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Coco

BBC Stargazing Live - My thoughts

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I quite enjoyed it but one thing really bugged me.

When they went outside and with clear skies, you would have thought they would have actually shown newbies like me what was actually visible in the sky.

Instead all we got was a night camera view of the backs of people.

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How would I go about doing this?

I suppose I could, but it would be a bit awkward, I think, if one or two adults turned up and noticed I was a teenager ^_^"

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I thought it would be better than it was. The 1st epsiode about the Moon and the interview with Gene Cernan was very good. A living legend. Should of spoke to him longer. Wasn't really taken with the other shows. Oh and that Dara bloke, not funny and seemed dis-interested at times. Or was that just me thinking that?!

Also according to Amazon, sales in telescopes soared by 491% after the show. The ' 'Brian Cox effect'

Radders

Pleased to know that I was not the only one not impressed with Dara. I felt that he tried to speak far too fast and the end of most of his sentences were almost impossible to translate/hear. A good job that Brian did most of the talking! Otherwise an excellent programme.

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Pascal

Put an advert in our local paper seeking people of same thoughts, you will find some who are more experienced. First of all just get together to view the sky and talk it over. Ask your local paper to help with an article and most of all put a post in stargazers for others in your area. Good luck

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Different strokes for different folks and all that....I really enjoyed Dara's sense of humour :)

Good points earlier about the scope sales.....it's a shame they couldn't steer people in the right direction to find out about scopes, rather than the large amount who will inevitably buy junk. A section about how to choose a telescope would have been helpful.

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i enjoyed the first two evenings but it lost it for me on the last show the main part was OK but that last second part to the evening was poor to much messing about and what was the wine and food for??? was that their after show party well they should have done it after the show.

Still much better than last year for me even though they still seemed to have just a plan A and stuck to it.

i feel we have the technology now to have allowed for live imaging for the scope outside on the first two evening we had the skys and on the last evening the main event was clouded out. i know it is difficult but it would be good if it could have been more fluid with the ability to change on the spot when needed or if possible i.e. Plan B

even saying that i enjoyed to though. well done the Beeb cant wait till the next one. we do our event in Cardiff on Saturday i know we have had more hits to our website and facebook page in the last three days than in the last three weeks so it has done its job again.

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Seems like a good time to eBay my ED80, I might try and cash in on "the Brian Cox" effect

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Overall I really enjoyed it. I agree that they didn't make enough use of the societies out on the clear skies on Monday & Tuesday. It will no doubt get more people taking in interest in astronomy. It has even been 'water cooler' chat in the office this week.

Promoting the planet spotting was a great idea too and it was fun that it yielded a discovery.

It was last years series that inspired me to buy my first scope and 1 year in I'm really enjoying the skies from my back yard.

It would be great if the next series could coincide with an astronomical event such as the Venus transit or a meteor shower.

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I enjoyed all the programmes, especially pleased that the issue of light pollution got prime time coverage.

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i feel we have the technology now to have allowed for live imaging for the scope outside on the first two evening we had the skys and on the last evening the main event was clouded out. i know it is difficult but it would be good if it could have been more fluid with the ability to change on the spot when needed or if possible i.e. Plan B
Maybe what we need now is for Channel 4 to seize the moment and put together a "practical astronomy" series.

The best time of year for observing is March-May (at least where I live) - a combination of reasonably long nights, not too cold and for some reason there have been lots more clear skies at that time than during either the summer or winter months.

They could build on all those telescope sales that SGL generated - just at the time when most of their buyers are getting demoralised or disenchanted with them. Mars, Venus and Saturn are all visible at sensible times (22:00) and The Plough is high and easily recognisable. The big thing would be to NOT focus on the show being live. That way you could take observing opportunities from the preceding week (there's almost bound to be some, somewhere in the UK -esp. if you base the show on the eastern side - again: statistically less cloudy) and showcase those during the programme. Being from the same week as the broadcast the views and sights would still be relevant.

If I was ever in a position to do a weekly series to popularise actual astronomy, that's when I'd schedule it.

Edited by pete_l

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A very good point Robin! We should all be watching eBay for the next couple of months - I suspect there will be several bargains to be had!

My view is that the programmes were fun - they tried to explain some very difficult concepts, and did a good job at it.

I do think they tried to squash a little too much into to little time though.

My opinion is that it doesn't matter if we like or dislike the programmes - if the general public gets something out of it and gets turned onto the sky, then brilliant.

Cheers,

Richie

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I enjoyed the shows, after cloudy skies they clearly had lots of other content to avoid cloudgazing live but they seemed to waste the opportunity the clear skies on the night actually presented.

I'm one of those who were prompted to take a passing interest further and a year later I love it!

A few people predicted a lot of unused scopes going on eBay, did that actually happen?

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I enjoyed all the programmes, especially pleased that the issue of light pollution got prime time coverage.

And this I believe is possibly the greatest message that the uninitiated will take away from these progrmmes. For days, anyone unfortunate enough to suffer daytime TV will have seen lots of coverage around the little village that came together to eradicate LP. So much was achieved in educating people just how much waste takes place.

I thought they were really good programmes, and the follow ups seemed "unscripted" which I thought was good. Liz Bonin was the best bit though.

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As a member of the great unwashed masses who tuned in I thought they did a pretty good job. It would be hard to pitch a show like that at the general public and catch everything. I'm a homebrewer and I know when you get into that it can seem daunting as there is a huge amount of variation in technique and you'd need to simplify to try and get mass appeal.

It did encourage me to read into astronomy and I'm going along to the local groups meeting on Tuesday.

The show has generated a heap of interest, but I'd say the real useful resource for people like me has been... well people like you guys and gals.

I've found the forum very useful and I'm trawling through the primers and tutorials as well as all the other threads. Quite frankly I think the guys who do publicity for NASA must wake up in a cold sweat when they see some of the pictures on here!

I've spent most of my time trawling this forum reading up till I can get out and buy some of the recommended reading books.

At the moment though I'm going to wait and see if this is for me rather than by a scope I'm going to rob my father of his binos. And in a few months time when the Brian Cox effect hits ebay, I'll think about a scope :)

In summary: As a novice, the show sparked a long dormant interest in a very complicated subject, but I think a more in depth series that covers from the absolute novice would be great (though until that happens, forums like this are doing an amazing job). Ultimately though, I think it comes down to each person to put the effort in to make the most of any activity and a high rate of attrition will probably hit those who just want to buy a telescope and expect NASA quality images.

EDIT: My opinion is probably biased as I have a fairly unhealthy obsession with Brian Cox.

Edited by Ratlet

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I have to say I enjoyed the show even though there wasn't too much basic Amateur Astronomy going on.

I think my problem is that I've learned so much since the last event a year ago, much of the content was old news to me, with the exception of discovering new Planets.

Most of the year I'm out observing, ( when possible ) with the scope I purchased after last years show.

Before the show, I hadn't seen any of the Messier objects, didn't know the northern constellations, and hadn't observed any of the Planets, so I suppose the show kicked of a major learning experience in my case and I'm still playing catchup.

I've seen the Sun through my scope, Observed Andromeda in all its glory and only last week managed to get a half descent colour image of the Orion nebula.

The only problem now is that Astronomy has now become an obsession.

that sums up what its all about. i could have written that myself.

dara is fine, but lets face it no one likes everyone.

what would be good is if they structured a programe like this that ran more often. ok not live , but a modern version of sky at night.

not that i dislike sky at night, but i feel it needs better slot and an overhaul.

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I for one really enjoyed it......Robh and barkis...your opinions basically mirror mine(forgive the pun).....yes the show could be improved in some aspects like actually visiting some of the functions that have been organised in conjunction with the show,but on the whole....well done the beeb.....I almost feel like I'm getting my monies worth now from the stealth tax they call a licience fee

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As a complete Stargazing novice I found the programmes very informative and entertaing, even the wife, who has little interest in anything to do with science, showed a flicker of interest :)

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@Robin

Nah, it'd cost too much money. Besides, the sky is never clear over here anymore. Bit of a useless time to get into astronomy.

So, what was the new planet discovered, then?

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Coined the 'Cox Effect' – Amazon has reported a leap in sales of telescopes each time Professor Brian Cox appears on television.
What matters is whether specialist retailers get a similar boost.
I also wonder if people are managing to buy the right scopes on amazon or are ending up with kiddy scopes, or something beyond their skill level and equally being put off our fantastic hobby?
The most popular scope on Amazon now is the Celestron Powerseeker 50AZ, followed by the Astromaster 130EQ, then the TravelScope 70, which I think answers that question. (At least Amazon's cut the Astromaster to £130, seems like not a bad price for a 5 inch scope.)

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Sorry but, how does that answer the question? I'm sure it does for those who're savvy with telescopes, but I'm not one of them ^_^" I know that my parents bought me a Celestron something on Christmas, and I hadn't the heart to tell them I'd heard a lot of bad things about it, considering they'd paid so much.

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i thought it was generally OK

although i do take the point thats some of it was a bit OTT for beginners.

That said, i do like the way that both Brian cox and Dara O'Brien tried to explain even the more tricky bits in layman's terms

like Tim said, its better than no astronomy programmes (with the obvious exception of TSAN)

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i completely missed it last year so wasnt going to miss it this year but i have to say for a show called stargazing live there wasnt much stargazing going on.

i enjoyed it but id rather have had 3 extended sky at night episodes presented by stargazers, dara and brian work well together but brian did seem a bit out of his depth when not reading an autocue, his is a particle physicist and not an astro physicist after all.

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I have to agree that I think whilst i enjoyed what the program did show, i think it was an opportunity lost in the fact that so little live stargazing was done.

Still it can't help but get the word out especially regarding light pollution

What about touching on star party culture too?

That and they showed some of my images....

Regards

Rob

Edited by robbieince

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I enjoyed it, I dont think it is for the hardcore stargazer but more for all to watch and wonder.

Brian Cox is brilliant his enthusiasm is infectious, although my mind does cloud at times with the explanations.:)

Dara O`Briain was also good, his role is to lighten things up and he does that well, keeps it light hearted and therefore more appealing to most people.

Its a shame more of this isnt reguarly on terrestrial tv as it is good for anyone with a tv to have the chance to watch and learn, not all people want to go out in the cold and stand in awkward positions looking through a scope, some dont want to absorb themselves in the knowledge of the stars but just stay interested in the search for new planets etc.

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