Seeing in the Dark... Sept 19, 2007 22:27:58 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Sept 19, 2007 22:27:58 GMT -6
Seeing in the Dark
I saw the hour long PBS presentation of "Seeing in the Dark" this Wednesday evening, the 19th of September 2007.
I liked it.
I have not read the book, but here are my impressions of the presentation:
The personal observatories that these amateur astronomers use are outstanding and near professional caliber if not equal. It encourages me to construct one on my garage next year.
The show really had no point, other than showing astronomers having a good time observing the heavens...and that's cool. The fancy homemade telescopes were incredible and works of art. I was smiling throughout the entire show as they talked about eyepieces, OTA's, drives etc...all nomenclature familiar to me.
What I did not like was when an observer explained to the viewer what he saw through the eyepiece - and the producers are displaying a glorious and detailed image of the object. Andromeda (M31), for example was shown as a bright, highly detailed and colorful object, where in fact, it's a dim, ghostly image at best from modest to large telescopes. Also, a little too much of the musical interests of the astronomers for my liking at the expense of astronomy, but it's ok.
I was impressed on the retired football player and his great astronomical interest and sharing with others. Modern astronomy is embracing amateur involvement like never before, and area which was once the domain of the University or museum astronomer.
I thought some of the segments were a bit dis-jointed and incomplete. It started with the individuals, but then went into famous astronomers, then into astrophysics...then back to the individual. The Hershel bit I thought was glossed over and did not William Herschel discover Uranus? Wasn't mentioned.
Also an observation. Some GCI was involved showing a sky full of stars while filming the astronomers in moderate lighting. In the real world this would not occur, but for a presentation like this, it lends a sense of nighttime mystery and wonder to an evening of observing. Nice.
But overall I enjoyed a leisurely one hour show about astronomers and their scopes...enjoying and sharing what they like best.