Stargazing Live (3×60′) – In a live, three-day, stripped event during the first week of January 2011, Professor Brian Cox will be joined by Dara O’Briain as the pair look to the skies to bring the wonders of the stars into our living rooms.
Though he trained as a physicist Dara is secretly a frustrated astronomer – he’s been living with an unopened telescope in his attic for as long as he can remember. So, Brian takes Dara on a crash course of the skies, showing him how to spot and take pictures of our sky’s marvels. And Brian even finds time to talk to three astronauts currently floating around the International Space Station.
Plus, Jonathan Ross finds out how anyone can be an astronomer, as he’s taught Astronomy 101 by the One Show‘s resident astronomer, Mark Thompson. Over three days, gadget-obsessed Jonathan has to prove that he can navigate the night skies with just a pencil, paper and a humble pair of binoculars.
Based at the world famous Lovell Telescope at the University of Manchester (one of the world’s largest telescopes), Dara and Brian take us on a whistle-stop tour across the galaxy as they identify three of January’s unusual astronomical events – a partial solar eclipse, the Quadrantids Meteor Shower and Jupiter aligning with Uranus.
As well as coaching Jonathan through the basics of astronomy, Mark Thompson will be on-hand to offer viewers at home tips on how to navigate their own way across the skies. And with Liz Bonnin looking up at the clear skies of Hawaii to explain how the stars affect even us during the daytime, our Stargazing Live team will teach us everything that we’ve ever needed to know about our skies.
Online, amateur astronomers are being asked to get snapping and get sharing. Brian is asking astronomers of all levels to share their best photographs of the night skies online, to be showcased during the live shows in January. Whether the pictures are of the moon or the planets, galaxies or nebulae, comets or meteors, the Stargazing team would love to see them. To get their pictures featured live, astronomy snappers can send images to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bbc.co.uk/stargazing for more information.
Free Stargazing Live events will take place across the country to coincide with the broadcast in January. From star parties to sidewalk astronomy sessions, viewers can find an event near them by searching the map at bbc.co.uk/stargazing. Free resources – including star charts and audio guides – will be available online.
Producer: BBC Productions
TX: Early 2011
Source: BBC Press Office