The Sky at Night

It seems like only yesterday that I was muttering about Tomorrow’s World. In fact, it was only yesterday. Which leads quite nicely into this post. Another programme I always used to try to catch was The Sky at Night, which has always been presented by Sir Patrick Moore, a highly respected amateur astronomer who is probably responsible for leading more British professional astronomers into their careers than anyone else. Than everyone else put together, quite likely. His TV appearances and many books certainly inspired me when I was growing up.

The Sky at Night runs once a month, and Sir Patrick has only missed presenting one episode since it began in 1957. Yes, it’s coming up to its 50th anniversary, which is a remarkable achievement for any TV programme, and even more so for one that deals with a specialist subject and has never even come close to the insidious dumbing-down that has made most popular science programmes unwatchable. As the programme tends to be on at odd times, I watch it from the CD that comes with the monthly Sky at Night magazine rather than trying to remember to record it or even watch it live. It means I see it a month or two late, but I can live with that.

Anyway, the 650th programme is on this month, which is as good a point as any to mark the 50th anniversary, but BBC News reports that Sir Patrick is not altogether pleased with the latest timeslot. It’s normally on quite late, but 1:55am seems to be going a bit far. British-born astronaut Piers Sellers is on the show, and perhaps a better time could have been found, if only for this anniversary programme.