Stargazing Live returns for three nights to BBC Two with Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain
Stargazing Live returns for a three-night series set to encourage everyone – from the complete beginner to the enthusiastic amateur – to make the most of the night sky. Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain will broadcast live from the control room of the Jodrell Bank radio observatory in Cheshire, interacting live with the audience and calling on a starry collection of the country’s finest astronomical minds to explore the majestic wonders of the skies above Britain.
As they showcase breathtaking images from the world’s most powerful telescopes, Brian and Dara will be joined by celebrities and scientific experts including Mark Thompson, Liz Bonnin, space nut Jon Culshaw and guest of honour Captain Eugene Cernan, the last man ever to walk on the surface of the moon.
In an information packed jaunt across the cosmos, Brian and Dara will look at Moons (episode 1), the Galaxy (episode 2) and the Search For Life (episode 3), teaching us everything we’ve always wanted to know about the Solar System, our Milky Way and the deepest recesses of space.
In their own unique style, the pair will tackle some of the most intriguing questions in astronomy, such as Why Does the Moon Cause The Tides?, How Do We Know Where Black Holes Are When They Are impossible To See? and What Will We Actually Say If We Ever Make Contact With An Alien Race? Closer to home, there will also be hints and tips for getting started in stargazing and advice on navigating your way around the skies.
Following each night’s Stargazing Live episode will be Stargazing Live: Back To Earth, a 30-minute special in which viewers can put questions directly to Brian and Dara, send in their favourite astronomy pictures and take part in astronomy related discussions and debates live on air.
During the series, the Stargazing Live audience (in collaboration with the citizen science organisation Zooniverse) will be asked to help make scientific history as they’re invited to join an online experiment to discover a brand new planet, far outside the confines of our solar system.
Stargazing Live airs at 8.30pm, Monday 16 January; 8pm, Tuesday 17 January; and 8pm, Wednesday 18 January.
Stargazing Live: Back To Earth goes out at 9.30pm, Monday 16 January; 9pm, Tuesday 17 January; and 9pm, Wednesday 18 January.
The series (3x60) was commissioned by Kim Shillinglaw, Commissioner for Science and Natural History and will be executive produced by Lisa Ausden for BBC Productions. The series producer is Alan Holland. Stargazing Live is co-produced by the Open University.
A Nation of Star Lovers
Last January, up to 40,000 took part in Stargazing Live astronomy events in the UK to coincide with the series. This year, the Stargazing Live team and BBC Learning are hoping even more people get involved, with hundreds of events and Star Parties being organised from Lands End to Aberdeen with the help of partners around the country including Dark Sky Discovery.
Bringing together astronomical societies, museums and discovery centres, country parks and local authorities these exciting events include planetarium shows; star parties; astrophotography; night walks as well as topical talks and discussions contributing to a national stargazing celebration – some of which will be shown on air.
Young people from Glasgow, Salford and London are taking part in a unique Stargazing musical project at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. They’ll be working with BBC LAB, three BBC orchestras and music producers to collect sounds from space using the Lovell Space Telescope and turn them into electronic tracks that will be played on BBC radio stations in January.
BBC Learning has created a range of new and improved Stargazing Live resources including an updated Star and Moon Guide to help beginners keen to get started on the astronomy basics. The trusty companion guide shows how to observe the naked sky with star charts each season, spot major craters and the sites of the Apollo moon landings, keeping the amateur astronomer busy all year round.
The website also features collectible Planetary Activity Cards to help youngsters to learn about the Solar System and downloadable audio and video guides to talk beginners through the process of getting to grips with astronomy.
On Saturday 14 January, BBC Big Screens across the UK will host Stargazing lunchtime events (featuring games and astronomical activities) and will live-link to the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii. A panel of experts (including Professor Brian Cox) will answer 20 burning questions about the universe on screens across the country.
Throughout the series, star snappers are being asked to submit their astronomy snaps online, with Brian and Dara showing a selection of pictures on-air.
To find your nearest event, submit astronomy snaps or download the ever popular Star and Moon Guides, visit the Stargazing website. Teachers can find further information on resources and activities for schools on the Schools section of the site.