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Soulless Astronomy x Soulful Astronomy, the future of S@N


Scosmico
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Astronomy is a huge subject. I's big enough for both head and heart.

I see no conflict between the two. I have in the past been known to shed a tear when under a clear dark sky, Just me, my eyes and the heavens. Such profound solitude - no photograph nor text can convey what one feels when "in the zone".

I have also spent many, many hours reading and watching programmes about astronomy. The science fascinates me. I also get a thrill from learning. From Particle Physics to Mirror Making. Probably not going to induce any emotional upheaval but knowledge and learning are just as fun as the actual hands-on stargazing.

I actually think that the new era of S@N will be better placed than ever to meet all our astronomy needs. With such an array of presenters they will always have the right tool for the job!

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Personally, I would hope there are enough Astro-science related programmes to keep all in some sort of regular TV work on top of their day jobs and hopefully inspire others to get involved.

Not sure about the soulless / soulful argument. Astronomy is a science and as such is fact based but it should not be seen as mutually exclusive of enthusiasm and the more soulful elements of the subject.

I like the combination of amateur / professional astronomers that there currently is on the S@N and hope that things aren't shaken up too much. The first programme without SPM was still enjoyable and the presentation style felt about right to me.

Here's to another 50-odd years!

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The death of Sir Patrick Moore opened a new battleground.

The battle between Soulless Astronomy and Soulful Astronomy has began.

On the left is Prof. Cox the new prophet of a kind of Astronomy that I call Soulless.

Soulless Astronomy is beautifully technical, rational to the core. Where emotions are counted no felt. Physical/Chemical reactions.You see the results of researches. They are connect to the Astronomical dimension and tell you how it is.

On the right corner is(was) Sir Patrick Moore. Symbol of a kind of Astronomy that I call Soulful.

Soulful Astronomy is passion. It doesn't need to be explained technically, but fundamentally needs to be felt, experienced. They show how they did but you have to do it for yourself.

I don't see right or wrong here, just a kind of Ying Young.

Intrinsically, one has got each other.

Dr Chris Lintott was, lets say, Skyatnight's dot of Young in its Ying. In the same way I see Mark Thompson or Dara O'Brian in the Stargazing live team.

To hold the balance in the Universe, in my opinion I would like to see Pete, Brian or Paul on the lead of S@N.

Soulful Astronomer.

You're making Astronomy sound more like Astrology to me.

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I have to completely reject your premise of the dichotomy between a 'scientific' rational, fact based approach on the one hand and a 'passionate' one on the other. I would say that every scientist, amateur or professional, whatever science they study, begins with passion. that is what inspires us and lights the spark, so to speak. However, passion, particularly in the professional field will only go so far. The nature of science is that you need a rigourous, systematic approach to actually demonstrate anything new. That doesn't mean that you can't be passionate about what you're studying, and neither does it mean you can't be creative (e.g. new techniques, new theories, whatever).

here is a recent article describing some of the more 'normal' aspects of being a scientist: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/10/scientists-emotions-highs-lows

(quite a good read)

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I really, really feel that Brian Cox is anything but "soulless". His enthusiasm clearly goes beyond the pure science of it and I do get a real feel of a sense of wonder in him

A cool guy.

Nobody HAS to take up SPM's seat in my view. The show could be equally split between different people and carry on. The important things is that it continues as with ever increasing quality of amateur equipment and lower prices, programs like this further help more and more people to get involved in the hobby.

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I really, really feel that Brian Cox is anything but "soulless". His enthusiasm clearly goes beyond the pure science of it and I do get a real feel of a sense of wonder in him

A cool guy.

I agree.

I actually think that the combination of his Mancunian accent and slightly understated delivery make him very watchable. Homely even.

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Stargazing is the soul of Astronomy.

There is no problem bringing science to the general public. But It does not reach my heart. I don't see my love to Astronomy reflected in a cascade of scientific data.

I'm trying to understand this comment.

Surely stargazers since the dawn of time have tried to understand what they see out there - whether it be from a religious/spiritual perspective or an attempt to describe the structure of the Universe, or understand the phenomena that is displayed. While, granted, many might just like to enjoy and appreciate the fantastic and awe-inspiring views, it seems absurd to remove or tone down the scientific descriptions and attempts to identify and explain what is going on out there. That was the motivation of the great scientists who first turned their heads upwards or looked at the heavens through primitive telescopes.

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I'm trying to understand this comment.

Surely stargazers since the dawn of time have tried to understand what they see out there - whether it be from a religious/spiritual perspective or an attempt to describe the structure of the Universe, or understand the phenomena that is displayed. While, granted, many might just like to enjoy and appreciate the fantastic and awe-inspiring views, it seems absurd to remove or tone down the scientific descriptions and attempts to identify and explain what is going on out there. That was the motivation of the great scientists who first turned their heads upwards or looked at the heavens through primitive telescopes.

I think i understand both sides of this (Cognitive dissonance?)

As much as science is part our hobby, and I love all the science, you ALL have to agree that there's a bit of a poet in us all (the essence of humanity?, dunno.)

With out passion. (in what ever floats your own particular boat) it's just home work....

We've all looked at images of the Sombrero galaxy, or the moon surface and gone . "Wow"

I may be way off here.

NB "Cognitive dissonance", is far too many syllables for me, I might mean Duality...

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I may be way off here.

I'm with you all the way, Andy. My comment on spirituality/religion was intended to encompass those inner emotions we have - the awe of what lies before us (but I'm not suggesting it has to be religious or spiritual!) My only concern is (and I've heard it before in other contexts - say, the contents of astronomy magazines) that there is too much astrophysics or science. Well I think that decent and balanced publications need to have a balance of everything.

Edited by TonyD
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The beauty of science or the science of beauty?

This was talked about on a different thread, fractals and Mandelbrot, pure, mathematical beauty.

Just to balance everything out, my teens were in the 70's, draw your own conclusions...

but thanks for the support...... :grin:

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Astronomy is a huge subject. I's big enough for both head and heart.

I see no conflict between the two. I have in the past been known to shed a tear when under a clear dark sky, Just me, my eyes and the heavens. Such profound solitude - no photograph nor text can convey what one feels when "in the zone".

I have also spent many, many hours reading and watching programmes about astronomy. The science fascinates me. I also get a thrill from learning. From Particle Physics to Mirror Making. Probably not going to induce any emotional upheaval but knowledge and learning are just as fun as the actual hands-on stargazing.

I actually think that the new era of S@N will be better placed than ever to meet all our astronomy needs. With such an array of presenters they will always have the right tool for the job!

+1 to this.

I was going to write a lot on this subject but haven't. RIP SPM.

Cheers,

Steve

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I understand what you are saying but generally don't agree with the whole souless and soulful astronomy argument. Astronomy is a science based on research and facts and a fundemental basis for any program about astronomy. If there are professional astronomers who are purely money driven and have no interest in the subject then they could be described as 'souless' astronomers. In that case I would agree that the science was 'souless'. I would think that most are professionals from their passion to understand the subject.

I'm very enthusiastic and passionate about astronomy, but stick me infront of a camera for S@N and I would probably just put most people off the subject. . Of course SPM can't be replaced but I do think that Brian Cox, Chris Lintott etc do a very good job.

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To be honest, I just hope we continue to get Astronomy on the beeb. I'd even watch Sky at Night if Richard Hammond was the presenter - though I would draw the line at Clarkson! ;)

TOPSKY, SKYGEAR...........what a thought. :grin:

"This week we test three GOTO telescopes to see which is the fastest around the winter sky."

I'm almost on the phone to the BEEB about this one! :laugh:

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Bearing in mind Brian cox is an amateur astronomer like us personally I think he is great on stargazing live, even better on the after show when he is released from the tight constraints of a rigid script, he is chomping at the bit to just let his enthusiasm flood out, anything but souless!

also agree with jabberwocky brian cox is excellent in his own way but no one can ever replace sir patrick moore ,

but if many of you are like me and grew up with watching sky at night in the 60,s / 70,s he got me into this hobby and any one else might find brian cox also kicks there interest in in aswell.

steve

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TOPSKY, SKYGEAR...........what a thought. :grin:

"This week we test three GOTO telescopes to see which is the fastest around the winter sky."

I'm almost on the phone to the BEEB about this one! :laugh:

LOL - "Tonight on TopSky, we roadtest the largest submillimetre array IN THE WORLD"; "Some say, he's made purely from X-rays spewed from the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. We know him as 'The Lint' - Chris Lintot everybody!....."

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Don't forget Brian Cox and Sir Patrick Moore, although still astronomy had two different ends of the astronomy scale which they presented. Cox which is more about the science in astronomy hence the titles of his programs, Wonders of the Universe and Moore was more in to addressing the amateur. For people to compare the both is ridiculous.

Soulless and soulful are not the very best ways to describe them both especially on Cox's side.

In my opinion there isn't no comparison of the two and especially no battle. Each to their own, in their own special way.

Rob.

Edited by K3ny0n
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Brian Cox is a partical physicist don't forget not an astronomer so when he talks, he talks from the perspective of a physicist him and where his passion lies. The reason they have Brian doing sgl is that he's a very watchable presenter he conveys his message in a very elegant and interesting manner which appeals to people who have little or no interest in a topic. That being said I would love Chris Lintott to take over the Sky at Night. Brian's style is more aimed at explaining subjects to people who are not generally interested in that topic in an easy to understand way something which he is brilliant at. The sky at night has a slightly different viewership, more informed and knowledgable about the topic and as such we look for information presented in a different way. Both ways are brilliant and I can not fault either side.

I'm a huge Brian Cox fan he's brilliant but for me the Sky at Night has to be Chris and the existing team.

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My favorite sections of the Sky at Night are the "Patrick's garden" style pieces presented by Paul and Pete. I think they really capture the amateur spirit and I love their enthusiasm. But the science and technology sections are also interesting and I think it serves well to have the Chris Lintott and Chris North presenting these sections. As I understand it, these guys have a background in researching for the show so hats off to them. I just wish they would make the show longer!

Brian Cox.... I've lost track of the number of times someones stated a Brian Cox fact down the pub and people just don't believe it. I think I lost a bet with someone about him being in D:Ream once. I remember an interview where he went on the attack at people who scare-mongered the initial LHC experiments at the CERN - very funny! I can think of a lot of ways to describe him, but soulless wouldn't be one of them :)

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To be an Amateur Astronomer is a choice. And all science that goes on top makes it even more interesting. I say that agreeing with many posts.

However, S@N has its niche. It is (was?) from Amateur Astronomer to Amateur Astronomers.

Astronomy is not only a science. It is much more than that. It is a hobby, a stress releaser, a social event, a moment of meditation, a source of inspiration and makes me smile very often. Love is a fact to me. My argument doesn't want to reduce Astronomy. Quite the opposite, I want to open it up. We can spread out the message that people don't need to own a Hubble telescope, or pursue a degree in Physics to enjoy Astronomy.

I consciously made the choice to not pursue Astronomy at University because I didn't want it to be my profession. Nothing against those who think differently.

Live long and prosper S@N, but don't become NASA's and ESA's press release.

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I came into Astronomy from my love of Science, I'm not saying that's the way everyone should go, far from it, best to go your own path to Astronomy. But to devalue one side as Soulless and one as Soulful is not the way to do things in my opinion. I like the way S@N is done, and I like the way science / astronomy documentaries are done. I think the presenters of each are fine where they are :).

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My thoughts, for what they're worth.

The content of the programme is one thing and is very important; the presentation of it is quite another, and what SPM brought to the presentation side of it was an infectious enthusiasm for all aspects of astronomy (not just for our back-garden hobby, but also for cutting edge astrophysics and space exploration). That's the gap to be filled imo.

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Lots of good posts here and the general consensus is all the presenters/styles discussed here have thier own style and place. I believe the saying is "no man is an island".

I have respect for each of them and find them all perfectly watchable when delivering thier pieces to the watching public. I could not concieve Brian Cox trying to deliver his message in the same way SPM would have delivered his and vice versa. One mans science is another mans hobby, we all like different things (or the same depending on how you look at it) in different ways.

I think although this thread has delivered some useful points of opinion, it wasnt really nescesary, in that all it did was point out the obvious.

Just my opinion.

Baz

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