A VISITING astronaut asked the villagers of Star to turn off their lights last week and turn their gaze to the heavens to observe the night sky.

Astronaut Tim Peake, only the seventh Brit to have visited space, stopped by Star, near Llanfyrnach, to encourage the pupils of Ysgol Clydau to turn their gaze upwards and explained some of what they could see in the night sky.

Western Telegraph:

“It’s really wild,” said mum Clare Adamson. “To have someone here who has looked down on the earth, to see something of such beauty.”

Ms Adamson added: “It’s amazing for my son, who’s seven, he’s never going to get a chance to see pictures like this unless he becomes an astronaut.

“Things like this are really inspiring, for kids to see what is outside the sphere of west Wales.”

Mr Peake spoke to the children about what it was like training to be an astronaut and how he had fallen in love with taking pictures in space while on a recent mission.

Western Telegraph:

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.

He added: "I think it's great to get kids involved in photography if that's their passion, but the great thing is with smartphones is that you don't have to have all the equipment to be able to go outside, take a photo of the Milky Way and enjoy something you have captured.

"And also [they can] think, hang on a second, we are part of a bigger universe, a bigger system, and I think that people sometimes these days forget to look up at the stars and see that it is an incredible sight."

Western Telegraph:

Asked if going to space ever settles in, Mr Peake said: "It does, but on a daily basis something reminds me of the mission or takes me back to being onboard the space station and the view of earth from space. It's something that will stay with me forever."

Mr Peake said he would love to see more British astronauts in the future and said maybe some could come from Star.

"Now when I go to speak to children and go to speak to schools, they cans see that there is a pathway to becoming an astronaut," he said.

"We are part of the European Space Agency and with commercial missions coming up in the future, there is more than just one way of getting into space.

"So, I would like to think that Britain has a very exciting future ahead of it in terms of human space flight. I would love to see more British astronauts."

Western Telegraph:

The event was put together in partnership with Google, who were encouraging the residents to try out the new night sky mode on their new Pixel 4 phone.

Local county councillor Rob Bowen said he thought the whole thing was a wind-up when he was first contacted about having Mr Peake come to the village.

“Star is a very small place – It’s going to be something the children here remember for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Western Telegraph:

“Experiences like this don’t usually happen in our town so when everyone got wind of the opportunity, we all came together to turn off the lights for a special evening with Tim. It was fascinating and made us even more grateful for our incredible night sky.”

“It was absolutely fantastic, I can’t reiterate that enough. The children were all really engaged and Tim was great with them.

“He has provided them with inspiration and who knows, maybe the next spaceman could be from Star.”