Put that HDTV to good use tonight. At 7:00 p.m. on NPT-Channel 8, and broadcast in high definition on Comcast Channel 240 and Charter Channel 788, is famed astronomer and popular science author Timothy’s Ferris’ Seeing in the Dark. The one-hour film includes stunning astrophotography and educational and inspiring interviews with both professional and amateur stargazers who have captured images within and beyond our solar system.
Based on his book of the same title, Seeing the Dark is “part memoir and part reportage” writes Ginia Bellefante in the New York Times. “What moves Mr. Ferris in “Seeing in the Dark” — what moves us — isn’t the cold, clammy intellectualism of scientific inquiry,” writes Bellefante, “but the aesthetics, the beauty and glory of it all.”
“While most people are aware that there are fascinating star clusters, nebulae and galaxies floating about up there,” writes Joshua Zumbrun in the Washington Post,” the high-definition astrophotography looks like something out of “Star Wars.” Who remembered that our real universe could look that way, too?”
Zumbrun also reminds us that while the images in the film are awesome, and Ferris’ story is inspiring, the film’s companion site is thrilling. Everything you need to get started with stargazing and astrophotography is there, including — and this may be one of the coolest things about it — a map of your nighttime sky. Click on the “Your Sky Tonight” link, and unless you’ve got some firewall issues, or want a chart for somewhere else, it will give you a starchart for tonight where you live. It has several defaults, but you can make changes to your horizon, field of view or what your want your chart to contain, including an Equatorial Grid, Constellation Lines, Constellation Borders or Object Labels.
Here’s the 100 degree view from Franklin tonight at 10:00 p.m. with object labels and constellation borders:
You have found your new hobby.
Seeing In The Dark site: http://www.pbs.org/seeinginthedark/index.html