The Sky at Night

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Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 1, 2010 - Science - 169 pages
When I became the producer of the Sky at Night in 2002, I was given some friendly advice: “It’s a quiet little programme, not much happens in astronomy.” How wrong they were! It’s been a hectic and enthralling time ever since:, with missions arriving at distant planets; new discoveries in our Universe; and leaps in technology, which mean amateurs can take pictures as good as the Hubble Space Telescope. What a privilege it is to work on a programme with such a huge heritage! I am constantly amazed looking back at the flotilla of excellent programmes which have gone out over the past five decades. The Sky at Night has always been at the sharp end of science broadcasting, whether it’s showing the first view from the far side of the Moon or pictures of a new comet which has swept into our sky. Viewers can depend on Sir Patrick to tell them the latest news and explain what it means. It’s an outstanding achievement and Sir Patrick still holds the world record for being the same presenter on the longest running TV programme. Our guests love coming down to Farthings, Sir Patrick’s home. For them, me- ing him is like meeting their astronomical hero. Over the past five decades, the Sky at Night has managed to talk to the space scientists and astronomers making the landmark discoveries. No matter how busy they are, they make room for Sir Patrick.
 

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Contents

Eye on the Universe
2
The Turbulent Sun
5
Comet Crash
9
The Search for Life Elsewhere
13
Mapping the Sky
17
News from the Planets
19
Spanish Ring
25
The Sizes of the Stars
29
SuperWASP
91
Scorpion in the Sky
95
The August Perseids
99
Black Holes And Black Magic
103
Jodrell Bank Fiftieth Anniversary
107
The Grand Collision
109
Holmes Comet
113
Cosmic Debris
116

The Edge of the Solar System
33
The Telescopes of Mauna Kea
37
Turkish Delight
41
Ringed World
45
Matter We Cannot See
49
GammaRay Bursters
53
Wandering Giants
56
The Problem of Pluto
61
Nonidentical Twins
64
The Sounds of the Stars
69
SpaceMan
72
Exploring Mars
77
The Lakes of Titan
81
Fiftieth Anniversary
87
Nearest Star
121
The Flight of the Phoenix
125
Devils Advocate
129
Galaxy Zoo
133
Four Hundred Years of the Telescope
137
The Merry Dancers
141
The Fountains of Enceladus
145
The Herschel Telescope
148
Onward to the Moon
153
Forty Years on
159
Impact
161
Life?
163
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Sir Patrick Moore is one of the world's leading popularisers of astronomy. He has written more than 100 books and presented his BBC TV program The Sky at Night every four weeks since 1957, making it the world's longest running television program of any kind. While still in school, he became a member of the British Astronomical Association (BAA) and was later appointed director of Brockhurst Observatory. He served as director of the Armagh Planetarium between 1965 and 1968. He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (and a Jackson Gwillt medallist), a member of the International Astronomical Union, a holder of the Goodacre medal, and former president and current life vice-president of the BAA. A minor planet (# 2602) has been named after him. He was knighted in November 2000. He was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society. As the presenter of the record breaking The Sky at Night series, Patrick was awarded a BAFTA in 2000. The most important research Patrick has carried out has been about the Moon. He is credited with discovering the Mare Orientale. He did this with his "traditional" 12 1/2 inch reflector, which still sits proudly in his front garden. His maps of the Moon were among those used by the Russians in 1959 to correlate the first Lunik 3 pictures of the far side. He was also at NASA for the lunar mapping prior to the Apollo missions. Chris Lintott, the co-star of the latest episodes of Sky at Night, has a massive fan base that derives equally from The Sky at Night and from his paradigm-shifting astronomy website Galaxy Zoo, which has some 150,000 members.

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