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''The Sky at Night'' is a monthly documentary
television program A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
me on
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
produced by the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
. The show had the same permanent presenter,
Sir Patrick Moore Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore (; 4 March 1923 – 9 December 2012) was an English amateur astronomer 250px, Amateur astronomers watch the night sky during the Perseid meteor shower. Amateur astronomy is a hobby A hobby is consider ...

Sir Patrick Moore
, from its first broadcast on 24 April 1957 until 7 January 2013. The latter date was a posthumous broadcast, which followed Moore's death on 9 December 2012. This made it the longest-running programme with the same presenter in television history. Many early episodes are missing, either because the tapes were wiped, thrown out, or because the episode was broadcast live and never recorded in the first place. Beginning with the 3 February 2013 edition, the show was co-presented by
Lucie Green Lucinda "Lucie" May Green (born c. 1975) is a British science communication, science communicator and solar physics, solar physicist. Green is a Professor of Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow (previously the Royal Society ...

Lucie Green
and
Chris Lintott Christopher John Lintott (born 26 November 1980) is a British astrophysicist, author and broadcaster. He is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. Lintott is involved in a number of popular science ...

Chris Lintott
. Since December 2013
Maggie Aderin-Pocock Margaret Ebunoluwa Aderin-Pocock (; born 9 March 1968) is a British space scientist The following Outline (list), outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to space science: Space science encompasses all of the branches of scien ...
has also been a presenter. The programme's opening and closing theme music is "At the Castle Gate", from the incidental music to '' Pelléas et Mélisande'', written in 1905 by
Jean Sibelius Jean Sibelius ( ; ; born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius, 8 December 186520 September 1957) was a Finnish composer of the late Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual ...

Jean Sibelius
, performed by the
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), based in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east ...
and conducted by
Sir Thomas Beecham Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet, Order of the Companions of Honour, CH (29 April 18798 March 1961) was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic and the Royal ...
.


Content

The programme covers a wide range of general astronomical and space-related topics. Topics include
stellar life cycles
stellar life cycles
,
radio astronomy Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celesti ...
, artificial
satellite In the context of spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spaceflight ...

satellite
s,
black hole
black hole
s,
neutron star A neutron star is the collapsed core Core or cores may refer to: Science and technology * Core (anatomy) In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this par ...
s and many others. The programme also covers events happening in the night sky at the time of broadcast, such as a bright
comet A comet is an icy, small Solar System body A small Solar System body (SSSB) is an object in the Solar System The Solar SystemCapitalization of the name varies. The International Astronomical Union, the authoritative body regarding astr ...

comet
or a
meteor shower A meteor shower is a celestial event A celestial event is an astronomy, astronomical phenomenon of interest that involves one or more astronomical object, celestial objects. Some examples of celestial events are the lunar phase, cyclical phas ...

meteor shower
, and recent developments in space and astronomy, such as the
Rosetta Rosetta or Rashid (; ar, رشيد ' ; french: Rosette  ; cop, ϯⲣⲁϣⲓⲧ ''ti-Rashit'', Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , '' ...
space mission and
the detection of phosphine in Venus' atmosphere
the detection of phosphine in Venus' atmosphere
. Explaining the show's enduring appeal, Moore said: "Astronomy's a fascinating subject. You look up... you can't help getting interested and it's there. We've tried to bring it to the people.. it's not me, it's the appeal of the subject."


Presenters


Notable guests

Many of the world's leading astronomers have appeared on the show through the years, including
Harlow Shapley Harlow Shapley (November 2, 1885 – October 20, 1972) was an American scientist, head of the Harvard College Observatory The Harvard College Observatory (HCO) is an institution managing a complex of buildings and multiple instruments used for ...
(the first to measure the size of the
Milky Way galaxy The Milky Way is the galaxy that includes our Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy's appearance from Earth: a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye. ...

Milky Way galaxy
),
Fred Hoyle Sir Fred Hoyle Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (24 June 1915 – 20 August 2001) was an English astronomer who formulated the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. He also held controversial stances on other scientific matters—in particula ...
,
Carl Sagan Carl Edward Sagan (; November 9, 1934December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, physical cosmology, cosmologist, Astrophysics, astrophysicist, Astrobiology, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. His best know ...
,
Jocelyn Bell Burnell Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell (; born 15 July 1943) is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Sco ...

Jocelyn Bell Burnell
, Samuel Tolansky,
Harold Spencer Jones Sir Harold Spencer Jones Order of the British Empire, KBE Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS Royal Society of Edinburgh, FRSE Royal Astronomical Society, PRAS (29 March 1890 Kensington, London – 3 November 1960) was an England, English astron ...
,
Martin Ryle Sir Martin Ryle (27 September 1918 – 14 October 1984) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, e ...
, Richard Ellis,
Carlos Frenk Carlos Silvestre Frenk, (born 27 October 1951) is a Mexican-British cosmologist and the Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics at Durham University. His main interests lie in the field of physical cosmology, cosmology, galaxy formation and co ...
and
Bart Bok Bartholomeus Jan "Bart" Bok (April 28, 1906 – August 5, 1983) was a Dutch-American astronomer, teacher, and lecturer. He is best known for his work on the structure and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy, and for the discovery of Bok globules, w ...
. Other guests have included
Arthur C. Clarke Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 191719 March 2008) was an English science-fiction writer, science writer, futurist Futurists (also known as futurologists, prospectivists, Foresight (futures studies), foresight practitioners and hori ...
,
Astronomer Royal Astronomer Royal is a senior post in the Royal Households of the United Kingdom The Royal Households of the United Kingdom are the collective departments that support members of the British Royal Family The British royal family compri ...
Sir
Martin Rees Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where: (born 23 June 1942) is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British peo ...
,
Arnold Wolfendale Sir Arnold Whittaker Wolfendale Royal Society, FRS (25 June 1927 – 21 December, 2020)GRO Register of Births: SEP 1927 6d 1198a RUGBY – Arnold W. Wolfendale, mmn = Hoyle''The Times'', 30 December, 2020, p49 (Subscription required) was a Britis ...
, Allan Chapman,
Sir Bernard Lovell Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell (31 August 19136 August 2012) was a British physics, physicist and radio astronomer. He was the first Director of Jodrell Bank Observatory, from 1945 to 1980. Early life and education Lovell was born at Oldl ...
,
Michael Bentine Michael Bentine, (born Michael James Bentin; 26 January 1922General Register Office for England and Wales – Birth Register for the March Quarter of 1922, Watford Registration District, Reference 3a 1478, listed as "Michael J. Bentin", mother ...
,
Wernher von Braun Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (23 March 1912 – 16 June 1977) was a German-born American aerospace engineering, aerospace engineer and space architecture, space architect. He was the leading figure in the development of rocket te ...

Wernher von Braun
and
Open University The Open University (OU) is a British public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English ...
professors
John Zarnecki Jan Charles "John" Zarnecki, (born 6 November 1949 in Finchley, Middlesex, England) is an English space science professor and researcher. Since 2013, Zarnecki has been a Director of the International Space Science Institute (Berne, Switzerland) ...
,
Monica Grady Monica Mary Grady, Order of the British Empire, CBE (born 15 July 1958 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK), is a leading British space scientist, primarily known for her work on meteorites. She is currently Professor of Planetary and Space Science at ...
, Edwin Maher and
Colin Pillinger Colin Trevor Pillinger, (; 9 May 1943 – 7 May 2014) was an English Planetary science, planetary scientist. He was a founding member of the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute at Open University in Milton Keynes, he was also th ...

Colin Pillinger
. Many well-known astronauts have also appeared on the programme, such as
Piers Sellers Piers John Sellers (11 April 1955 – 23 December 2016) was a British-American meteorologist A meteorologist is a scientist who studies and works in the field of meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a ...
,
Eugene Cernan Eugene Andrew Cernan (; March 14, 1934 – January 16, 2017) was an American astronaut, United States naval aviator, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot. During the Apollo 17 mission, Cernan became ...
,
Buzz Aldrin Buzz Aldrin (; born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., January 20, 1930) is an American former astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, e ...

Buzz Aldrin
and
Neil Armstrong Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipp ...

Neil Armstrong
. In July 2004, Moore was unable to make the broadcast owing to a severe bout of
salmonellosis Salmonellosis is a symptomatic infection caused by bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a l ...
. He was replaced for this one occasion by the cosmologist
Chris Lintott Christopher John Lintott (born 26 November 1980) is a British astrophysicist, author and broadcaster. He is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. Lintott is involved in a number of popular science ...

Chris Lintott
of
Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...

Oxford University
, who had been co-presenting for several years. Moore returned for the August programme, this was the only occasion in the 55 years of Moore's tenure that he did not host the programme.
Brian May Brian Harold May (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, author, and astrophysicist. He is the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen (band), Queen. May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Fredd ...

Brian May
, the
Queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reign ...
guitarist and astrophysicist, has been a guest on the show from time to time. On 1 April 2007, Moore presented the 50th Anniversary edition of the show, a special "time travel" edition which included the appearance of
Jon Culshaw Jonathan Peter Culshaw (born 2 June 1968) is an English actor, comedian and Impressionist (entertainment), impressionist. He is best known for his work on the radio comedy ''Dead Ringers (comedy), Dead Ringers'' since 2000. Culshaw has voiced ...

Jon Culshaw
as Moore's younger self. The 50th anniversary programme was filmed at
Teddington Studios Teddington Studios was a large United Kingdom, British television studio in Teddington, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, providing studio facilities for programmes airing on the BBC television, BBC, ITV (TV network), ITV, Channel 4, Channe ...
as the 1957 home of the programme,
Lime Grove Studios Lime Grove Studios was a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any ...
, had been demolished in 1992. On 6 March 2011, Moore presented the 700th edition of the show, a special retrospective episode which included
Jon Culshaw Jonathan Peter Culshaw (born 2 June 1968) is an English actor, comedian and Impressionist (entertainment), impressionist. He is best known for his work on the radio comedy ''Dead Ringers (comedy), Dead Ringers'' since 2000. Culshaw has voiced ...

Jon Culshaw
once again appearing as Moore's younger self, as well as Brian May.


Switch to BBC4

In September 2013 the BBC announced that the programme's future after December 2013 was under review, prompting speculation that the corporation would end it, and a petition asking for the show to be retained. On 29 October it was announced that the programme would continue, but would only be shown on
BBC Four BBC Four is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and commo ...

BBC Four
, ending a 54-year run on the BBC's flagship channel.


Commemorative honours

The
International Astronomical Union The International Astronomical Union (IAU; french: link=yes, Union astronomique internationale, UAI) is a Non-governmental organization, nongovernmental organisation with the objective of advancing astronomy in all aspects, including promoting ...
celebrated the 50th anniversary of the show by naming an asteroid 57424 Caelumnoctu, the number referring to the first broadcast date and the name being Latin for "The Sky at Night". In February 2007, the
Royal Mail Royal Mail Group plc is a British multinational mail, postal service and courier company, originally established in 1516 as a department of the English government. The company's subsidiary Royal Mail Group Limited operates the brands Royal Mail (le ...

Royal Mail
issued a set of six astronomy stamps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the programme. In the ''
Guinness Book of World Records ''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book A reference work is a work, ...
'', Patrick Moore is listed as the most prolific TV presenter in the world, having hosted all but one episode of the programme between 1957 and January 2013.


DVD release

A DVD of the special commemorative ''Sky at Night'' film ''Apollo 11: A Night to Remember'' was released on 6 July 2009 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon.


See also

* ''
The Sky Above Us ''The Sky Above Us with James Albury'' is a short American astronomy show hosted by James C. Albury, James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at Santa Fe College. Each episode is approximately five minutes in length; and, a new ...
'', a television show on astronomy * ''
BBC Sky at Night ''BBC Sky at Night magazine'' is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The ...
'', a British monthly magazine named after the series * ''
SkyWeek ''SkyWeek'' was a weekly astronomy television program created by ''Sky & Telescope'' magazine. The show was hosted by Tony Flanders, associate editor of ''Sky & Telescope'' magazine. Each episode of the program was released in one, three, and fi ...
'', an American television show highlighting upcoming celestial events * ''Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer'', an American television programme about naked-eye astronomy * ''StarDate'', an American daily syndicated radio show highlighting upcoming celestial events


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Sky At Night, The 1957 British television series debuts 1950s British television series 1960s British television series 1970s British television series 1980s British television series 1990s British television series 2000s British television series 2010s British television series 2020s British television series Astronomy education television series Astronomy in the United Kingdom BBC television documentaries about science BBC Television shows British documentary television series