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stargazing programme on bbc, is it in the rte mentality?

  • dave_lillis
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Hi all,
Just finished watching the bbc stargazing live program tonight, I found it entertaining and an interesting program to watch, a great way of promoting science and astronomy in general.
Do people out there ever think that rte could ever have it in themselves to do something similar, would they get it, or is beyond their comprehension, or is it something they could do easily.
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10 years 10 months ago #91989

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  • DeirdreKelleghan
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I got to see some of it ,the main part , its good. In my opinion there is of course more than enough amateurs willing to do the same for an RTE or TV3 show. Last year I did some stargazing with my kids group and kinda gatecrashed it web wise even tho it is only 'officially' for UK folks. Anyone can upload images to the flickr group which may be shown on the show or on another BBC show. The IAA are taking part in tomorrows programme, it would be nice to be included down here in the south.

A show like it here would do wonders for the clubs in this country.

My euro's worth for now

Here is the webpage if people are not familiar www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00mlr20
Someone gave me a web link for a International Player so Irish folks could see BBC old shows but I can find the dam thing
anyone know about that ???

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10 years 10 months ago #91990

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I don't know what mechanisms RTE use to plan their schedule, but something tells me that if it is something that a certain percentage of Ireland's small population wouldn't be in to then it won't air. A shame really, I haven't figured out how this small island has so many awful television programmes and reality TV shows. But the ratings show why, yet we all still complain about the lack of proper educational and cultural programming on its schedule.

It would be a vey good tool for promoting the science-side of Ireland, there are, as you all know, a high number of astronomy, science and nature clubs in the country and some world-renowned institutions in Astronomy and Physics (Dunsink, NUIG, Armagh Observatory, Skull, DIAS, Kingsland in Roscommon, Birr, Blackrock, Markree (if developed) and more).

You'd think, Dave, it could be a no-brainer...

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10 years 10 months ago #91991

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I was down at Queens University Jupiter Watch earlier, weather was very cooperative and a good crowd turned up.

Most of the general public queued to get a look through the 16 inch Lightbridge (preconceptions of bigger = better I assume) which meant there were a good number of other 'scopes with very short lines. BBC radio turned up and were talking to people (I may or may not have put in a sneaky jab at the met office people being right for a change). I brought a friend along too, she's new to astronomy so it was nice to see how she reacted to it all.


Anyhow, on to your points, Dave - if any of you have ever read the IAA's Stardust magazine you may remember a section called 'Dark Matters' where the author lamented how Stargazing Live 2011 was too much fluff. This struck me as odd in that I've never heard anyone who was not specifically interested in astronomy talk about The Sky at Night with enthusiasm (potentially due to it's somewhat off-peak airing?). In contrast, lots of people were talking about Astronomy Live; more than a few of them have had a look through my telescope since then after I mentioned that I dabble.
As a promoter of astronomy, Stargazing Live really works!

As for if RTE can do it; Ireland has a rich astronomy past and present, it's not as if they have a lack of source material. :)
I guess it comes down to if it could be made (excuse the term) 'sexy' enough. I think Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain exude the enthusiasm that engages the audience and any RTE presentation would need similar promoters.
10 years 10 months ago #91992

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If you wanted RTE to pick up on an astronomy series I would say you would probably have to spoon feed them a proposal and a have decent pilot episode.

But for a youtube show, that could be done straight away. you might even get a (very) few bob towards IFAS if you monetise the videos and the channel gets a few views. and of course if RTE see it growing then they might want to jump on the band wagon!

Graham
10 years 10 months ago #91993

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The Stargazing Live event in Derry on Saturday 14th went very well, there were literally hundreds of people who stopped at the marquee and had a look around the various tables, took leaflets and had a look at the telescopes. The solar scopes were particularly popular. A local radio presenter, Gerry Anderson, compered and there were guys from the BBC dressed as Star Wars characters. There was also a big screen showing live pictures from the event and various articles about different aspects of astronomy, as well as live pictures from the Faulkes telescope in Hawaii. On a personal note, it was a pleasure to meet up with Brendan (DonegalSkies) and we had a good chat.

Armagh Planetarium are running an event on Wednesday 18th, featuring a star show in the theatre about Aurora. They are now into their second extra show, the scheduled two booked out very quickly, as did the first extra show. They are expecting so many people that we will probably now have to put our telescopes in one of the car parks as there will be no room on the terrace at the front of the Planetarium.

There is no doubt that there is a big interest in astronomy amongst the general public. The three most common questions I got asked were "is there a local astronomy club in Derry/Donegal/the Northwest?, "why can't I see very much when I look at the night sky"? and "how much would a telescope like that cost to buy"?

I don't watch much television, but my wife would watch some RTE programmes on cable, What I have noticed is, no RTE programmes have subtitles available. I don't know if they are available down South, but they certainly aren't up here. So I would think RTE would need to get simple things like that sorted out first before trying to plan events like Stargazing Live.

The Stargazing Live programme last night was a vast improvement on last year's, being geared much more to the amateur astronomer. I think they have taken on board the criticism of last year's programmes on various internet astronomy forums and from their own feedback. I still don't see the point of having the reports from South Africa, as they are not particularly relevant to the ordinary "bloke in the street" (us), but the rest of it was pretty good.
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Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by stevie.
10 years 10 months ago #91994

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  • dave_lillis
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Thanks for all the interesting and thought provoking responses,
My question was deliberately abit harsh on rte, but really you have to face the facts.
I think their indiginous science programming is nonexistant, there are so many clubs across the country and using IFAS's infrastructure, it could be done.

The problem is getting someone in a tv station with the vision and influence onboard, we tried here in SAC to get them interested in the WSP/BSP, you might as well have been talking to them about the grains of sand on a beach, they were not interested. Even "nationwide" on rte was approached, they couldn't get their heads around it !

The stargazing live program came under unfair criticism last year IMHO, Dara did what he does best, improv humour, what else are you gonna get when your hire one of the best improv comedians out there. Him and Cox are a great combination, they add an air of mild levity and humour to the situation that would grab and keep peoples attention. Theyr'e doing a great job again this year.
I have the utmost respect for Patrick Moore, he has his style, he gets away with things on TV that would make others look stupid, he is why I'm in this hobby.

Anyway, as for rte, my only fear is that if rte went ahead with it, they'd use someone to host it who'd be almost universally shunned by the astro community.
Now if someone like Leo Enright could host it, that would be great.

youtube stuff is great, still cant beat a live show on one of the tv channels.
Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by dave_lillis.
10 years 10 months ago #91998

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Anyway, as for rte, my only fear is that if rte went ahead with it, they'd use someone to host it who'd be almost universally shunned by the astro community.


My first thoughts too.
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10 years 10 months ago #92000

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I am strongly of the opinion that it would have been very worthwhile if the IFAS had "piggy backed" on to the BBC Stargazing prog. Why couldn't there have been events organised at Sandymount, Phoenix Park, Bray, Blackrock Castle, Birr, etc, so as to harness the very obvious enthusiasm that the general have for astronomy.

Now if someone like Leo Enright could host it, that would be great.


Has anyone from IFAS ever approached Leo Enright so as to gain an insight as to how to promote astronomy with RTE, or TV3 for that matter.
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Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by Pat_Dunne.
10 years 10 months ago #92005

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Has anyone from IFAS ever approached Leo Enright so as to gain an insight as to how to promote astronomy with RTE, or TV3 for that matter.


Yep, some of us would include contact emails etc. we have for press releases and things like that. Some of us have been contacted by phone (at random, too) by RTE in relation to events coming up. Here in MAC, Cosmos even featured one time on that Weekender short on TV3 2 years ago because the programme included Guy Consolmagno from the Vatican, which caught the eye of someone. And trust me, it wasn't in response to my emails to them because they didn't manage to get the poster design as a backdrop from me! :)

Unfortunately, we loose out to that guy who always has time to spend (as his job) getting the limelight in RTE from the rest of us poor, mostly working outside of Dublin souls.

Still, that is not to act as a deterrant - the key is repetiton. It's like subliminal messaging. Eventually a message will get through.

Seanie.
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10 years 10 months ago #92007

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Astronomy programmes in Ireland have had occasional airings.
There has been a series of astronomy programmes on RTE back in 1991.
Derek Mooney had an astronomy series for 12 weeks. Half an hour programmes. May be because astronomy was on the Junior Leaving Cert.

Clair McSweeney from Blackrock Castle Observatory has had weekly astronomy series on Lyric FM.

Ulster TV had "look Up" running for about 3 years back in the 1980s. It was weekly programme.

The Irish Astronomical Society committee, back in the 1970s, did contact RTE to air a series of astronomy programmes. It was turned down because of the 'Sky at Night'.

Eamonn
10 years 10 months ago #92008

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  • dave_lillis
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Cosmos even featured one time on that Weekender short on TV3 2 years ago because the programme included Guy Consolmagno from the Vatican,
Seanie.

figures, include religion or something like basket weaving, cutting turf, and you'll get noticed.
but to be fair, you do here the odd snippet of astronomy on the radio from Mooney and a few others.
Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by dave_lillis.
10 years 10 months ago #92010

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I suppose if you rounded up a fair few Irish speaking Astronomers then TG4 would probably be game ball for something!



Graham
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10 years 10 months ago #92011

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  • DeirdreKelleghan
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OK here is what I was involved in TV and Radio wise over the last few years, seen as it seems we are making a list.

I was invited a few years ago by RTE to record a piece on astronomy in Dunsink Observatory for the childrens show ICE
RTE's childrens show Elev8 had me in taking about radio astronomy, moonbounce and childrens involvment.
Nationwide filmed me talking about the Moon , my telecope and drawing the moon in my garden.
RTE Lunchtime News had me in talkkng ( briefly ) about my workshop Deadly Moons and public outreach in general
RTE News turned up at Gonzaga College to feature a Sputnik model I made for 50 years of Space Exploration
I have recorded sevral short interviews for RTE radio in Dunsink Observatory
Been interviewed by various community radio stations re commenting on everything from Dunsink , to Cassini,to Chinese Lanterns to Meteorites and my trip to see the MSL launch.
Interviewed in Glandalough at a public astronomy event for the Sub Atomic Radio show
Was interviewed for several podcasts including Science Chat by Sean Marshell , Scibernia and 365 Days of Astronomy
Took part in a film about Astronomy in Ireland , which has yet to be seen
More recently I took part in a short film made by WNBC-TV New York News Photographer Lou Braga on the Mars Science Laboratory Launch from Cape Canaveral

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Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by DeirdreKelleghan.
10 years 10 months ago #92012

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It would be great to have some star parties at least but unlike our friends in the UK we've had some terrible weather since the BBC program started on Monday. After each episode I hopefully wander outside, only to be disappointed yet again. I know it's no use complaining about but perhaps that may also be a reason why RTE might be reluctant to produce a show like Star Gazing Live.

Speaking in favor of a similar Irish program; there really is a great enthusiasm for astronomy in Ireland and we have loads of great home grown speakers and professors in the field who I'm sure would be more than happy to get involved.

I'd definitely be 100% behind it.
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10 years 10 months ago #92013

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Yeah! TG4 would be great at this sort of thing.
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10 years 10 months ago #92014

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Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Lets get a contact list going...

As a thought, and this would be of benefit to ALL IFAS CLUB SECRETARIES/PRO's, would anyone mind taking the time to send me any and all contact information one might have for radio, television, newspaper and subject-specific (physics, astronomy, etc) bodies so that I can compile a list to distribute to the secretaries on board here? It would be of massive benefit, such as:

- Is for IFAS' eyes only.
- As many secretaries would have names, emails and phone numbers etc. with respect to their own localised club, you have the hard work done already.
- One point source for Secretaries and PRO's to notify the media, could be as simple as copy and paste a column of email address in your BCC address line.

If you would like to help, you can send your information in whatever form to seaniehead 'at' eircom 'dot' net or by private message here (if it is, of course, text only) and I will look after the rest. There is no deadline and it will be fully updated and re-distributed as new information arises.


Thanks,

Seanie.

P.S. There is an old list going round, but I know from my own experience, many contacts in it have either moved on or were deleted.

P.P.S. I will make this a notification sticky on the Announcements forum. Please try and keep your media contacts information private to avoid duplicates and overlaps, also so that IFAS has first dibs on the information!

:)
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Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by Seanie_Morris.
10 years 10 months ago #92015

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See new topic here:

www.irishastronomy.org/index.php?option=...1&id=92016&Itemid=40

Dave, sorry if this hijacks your original thread a bit!

Seanie.
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10 years 10 months ago #92017

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It would be great to have some star parties at least but unlike our friends in the UK we've had some terrible weather since the BBC program started on Monday. After each episode I hopefully wander outside, only to be disappointed yet again. I know it's no use complaining about but perhaps that may also be a reason why RTE might be reluctant to produce a show like Star Gazing Live.

Speaking in favor of a similar Irish program; there really is a great enthusiasm for astronomy in Ireland and we have loads of great home grown speakers and professors in the field who I'm sure would be more than happy to get involved.

I'd definitely be 100% behind it.


One of Daves comments was my first thought on reading this thread. Your comments mirrored my second thought on the subject. As bad as they think they have it in England(as opposed to the whole UK) they are much more likely to be on the right side of a weather system and be under a more settled continental influence. While I am not sure if RTE ever put that much thought into an idea like Stargazing Live but we/they would have to be prepared to have enough 'indoor' content to fill the entire programme in the likely event of 100% cloud on the night or conversely be prepared to drop a lot of the indoor content should the skies be clear and the outdoor content is doable.

To put things into perspective. I think it was 2 years ago that Deirdre and others decided to have a sister monthly outreach event to the Sandymount one here in my town of Bray. ie. Bray on the Friday, Sandymount on the Saturday. In 2 years there has been no clear Friday afaik and about 3 or 4 clear Saturdays. Irish astronomers are masochists by nature :D Its amazing that in the 2 years were my scope has been mothballed due to work, family and health commitments I still haven't missed a single Bray Seafront outreach event yet!! :D

This is the year I get back in the game though. I'm going to be an outreach machine. I'll be Deirdres lapdog!! ;) :)
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Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by Calibos.
10 years 10 months ago #92022

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Irish astronomers are masochists by nature :D


Let's have more optimism, hurray!

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10 years 10 months ago #92024

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  • Neill
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wben wrote

It would be great to have some star parties at least



There are 3 current IFAS star parties - Galway this weekend, COSMOS in April and Burren in September
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10 years 10 months ago #92027

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  • DeirdreKelleghan
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OK I found the link to enable BBC i Player down here ,its called Expat Shield , not sure if it is legal ??? perhaps some of you web heads could inform me on that , thanks.

It lets you access BBC i Player to view missed programmes. So I had a look at BBC Newsline Northern Ireland
and there was Terry from the IAA and Derek Heatly ( the Ulster astronaut )talking about astronomy ( after the sports toward the end of the news) for BBC Stargazing Live.
So that is why they were not on the main show because their section was regional, was wondering , had to find out.

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10 years 10 months ago #92031

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Hi Deirdre,
It's what I've been using to watch the Stargazing live since monday.

Basically it sends out a UK IP address through the browser in place of you're on, in order to fool the iPlayer code into thinking you're in the UK.

As far as I can tell there are no legal implications for us over here but I'm no expert. Works great though. Funny that we're talking about this now, amidst all the SOPA and PIPA excitement.
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Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by wbean.
10 years 10 months ago #92032

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Using expat shield, or any other proxy is not illegal. You might be breaking the BBC's T&C's if they require you to be in the UK but that's all.
Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
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10 years 10 months ago #92033

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Hi everyone.

Stevie, it was great to meet you too on Saturday. I always love to talk to people so enthusiastic about astronomy. It was a very nice and relaxed event.

I would love to see RTE do somethin like this but i really Don't think the will is there. For my money this type of thing is a lot more like something TG4 would have the vision as someone has already suggested. They have a much more enlighten view when it comes to showing new programs IMHO.

All the best,

Brendan
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10 years 10 months ago #92038

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