Extreme Astronomy: Seeing Stars (2011)
Around the world, a new generation of astronomers are hunting for the most mysterious objects in the universe. Young stars, black holes, even other forms of life. They have created a dazzling new set of super-telescopes that promise to rewrite the story of the heavens.
This film follows the men and women who are pushing the limits of science and engineering in some of the most extreme environments on earth. But most strikingly of all, no-one really knows what they will find out there.
Not even drop-dead good looks and boyish enthusiasm could save Brian Cox from the first law of science on TV. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make cutting-edge astrophysics intelligible for the scientifically illiterate. After all, even the scientifically literate barely have a clue what’s going on; and if they do, they don’t always agree. So throughout Wonders of the Solar System, I found myself saying: “I’m sure this is a-m-aaazing, Brian, but I haven’t a clue why.”
Horizon: Seeing Stars showcasing the world’s best telescopes, got round this problem by not bothering to explain the difficult stuff, the basic message of the voiceover being: “This is all really important but I’m not going to say why, as you won’t understand, so just sit back and enjoy the pictures because they are stunning.” This no-nonsense approach was surprisingly effective because it lived up to its billing: the images were breathtaking.