Science TV and Radio 2016: StarGazing Live

Almost 4 weeks ago a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This flight was special to those of us in the UK as it was carrying the first British Astronaut to visit the International Space Station, Tim Peake. My computer science class were invited to stay in with me during break to watch the launch; they all did.

There was a special pair of episodes of StarGazing Live on the 15th to accompany the launch, hosted by Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain from the Science Museum.

Over the holidays were the brilliant Christmas lectures about How to survive in space, which picked up Tim Peake’s story, hosted by Dr Kevin Fong. Please watch and encourage your students to – they were really very good and included contributions from Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut as well as other astronauts who have been to the ISS.

Continuing on this week there are going to be 4 episodes of Star Gazing Live – Tuesday to Friday at 9pm on BBC Two, with Dara, Brian and Tim O’Brien from Jodrell Bank. The Friday episode is a late addition to the schedules as Tim Peake is due to be doing a space walk so the programme is going to be reporting on that.

I hope you encourage your students to watch these programmes this week as they are reporting on a significant event in UK science.

In other news – I am building back up to supplying the TV and Radio guide. It’s been tough juggling family, teaching and other commitments but I do know it’s a very appreciated resource and I’m sorry you’ve had a term without it.

I’ll not commit to doing one next week – but if I can, I will.

Happy New Year.

P.S. If you want news of ISS flyovers in the UK @VirtualAstro is the account to follow on twitter. See also

TV and Radio Guide w/c 6th January 2014

Happy New Year! I’ve spent today collating the programmes for this week, “discussing” Teach First and teacher training routes on twitter (why?) and planning for tomorrow. And no I’ve not watched Sherlock yet.

Highlights are :

  • Of course – Stargazing Live – with Prof Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain wth Liz Bonnin searching for the Aurora Borealis. There are 3 days of programmes dedicated to the skies starting on Tuesday.
  • Code of Life – If you can catch this programme on BBC 4, or on iPlayer it’s really worth it. The discovery of DNA in the scientist’s own words.
  • Dolphins: Spy in the Pod. Despite the characterisation of the underwater camera “spies”, this was compelling watching last week and Orca are always worth watching.
  • Terry Wogan is looking at the Human Body Clock, this should be entertaining if not enlightening (hopefully both).

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TV Guide w/c 7th January 2013

Happy New Year! It’s been a hectic holiday for me as I’ve been given an awesome Christmas present: a new baby daughter. And @MrsDrSarah, my TV guide collaborator (and brains behind the whole idea), has been at the ASE Conference for the last 3 days so she’s been rather busy too.

So I missed a guide last week, but if you’d been paying attention to your TV schedules and weren’t too distracted by Mary Poppins or Midsomer Murders, you will have noticed that a new David Attenborough series started on the BBC: Africa. This was filled with amazing footage of the various animals and birds of the Kalahari desert and the climax was a fight for dominance between two bull giraffes. The fight lasted a couple of minutes which was slowed down but if you take a minute to remind yourself of the scale of these animals it really is quite astounding behaviour that has been filmed, and well worth seeking out on iPlayer.

The even more observant of you will have noticed that a new David Attenborough series started on Sky: Galapagos 3DI’ve not seen this as I don’t have access to Sky, but the trailer looks fabulous. It’s a 3 part series looking at the influence the Galapagos islands have had on our understanding of evolution and adaptation. The link will allow you to watch the first episode Origin from New Years Day if you have a Sky account.

What a wonderful week of Science TV and Radio we have lined up for you. The second episodes of Africa and Galapagos would have been my picks of the week but it’s StarGazing Live week. Dara O’Briain and Brian (O)Cox are gracing our screens again with the help of Liz Bonnin and Mark Thompson. If you follow the link then you’ll find a wealth of information of things you could do in school or suggest for your students to do to join in. I realise this doesn’t give you much time to plan for this week; I will advise you earlier next year!

Stargazing Live – (Photo: Mel Gigg, Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group from BBC Stargazing Website)

A new feature of the weekly TV Guide is a YouTube video link to share with your students. I’ve decided to start off with a year end video ( from the SciShow channel by Hank Green (one of the VlogBrothers – his brother is the author John Green) where he gives a run down of the science stories of 2012. Hank has a rather unique delivery (sometimes I think he may pass out mid sentence) however he and his brother are veteran YouTuber’s and his SciShow channel has a large selection of interesting videos. Read more of this post