BBC’s The Sky at Night presenter talks about episode filmed in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 18:30 03 August 2017

The next epsiode of The Sky at Night will be shown from Sidmouth.

The next epsiode of The Sky at Night will be shown from Sidmouth.

Archant

An exciting episode of the BBC’s iconic astronomy programme The Sky at Night, which was filmed in Sidmouth, has been planned for next week.

Chris Lintott who was at the time being filmed talking about various meteorite and what they are made of. Picture: Pete YoudChris Lintott who was at the time being filmed talking about various meteorite and what they are made of. Picture: Pete Youd

Speaking to the Herald, co-presenter Chris Lintott told of the work they were doing while filming at the Norman Lockyer Observatory last Friday.

The show is the longest-running science television programme in the world and takes monthly looks at developments in space exploration, as well as what can be seen in the night sky. The next episode is set to air on Sunday, August 13, at 10pm on BBC Four.

Professor Lintott, who is from Torquay, spoke about what he and his co-presenters Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Pete Lawrence had been up to in Sidmouth.

He said: “We have been doing experiments to prove things like space dust is falling down on us all the time, although it is not in a dangerous way.

The Sky at Night crew filming on the roof. Picture: David StrangeThe Sky at Night crew filming on the roof. Picture: David Strange

“We have been scraping the gutters here at the observatory and pulling out the gunk and sorting through it. We have found one thing that was definitely from space which has been floating around in the solar system for a billion years. Anything that gives us a connection to space is very exciting.”

Mr Lintott added that they had also been speaking with asteroid expert Professor Alan Fitzsimmons and looking at how asteroid hunters work to find anything that might crash into the earth and the effects it would have.

Along with this, the show will also be looking at the Perseid Meteor Shower, which is the debris left from a comet and will be ongoing until August 24.

“I am really excited about space dust and I am going to keep going on about it until everyone else is too,” added Mr Lintott.

A micrometeorite discovered on the observatory roof. It was 30 microns in size, the width of a human hair. Imaged through an electron microscope. Picture: David StrangeA micrometeorite discovered on the observatory roof. It was 30 microns in size, the width of a human hair. Imaged through an electron microscope. Picture: David Strange

“We can use it to find out about the solar system as most of it has not changed in four-and-a-half billion years, since the solar system began.”

Mr Lintott said some of the leading amateur astronomers in the country who looked at meteors used the Norman Lockyer Observatory

He added: “Here they have the means to use radio to detect when a shooting star will come.

“It is nice for me because a lot of my interests came from being up on Dartmouth and seeing all the things you can only see with a proper dark sky – we are very lucky we can do that here. It is also great to pay homage to Lockyer - not only did he discover helium, but he also found that the sun was mostly made of hydrogen.”


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