Jon Culshaw gives Oxford's rogue planet a voice

Impressionist Jon Culshaw is helping Oxford University scientists to take viewers on a tour of the ancient solar system and discover strange new worlds.

In a new animation launched today the star mimic is the voice of 'Sol i', a rogue planet ejected from our solar system 3.8 billion years ago when space rocks bombarded the earliest worlds orbiting our Sun.

The launch has been planned to coincide with the opening week of the Oxfordshire Science Festival.

The animation, Rogue Planet, is the latest video from Oxford Sparks, a web portal giving people access to some of the exciting science happening at Oxford University. The space tourist who accompanies Sol i is our animated hero Ossie, a friendly green popsicle who has previously taken a fantastic voyage inside a volcano's plumbing system, as well as investigating heart attacks, the coldest things in the Universe, and the Large Hadron Collider.

Jon Culshaw said: 'At over five times the size of the Earth, Sol i is certainly the biggest character I've ever taken on. I liked the idea that the animation could turn an ancient world into a real character who could take us on a tour of our solar system’s past and the strange planets online volunteers are helping us to discover today. It also seemed right to give Sol i a Scottish accent because… well it just did.'

Dr Chris Lintott of Oxford University's Department of Physics, who was lead scientific advisor on the project, said: 'The animation takes viewers to the edge of scientific knowledge about the history of our Solar System. The discovery of so many planets around other stars (some of which we visit!) has led us to rethink the early history of our own home, and we now believe that things might have been much more dramatic than we would otherwise have expected. I think the animation shows a possible past in a very accessible and amusing way, and we also hope it'll inspire people to go to and make more spectacular discoveries.'

Top image:Karen Cheung at Jelly London. Photo: impressionist Jon Culshaw.