Amazon UK is reporting a 491 per cent rise in sales of telescopes as the British turn their eyes skyward after watching Stargazing Live with Professor Brian Cox.

So much did the viewing public enjoy Stargazing Live that telescope sales went up six-fold in the three hours after it aired after 3.8m people tuned in earlier this week.

Neil Campbell, camera and photo store manager at Amazon.co.uk, explained: "Each time the popular physicist appears on TV we see a jump in telescope sales and that would appear to point to a significant 'Brian Cox effect' encouraging a renewed interest in stargazing."

Things can only get better

Professor Brian Cox, whose glory days as the keyboard player in D:Ream are too often overlooked, has been responsible for the astronomy renaissance as impressionable young geeks and women of a certain age fall under the spell of his enthusiastic grin and incredibly large brain.

Astronomy hipsters who have been tracking the heavens since before Cox even picked up his first telescope, yeah, are no doubt outraged at the mainstreamification of their niche pastime.

But it's happy days for Amazon whose virtual tills are ringing as its telescopic goods, priced from £18, sell like hot cakes - and yet more proof that tools like Zeebox, which allow you to purchase goods seen on TV as you watch, are going to get more and more useful in the coming years.

Those who can't be bothered faffing around with telescopes and that, why not take a trip into the stratosphere from your desktop? Here's how.