory's Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition will also have their work showcased.
If seeing these glittering galaxies, spectacular nebulae and serene interplanetary vistas leaves you wishing space travel was possible, pay a visit to the exhibition's Mars Window – an amazing simulation of standing on the Martian surface.
The Mars Window is a panoramic projection of images from NASA's Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers – painstakingly stitched together to create one enormous landscape. At 13 metres long, it's the closest we're likely to come to visiting the red planet just yet.
Visitors can also participate in a lively programme of related events, including talks from scientists Dr Chris Lintott and Dr Lucy Green from the BBC's The Sky at Night. There's even a handful of Sci-Fi Film Nights, screening genre classics like the 1953 adaptation of War of the Worlds, It Came from Outer Space and This Island Earth.
Visions of the Universe opens on June 7th and runs until September 15th, so those staying in London hotels this summer have plenty of opportunities to pay a visit. Tickets cost £8 for adults and just £2.50 for children.