Show me stargazing live!

Tomorrow (14 January 2012) to mark the beginning of a week of astronomy in the UK we will be hosting another of our Twitter events, Show Me Stars, where a prominent guest host tweets live while they observe with our network. The week of astronomy is promoted and organized by the BBC and is called Stargazing Live. It runs from 14 - 21 January 2012 and builds on the success of a pilot last year. BBC Stargazing Live provides a live documentary style of TV programme similar to SpringWatch but about astronomy and space. As well as the TV coverage there will be events all over the UK, engaging the public in astronomy, space and science in general.

We are partnering with the Faulkes Telescope Project to bring astronomy to the Big Screen, or rather the BBC Big Screens - giant TV screens continually showing news and other BBC content at 22 locations across the UK. Between 1300 - 1400 (UK time), I will be providing telescope operations support while Paul Roche observes with Faulkes Telescope North and South, live on TV.

The observations will also be going out live on our Show Me Stars site, with Paul Roche as the guest host, and we will be tweeting the observations live. Its slightly nerve wracking doing an observing demo in front of a live audience, much more so when the live audience is watching on 40' high TVs. I am not sure whether I would rather be on screen or have the responsibility for making sure the telescopes behave properly, but I will report back tomorrow about who got the better deal.

Whether you are in the UK or not, you can keep up with Show Me Stars on our dedicated site or #ShowMeStars Twitter hash tag, and also BBC Stargazing Live via their website and #BBCStargazing.

UPDATE - Monday 16 January, 11:30 UT

I am pleased to say the event went extremely well. The images from FTN were not of the highest quality but this was largely down to the Moon being high in the sky and nearly full at the time of observing. We managed to survive communications problems with Hawaii and weather problems in Australia, to bring live observations to the audience. It was a very cold day in UK on Saturday but astronomy on the Big Screens still got significant public attention (I hear from eye-witness reports on Twitter). The observations feed on Show Me Stars site also had a lot of attention, attracting retweets from Twitter celebrities such as Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy blog), Mark Thompson (BBC One Show astronomy expert) and Dara O Briain (UK comedian).

Many thanks to Stuart for standing in the cold next to the Cardiff BBC Big Screen and snapping the pictures of what was happening.