The Best Episodes of The Sky At Night

Other Solar Systems

#1 - Other Solar Systems

Season 2012 - Episode 1

We now know there are other solar systems far away in space, but are they like ours and is there life on these strange worlds? Sir Patrick Moore goes on the quest for little green men.

Outer Limits

#2 - Outer Limits

Season 2011 - Episode 12

The outer limits of the solar system are a dark, cold and mysterious place, which only the Voyager spacecraft have visited. Sir Patrick Moore discusses the ice giants Uranus and Neptune, while Chris Lintott has an early Christmas treat - a lost episode of The Sky at Night from 1963 which has been returned to the BBC, in which Arthur C Clarke talks about his vision of bases on the moon and speculates when man will be on Mars.

Orion the Hunter

#3 - Orion the Hunter

Season 2011 - Episode 2

The great winter constellation of Orion is easily visible, with its ruby red star Betelgeuse and distinctive shape. It is also home to the Orion nebula, our nearest stellar nursery, where thousands of stars are being born. Sir Patrick Moore and the Sky at Night team take us on a tour of this magnificent constellation and its jewels.

The Sun King

#4 - The Sun King

Season 2013 - Episode 2

The team are at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, to see how the sun affects our planet.

Age of the Infrared

#5 - Age of the Infrared

Season 2012 - Episode 2

Space telescopes such as Herschel and Spitzer are peering at the dusty, dark cosmos and with their infrared eyes they can see the cold parts of the sky where stars are being born. Sir Patrick Moore discusses why the infrared is full of hidden delights, whilst Dr Chris North talks to Dr Amy Mainzer about NASA's infrared WISE telescope.

Citizen Astronomy

#6 - Citizen Astronomy

Season 2012 - Episode 3

A look at how amateur astronomers can help in the quest for knowledge of the cosmos.

Double Star Party

#7 - Double Star Party

Season 2011 - Episode 4

Sir Patrick Moore joins an unlikely star party in the heart of London, where enthusiastic astronomers are cutting through the light pollution to see the planets and stars. Dr Chris Lintott also drops in on another star party - the 88th birthday celebrations for the nation's most famous astronomer.

They Fall to Earth

#8 - They Fall to Earth

Season 2013 - Episode 4

Meteorites regularly hit Earth, although most go undetected. Occasionally a big meteorite collides with Earth and when it does, it can cause devastation. Lucie Green and Chris Lintott visit the Natural History Museum to look at its meteorite collection and discuss the recent Russian impact. Jon Culshaw goes on a meteorite hunt, while Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel give their beginners' guide on how to look at Saturn.

Storm Chasing

#9 - Storm Chasing

Season 2011 - Episode 5

In the atmosphere of Saturn there is a gigantic storm, which is bigger than Earth itself. This month Sir Patrick Moore looks at the ringed planet, which can be seen in our night sky now. He talks to Paul Abel and Dr Chris North about these violent eruptions in the atmospheres of other worlds. And Jon Culshaw, Dr Lucie Green and Pete Lawrence travel to north Norway in search of the aurora borealis.

The Moore Marathon

#10 - The Moore Marathon

Season 2012 - Episode 5

The Sky at Night celebrates 55 years with the second of its special programmes. Sir Patrick picked out 55 objects in the April sky and asked viewers to take part in his Moore Marathon. He finds out how everyone got on, with help from the team.

The Billion Pixel Camera

#11 - The Billion Pixel Camera

Season 2015 - Episode 1

The Milky Way, our galaxy, is a magnificent sight in the night sky, but we know surprisingly little about it for certain. What is its shape? How many stars does it actually contain? What lies at its centre? The Gaia space telescope will answer these questions, being armed with the most advanced camera to leave our planet, and it will allow us to see our galaxy as we've never seen it before. The Sky at Night visits the factory in Chelmsford that made the astonishing sensor at the heart of the mission.

Interstellar:  The Journey to Proxima Centauri

#12 - Interstellar: The Journey to Proxima Centauri

Season 2016 - Episode 7

Chris Lintott and Maggie Aderin-Pocock report on the recent discovery of a planet with similar qualities to Earth orbiting Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our solar system. The programme examines what the environment of this world might be like and the logistics of building a spacecraft capable of travelling 4.23 light years to reach it.

Dawn at Vesta

#13 - Dawn at Vesta

Season 2011 - Episode 8

The NASA spacecraft Dawn is getting up close and personal with the asteroid Vesta. Sir Patrick Moore discusses the first fly-by images of this most unusual asteroid, which will tell us more about how our solar system formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Paul Abel and Pete Lawrence their guide to the August night sky, including the return of the red planet Mars.

Final Frontier

#14 - Final Frontier

Season 2011 - Episode 9

The future of manned space flight is entering an uncertain phase, with our once vivid dreams of returning to the Moon and landing on Mars shattered by budget cuts and lack of will. Sir Patrick Moore discusses the demise of the shuttle programme with astronaut Piers Sellers, and also goes on an interstellar journey with Project Icarus, the visionary idea of how man might one day visit other worlds.

Curiosity at Mars

#15 - Curiosity at Mars

Season 2012 - Episode 9

The NASA rover, Curiosity, the size of a small car and nuclear-powered, landed on Mars in August and took its first view of the red planet. This ambitious mission hopes to find the building blocks of life as well as study the Martian climate and geology. Sir Patrick Moore discusses what Curiosity will be doing, as well as what to see in the September night sky.

Fatal Attraction

#16 - Fatal Attraction

Season 2013 - Episode 9

Black holes are the beating heart of galaxies. It seems that they are pivotal in their evolution, but they also have a destructive side. A dust cloud more massive than the size of the Earth is on a doomed course, as it careers towards the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. Chris Lintott talks to the Astronomer Royal about this cataclysmic encounter.

Rosetta: A Sky at Night Special

#17 - Rosetta: A Sky at Night Special

Season 2014 - Episode 10

It is one of the most extraordinary space adventures in a generation - to land a spacecraft on a comet. The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft has been hurtling through space for over 10 years, tracking down a comet called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Now it is about to do something that has never been attempted before and land a spacecraft on the comet's surface. This special episode of The Sky at Night puts the viewer right at the heart of the action, witnessing events as they happened from inside mission control. It reveals the latest images, explores the first groundbreaking science coming back from the comet and asks the astonishing questions that make this mission so captivating. Could Earth's water have come from comets? How do comets survive for so long? Could they have triggered the start of life on Earth? The journey has been fraught with risk and at every stage the comet seems to surprise, but if the mission succeeds it will be a momentous day in the history of space exploration.

The Story of Stuff

#18 - The Story of Stuff

Season 2012 - Episode 11

Sir Patrick Moore, Dr Chris Lintott and Dr Chris North find out what the universe is made of, from the 'dark matter' that shapes our galaxies to the infinitesimally small particles that make up atoms. Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel show how to use a planisphere as a guide to the night sky and what objects can be ticked off on the 'Moore Winter Marathon'.

Moore Moon Marathon

#19 - Moore Moon Marathon

Season 2013 - Episode 11

The moon is a most familiar sight in our sky - it is the astronomer's friend and was Sir Patrick Moore's favourite object - yet fundamentally we still do not know how it was formed and why its far side looks so different. The team join astronomers on Blackheath to watch a lunar eclipse; find out how everyone got in the Moore Moon Marathon, the list of fascinating features you can see on the moon; and discuss the new missions that will explore this reassuringly familiar yet still most mysterious of cosmic satellites

The Stars Indoors

#20 - The Stars Indoors

Season 2011 - Episode 7

Sir Patrick Moore visits the South Downs Planetarium and discovers how the stars appeared to the ancient Egyptians, whilst Pete Lawrence explains what to look out for in the summer night sky.