Stargazing LIVE

The 4th series of  Stargazing LIVE has been on BBC2 this week. If you haven’t seen it, where have you been? Hiding under a rock? Or locked in a lab writing a conference abstract?!

This year’s programmes covered a variety of topics: space weather and searching for the northern lights in a plane; space exploration with astronauts Chris Hadfield and Walt Cunningham; and searching for, and eventually naming a new galaxy – Spitch won the vote on the night, beating Neinstein by 5 votes to 1 I think.

Does this really need a caption? Probably the most recognisable scientist on TV!

Does this really need a caption? Probably the most recognisable scientist on TV!

Last night Mark and I were lucky enough to be in the studio audience at Jodrell Bank for the live Back to Earth show, broadcast at 9pm after the main show.

We had to arrive at Jodrell Bank about 2 and a half hours before the show even began. When everyone had arrived we were escorted to the main building to watch the 8pm show on TV, just as the rest of the country was doing – only we just a few feet from where it was actually being filmed! But there was no escaping the beady eye of the runners looking after us and sneaking onto the set. They didn’t let us out of their sight for a second, they even escorted us en masse to the loo! And very nice loos they were too, for portaloos!

About 15 minutes before the end of the main programme, we were taken into the studio for the Back to Earth show, and lined up behind the sofa and chairs. Mark managed to get himself well positioned right behind Dara O Briain’s chair; I was somewhat hidden behind someone twice my size!

There is only less than one minute between the two shows, so, although the other guests were already in position, Dara O Briain and Brian Cox came sprinting through from the control room with seconds to spare. There’s quite a fun slow motion video of them running through here that I found earlier today! Questions from viewers and answers to questions posed on the show were coming in all the time (usually on pieces of card thrown in the general direction of Dara O Briain!), it is a really fast-moving show.

The Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott.

The Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott.

Obviously we couldn’t take photos during the live show, but after the show there was a chance to chat to the presenters and guests. As you can see here, we managed to have our photos taken with Brian Cox and The Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott.

Many thanks to Jodrell Bank and the BBC for inviting us to be guests last night, we really enjoyed ourselves.

If you haven’t seen the shows, readers in the UK can catch up on the BBC iplayer.

And if you’ve caught the Stargazing bug, there are still events taking place over the weekend. We’ll be at MOSI tomorrow from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm., please come along and join us. And there are Stargazing LIVE family events at Jodrell Bank on Saturday and Sunday too.

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About Sarah Crowther

I'm a Post Doc in the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group. I study xenon isotope ratios using the RELAX mass spectrometer, to try to learn more about the origins and evolution of our solar system. I look at a wide range of samples from solar wind returned by NASA's Genesis mission to zircons (some of the oldest known terrestrial rocks), from meteorites to presolar grains.
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