People don’t know their Uranus from Eridanus when it comes to astronomy

Most Brits don’t know the shape of the moon or why lunar eclipses happen

Maira Butt
Friday 27 October 2023 17:41 BST
<p>Bonnie Tyler uses Jaffa Cakes to explain lunar eclipses</p>

Bonnie Tyler uses Jaffa Cakes to explain lunar eclipses

A poll of 2,000 adults has found 49 per cent don’t know what a lunar eclipse is and 84 per cent wrongly believe the moon is round. Only 12 per cent were right in saying it is egg shaped.

While 66 per cent claim to be fascinated by space science, 18 per cent are unaware how the moon impacts tides, and 33 per cent have no idea what a black hole is.

And 12 per cent thought the moon emits light - when in fact it reflects light from the sun.

It also emerged 62 per cent didn’t realise there were eight planets in the solar system, with 58 per cent unaware Mercury was the smallest planet.

The research was commissioned ahead of the partial lunar eclipse, which will be visible across the UK on Saturday 28th October, by Jaffa Cakes, which has been educating Brits about eclipses since its iconic 1999 ad.

Now, it has teamed up with Total Eclipse Of The Heart star and fellow eclipse enthusiast Bonnie Tyler to create a new educational video to explain the lunar phenomena.

The iconic McVities TV ad recreated phases of the moon

Bonnie Tyler, who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of her hit single this year, said: “Given my connection to eclipse-related matters, I was very happy to collaborate with Jaffa Cakes to educate Britain about the science behind this magnificent lunar phenomenon.

“I hope that after watching this video, people throughout the UK will gain a deeper understanding of the night sky.”

The study also found 31 per cent think the earth orbits the sun 365 times a year – when in fact, it’s only once.

While half didn’t know that the moon orbits the earth, with 48 per cent unaware Earth itself moves around the sun.

Only seven per cent knew a lunar eclipse is taking place on the 28th October – but after learning this, four in 10 said they’d like to watch it.

Most Brits incorrectly believe the moon is round when it is in fact egg-shaped

Carried out via OnePoll, the research also found 46 per cent would like to go up to space and see it for themselves.

But just 12 per cent describe their knowledge of astronomy as ‘good’ - even though 45 per cent remember learning about it at school.

To pay homage to the iconic song, the brand has also partnered with superstar DJ, Majestic, to remix Total Eclipse of the Heart – with a twist – including a sample of Bonnie reciting the iconic Jaffa Cake’s catchphrase of ‘Full Moon, Half Moon, Total Eclipse’.

Aslı Özen Turhan, at McVitie’s UK & Ireland, said: “We’re so pleased that McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes can continue to act as a tasty tool for future generations to learn about the workings of the solar system and eclipses in an entertaining way – and who better to team up with than the queen of eclipses herself, Bonnie Tyler.

“We hope many people will enjoy this lesson and feel they know just a bit more about the night sky.”

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