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Horizon seeing stars.


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Excellent programme.

I do feel sorry for the astronomers up at the VLT.. All that amazing night sky only to be stuck indoors under florescent lights. I think I'd be on regular 15 minute smoke breaks.

As for the James Webb Telescope.. If that gets cancelled then I think we should start one of those e-petitions calling for the cancelling of the London Olympics and diverting the £9.2bn saved into funding the shortfall. I can certainly do without a few weeks of men running around in tight lycra pants if it means advancing our understanding of the universe. :)

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Was a good programme. I've been disappointed by the last couple of series of Horizon as a lot of the programmes felt like 30 min radio scripts that had been stretched into 60 min TV shows by repeating everything at least 4 times and having lots of moody filler shots.

I'm glad to see that this series has got off to a much better start.

I have to say that I think the JWST will be cancelled. America is technically bankrupt, pure and simple, (as are we here in the UK) and there appears to be no appetite on The Hill to sell 'space stuff' to the American public at the current time. Terribly sad but, once again, a dreadfully managed NASA project if you believe the rumblings.

Edited by ScoobyStoo
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Watched it last night - amazing, all those stars and from my back garden I can hardly see any of them :)

It was good though - particularly like the hotel in the desert!! As there's no natural water, it must have taken some doing to fill the pool!!

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As there's no natural water, it must have taken some doing to fill the pool!!

Paranal gets two tankers of water delivered each day...

I should also point out that the pool/plants in the residencia are needed to keep the humidity up at a sensible level -- the ambient humidity up there is usually <10%, which means your lips/nose/eyes get in a pretty bad way if you don't increase the humidity inside. Just before people start thinking that astronomers are having a massive skive in a cool hotel in the middle of the desert :)

(but it is by far the coolest observatory I've ever been to)

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I've been disappointed by the last couple of series of Horizon as a lot of the programmes felt like 30 min radio scripts that had been stretched into 60 min TV shows by repeating everything at least 4 times

They weren't even sixty minutes - they were forty-nine - thus indicating (to me at least) that they were designed to be sliced up with advert breaks to make up one 1 hour's length for other TV networks around the world. The repetition - when it happens - normally indicates where an advert break would be inserted on commercial TV stations (it's a mini-summary of the programme so far)

However, these new Horizon programmes are sixty minutes long once again. Maybe they had too many complaints of the apparent dumbing-down of the programme due to the "insert adverts here" format of the previous series?

Edited by great_bear
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They weren't even sixty minutes - they were forty-nine - thus indicating (to me at least) that they were designed to be sliced up with advert breaks to make up one 1 hour's length for other TV networks around the world. The repetition - when it happens - normally indicates where an advert break would be inserted on commercial TV stations (it's a mini-summary of the programme so far)

However, these new Horizon programmes are sixty minutes long once again. Maybe they had too many complaints of the apparent dumbing-down of the programme due to the "insert adverts here" format of the previous series?

Yep, sounds about right. 47-49 UK TV minutes equals a US TV hour.

I genuinely have no idea why programme makers assume that their audience has been lobotomised in every ad break and needs to be reminded of the story so far...

Still, I've enjoyed the first couple of programmes so high hopes for the rest of them.

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I must say that I was very disappointed in this program, the shots of the scopes/night sky/aircraft were very nicely done but the content was very thin, how many times do we need to be told the VLT was in the Atacama desert high up because it was very dry and then cut to the same old shot of the milkyway moving across the sky with the telescope domes zapping around.

Adaptive optics... no real nformation, the black hole... oh there it is! but no more info...etc etc...watch them have breakfast... oh it was a good night we had....but nothing more.

Sorry maybe I am being a techno snob here but the very old Horizons with the likes of Carl Sagan et al told us real science with real detail, explained the technology and the theories in some depth, ok without the heavy mathematics, the Horizon programs used to be properly informative not repetetive.

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Still, I've enjoyed the first couple of programmes so high hopes for the rest of them.

"Do you see what I see" (the one about colour vision) was particularly interesting at the end (the rest was kinda obvious), when they showed the tribe of people that couldn't distinguish between colours that we found easy, but could easily detect a faint change of hue invisible to western eyes.

However, there were two missed areas of exploration there:

1) Since the colours were on a TV monitor, they were RGB based. Our perception matches the monitor - howcome they couldn't see such an objectively measurable difference?

2) They concluded there was a match with linguistic descriptions of colour, ignoring the classic chicken/egg nature of such a hypothesis.

Edited by great_bear
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I must say that I was very disappointed in this program, the shots of the scopes/night sky/aircraft were very nicely done but the content was very thin, how many times do we need to be told the VLT was in the Atacama desert high up because it was very dry and then cut to the same old shot of the milkyway moving across the sky with the telescope domes zapping around.

Adaptive optics... no real nformation, the black hole... oh there it is! but no more info...etc etc...watch them have breakfast... oh it was a good night we had....but nothing more.

Sorry maybe I am being a techno snob here but the very old Horizons with the likes of Carl Sagan et al told us real science with real detail, explained the technology and the theories in some depth, ok without the heavy mathematics, the Horizon programs used to be properly informative not repetetive.

I think you will continue to be disappointed I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure that Horizon has the a different target audience these days. The current remit for the programme is to make science accessible and interesting to the masses. That's why it's shown on Beeb2. All the really high brow stuff has been purposely pushed over to Beeb4.

I have no problem with that. Anything which gets science out to the masses is a good thing in my book. I don't think it's dumbed down too much. My other half doesn't have a scientific cell in her body and it's pitched at just the right level to interest her.

For really good programming though you can't do better than putting good old Jim Al Khalili at the helm. By far the most engaging science broadcaster at the moment IMHO. The Beeb really should make more of his talents.

Edited by ScoobyStoo
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I think you will continue to be disappointed I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure that Horizon has the a different target audience these days. The current remit for the programme is to make science accessible and interesting to the masses. That's why it's shown on Beeb2. All the really high brow stuff has been purposely pushed over the Beeb4.

I have no problem with that. Anything which gets science out to the masses is a good thing in my book. I don't think it's dumbed down too much. My other half doesn't have a scientific cell in her body and it's pitched at just the right level to interest her.

For really good programming though you can't do better than putting good old Jim Al Khalili at the helm. By far the most engaging science broadcaster at the moment IMHO. The Beeb really should make more of his talents.

I have no problem to bring science to the masses but why could the BBC kept Horizon pitched at the original level of years ago and do other programs more for the main stream?

The BBC as you pointed out have done some excellent scientific series but please at least put some more real information in Horizon episodes.

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I have no problem to bring science to the masses but why could the BBC kept Horizon pitched at the original level of years ago and do other programs more for the main stream?

The BBC as you pointed out have done some excellent scientific series but please at least put some more real information in Horizon episodes.

I understand your point. I think they are pushing this content out under the Horizon banner because it's such a well known and respected brand. Much easier to piggy back on something which is well established than to create a new identity. Did you see the amount of promos the Beeb had to do for Wonders Of The Universe to get it out to the mainstream audience.

Interesting comment about 'real information'. What you define as 'real information' is very different to what someone without a scientifically tuned mind might consider 'real information'. My other half watched it and kept asking me questions. Almost all of that content was new to her and she would certainly have considered it interesting information.

I did an IT contract a few years ago within the Communications Dept at the Institute Of Physics and learned a lot from those guys about just how hard it is to introduce science into popular culture.

Cheer up, whilst Horizon might not be targeted at our level anymore, at least we have the wonderful Beeb4. :)

Edited by ScoobyStoo
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Perhaps they could borrow the idea of TOTP2 and do a "Horizon 2" for BBC4, aimed at a better-informed audience?

Would be a great opportunity to wheel out some of the old footage of Carl Sagan flared up to the max and wearing one of his killer kipper ties. :)

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What I meant by "real information" would for example, in this program to instead of just saying .... the stars are distorted by the atmosphere so we use a laser to fix it ....the end, they could have explained how they distort the mirrors with actuators to compensate, not rocket science but interesting and informative, they certainly had time to do this instead of repeating about how dry the Atacama desert is!

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