Re:BBC Sky at Night

Forums General Discussion BBC Sky at Night Re:BBC Sky at Night


Posted by David Basey at 09:13 on 2013 Jun 08

D A Dunn wrote:

If it is below the level of BAA members then I am not surprised but perhaps it has always been so. Maybe it was only Patrick’s magic that made us believe otherwise.

David,I think the point I was making was that the old format did have something for everyone, not just the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ but BAA members also (well myself anyway).When I started out in astronomy as a teenager my total knowledge was what I had gleaned from the Observer’s book of Astronomy, there were constellations, Saturn had rings, Jupiter a Great Red Spot that sort of thing. Clearly the Sky at Night taught me a lot but even forty years on it remained relevant. I believe it is a question of breadth and depth. Most BAA members will have a broad knowledge of the whole spectrum of astronomy, enough to talk knowledgably to the man from Clapham. Some will also have a very deep understanding of a narrow topic. So a specialist in comets may well only have a superficial knowledge of lunar geology. With this in mind a programme on that subject that goes into some depth potentially will add to a lot of members understanding.Patrick’s ‘magic’ if you like was to present a subject in a way that gave something to both the teenager starting out and the old hand by starting with the basics and building from there a deeper picture.Now clearly the old format of a lengthy interview with a studio guest by a gifted presenter lends it self well to achieving this. Of course that is not to say that the new format can’t do the same but I would contend that, at the moment, it is missing that particular mark. I guess the previous format is no longer considered relevant or entertaining enough for today’s audience.Ultimately however we have to take the bigger picture and if for every old fart like me the programme alienates it brings another new person into the hobby then it is a price worth paying.Mind you, it doesn’t stop me being saddened by what has happened to the Sky at Night!David