I loved the orreries – the classical one and the CGI one that built out of the original!
Some great space television on BBC4 last night, though most of it was repeats. iPlayer to the rescue, or you can view/record most of them when they’re re-repeated:
* Secrets of the Universe: Great Scientists in their own Words – repeats Wenesday night @ 11pm
* Horizon: Who’s Afraid of a Big Black Hole? – repeats Wednesday night @10pm
* Horizon: 40 Years on the Moon – repeats Tuesday night @ 2am (ie Wednesday morning)
* The Sky at Night – Focusing on Venus and featuring Flamsteed favourite Lucy Green @ UCL – repeats Thursday night @ 7.30pm
* Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race
And tonight @ 9pm, The Comet’s Tale – repeats Thursday night @ 11.30pm
Top TV this evening features honorary Flamsteed member, Dr Francisco Diego, Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL and his colleagues.
‘Seven Ages of Starlight’ (9.45pm on BBC4) considers the epic story of the stars, and how discovering their tale has transformed our own understanding of the universe:
Sounds very interesting! I’ll definitely be watching!
Upcoming programme next Monday night (16th November, 9pm Beeb4): How Britain Won the Space Race: The Story of Bernard Lovell and Jodrell Bank.
Thanks to RAS Library on Twitter for RT’ing Jodrell Bank’s tweet.
Also available on iPlayer in the same series: British Space Race: The Unsung Pioneers of British Space Exploration
A quite interesting programme on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week yesterday – talking about exoplanets and space exploration. I didn’t hear all of it but you can catch up with it (and even download the MP3) here.
Taking part were Astronomer Royal Lord (Martin) Rees, astrophysicist Carole Haswell and science fiction writer Stephen Baxter whose specialisation is starship design, apparently.
science fiction writer Stephen Baxter whose specialisation is starship design, apparently
Hmmmm… is there much call for this line of work? Asking for a friend 😉
Asking for a friend
Is your friend Elon Musk, by any chance?
While some of us were doing marathon lectures or wallet skinning at the Astrofest, last weekend…I came home to discover unexpectedly a whole lot of astronomy programs being recorded on my media centre which I tailor to automatically record anything based on various astronomical keywords (eg, cosmic, cosmos, universe, moon etc”.
It seems, Quest Channel did a SPACE Weekend marathon of various astronomical documentaries, last weekend. Good news is that you can watch all these programs on their Quest on demand.
Lots of great programs on there. So far I have watched, Cosmic collisions and How the Universe Works and will try watch the rest (Apollo 17: Last man on the moon sounds really interesting) . I have no idea how long they keep these programs on for but I suggest watch them quickly.
a whole lot of astronomy programs being recorded on my media centre
‘Media centre’? Is that like an old music centre? 😉
Seriously, though, good work, Tej. I’ll try to work through as many of these as possible.
Yeah, its just like that! Except I place a blu ray on that turntable and memory stick in the tape deck 😀 I really meant to say Windows Media Centre. I am part of a sadly niche community that utilises this feature of some version of Windows in which you can buy or custom build HTPCs (Home theatre PC) which acts as a hub for all multimedia entertainment in the living room. Its just like a normal PC but with added TV tuners which Windows Media Centre detects and provides a very flexible two weekly updated channels guide, like a Sky or Humax box but with more flexibility (such as auto recordings on based on key words I mentioned). But it also acts as an interface to stream all of your home media (photos, videos, music), blu ray playing etc using just the one remote control handset onto your TV.
Microsoft did try to promote it many years ago but I think did a lousy job of it as the interest did not seem to catch on widely which is a shame because its so user friendly yet so flexible and beats all the competitors in that respect. And now with Windows 10, Microsoft has finally ended it but still support the older windows versions. With all of this Video on-demand and stream services such as Netflix, I can understand why HTPCs wont attract so much today but for many years it was a great unsung feature that most people already have on their Windows but only needed to add a couple of TV tuners.
Anyone see the latest Sy at Night show? It was about the new theoretical discovery of the 9th planet. I really like the way they explained how they are so sure that the 9th planet is out there somewhere on a specifically calculated orbit. It was very convincing, based on predictions made on 4 other keiper objects that they later discovered in the exact predicted obits, leading to their certainty that the 9th planet must be out there that influenced the existing kuiper objects current orbits.
Can’t help feeling sorry for the original 9th planet, Pluto, having to sit there and watch a planet that hasn’t even been discovered yet being named the 9th.
Maybe the new planet could be referred to as Planet 9 3/4.
Ha, yeah poor Pluto but I do like S@N’s sci fi title reference to Ed Wood’s “masterpiece”
Prof Jim Al Khalili has a new mini series that started yesterday on BBC called:
The Beginning and End of the Universe.
As usual, Khalili’s delivery and structure is enjoyable but seems to be subscribing to the now obligatory Brian Cox style of “gazing thoughtfully towards the horizon while standing on the peak of a high mountain” complete with orchestral music taken from a Batman movie. To be fair, Khalili only does it once compared to Cox’s 10x per episode…I think because Khalili clearly looks like he’s groping wishfully for a non existent hand rail, while Brian Peter Pan Cox is always comfortably posing with a handful of pixie dust ready for take off.
I have to say, if you are familiar with the historical figures involved in the story of discovering the universe origins, there is nothing much new to learn. However, he gels it all into a very engaging narrative. He glosses over a lot of elements that I would have liked more expansion on but perhaps he will cover more in future episodes. I dont know how many episodes there will be, probably four which is his usual number in past series.
Definitely worth a watch even if you know the stuff as he goes to a few lab sites giving insight on the cosmology work done today compared to how it was done in the past. Plus, it always helps to refresh the memory of names of our past heroes. One in particular that I always admire but have difficulty in making the name stick, is Fr Georges Lemaître (you can tell I had to copy and paste that name!).
Oh there was one particular conversation that gave me a renewed admiration on Hadron Collider. We all know that the collider splits the atom up into sub atomic particles right down to quarks and such (by forcing collisions at near light speed) which of course is impressive. What really shook my senses is when one of the project leaders stated, that at the beginning of the universe, all of these quarks and other sub atomic particles were independent in the “primeordal soup” at the time of the Big Bang (which I also knew) and now finally 13.8 billion years they have been released from their “prison” (ie the atom they are trapped in)…at least for a few moments. What’s more, is probably the only place in the universe where its happening. When he puts it that way, knowledge that I already know suddenly takes on a whole new WOW meaning.
Catch up with it on the BBC Iplayer:
I totally agree with your review of the programme. I believe that there is actually two episodes, next week is about the end of the universe.