The Sky at Night

The Sky at Night

Infobox Television
show_name = The Sky at Night


caption = Opening title of the television programme
genre = Astronomy
camera =
picture_format =
runtime = 30 mins
creator =
developer =
executive_producer =
starring = Patrick Moore Chris Lintott
narrated =
country = United Kingdom
network =
first_aired = 24 April 1957
last_aired = present
num_episodes =
list_episodes =
website = http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/spaceguide/skyatnight/
imdb_id = 0262990
tv_com_id =

"The Sky at Night" is a monthly television programme on astronomy produced by the BBC. The show has had the same permanent presenter, Sir Patrick Moore, from its first airing on 24 April 1957, making it one of the longest-running programmes ["One of longest running TV shows" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3869941.stm Retrieved 09/10/07] with the same presenter in television history. [ "Biography of Sir Patrick Moore "http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/spaceguide/skyatnight/patrickmoore.shtml Retrieved 4/Jan/07 ]

The programme's initial and closing theme music is "At the Castle Gate", from the incidental music to "Pelléas et Mélisande" by Jean Sibelius.

Content

The programme covers a wide range of general astronomical and space-related topics. In the past, general topics have included stellar life cycles, radio astronomy, artificial satellites, black holes, neutron stars and many others. The programme also covers what is happening in the night sky at the time it is being broadcast, especially when something less common, such as a comet or a meteor shower, is present.

Explaining the show's enduring appeal, Moore said: "Astronomy's a fascinating subject. You look up... you can't help getting interested and it's there. We've tried to bring it to the people.. it's not me, it's the appeal of the subject." ["Astronomy a fascinating subject" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6238447.stm Retrieved 09/10/07]

Notable guests

Many of the world's leading astronomers have appeared on the show through the years, including Harlow Shapley, who was the first to measure the size of the Milky Way galaxy, Fred Hoyle and Carl Sagan. ["Leading astronomers on The Sky At Night" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6238447.stm Retrieved 09/10/07] Other guests have included Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, astronomer Heather Couper, and Open University professors John Zarnecki, Monica Grady and Colin Pillinger.

In July 2004, Moore was unable to make the broadcast due to a severe bout of Salmonellosis. ["Food poisoning" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3869941.stm Retrieved 09/10/07] He was replaced for this one occasion by the cosmologist Chris Lintott of Oxford University, but returned for the August programme. This is the only occasion in 50 years that Moore has not hosted the programme.

Brian May (of Queen fame), a Ph.D. in Astrophysics ["Queen Guitarist Brian May Gets Astrophysics Doctorate" http://www.space.com/entertainment/070824_brian_may.html Retrieved 01/23/08] , is a guest on the show from time to time.

On 1 April 2007, Sir Patrick presented the 50th Anniversary edition of the show, a special "time travel" edition which included the appearance of Jon Culshaw.

Commemorative honours

The International Astronomical Union celebrated the 50th anniversary of the show by naming asteroid 57424 Caelumnoctu (the number referring to the first broadcast date and the name being Latin for "The Sky at Night").

In February 2007 the Royal Mail issued a set of [http://www.ianridpath.com/stamps/2007.htm six astronomy stamps] to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the programme.

In the Guiness Book of World Records, Patrick Moore is listed as the most prolific presenter in the world, having hosted all but one episode of the Sky at Night since 1957.

References

External links

*bbc.co.uk|id=skyatnight|title="The Sky at Night"
* [http://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/ Official Sky at Night Magazine Website]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6238447.stm 650th programme on 8th January 2007]
* [http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2007/04/go-for-the-sibelius-you-wont-be-sorry/ Review of the 50th anniversary programme on Freaky Trigger]


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