BBC Television programmes  permalink

Supermassive Black Holes - Horizon

Messages: 1 - 15 of 15
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Hurtlejolt (U14560602) on Thursday, 27th June 2013

    I was looking forward to watching this episode of Horizon and learning
    more about black holes. What I learned was how to pad out a 15 minute
    program to an hour, by showing numerous repeats of the same meaningless
    graphics, moody video clips of scientists walking about and lots of
    shots of a 'black hole' neon sign, presumably so the BBC could get
    their monies worth from a prop that will be hard to re-use. Add to this
    the commentary that was twaddle half the time, and I'm sure you can
    understand my disappointment.

    The BBC used to produce great science programs, that didn't talk down
    to the viewer, or assume that they had the attention span of a gnat.
    I'm no scientist or expert, but I felt cheated and insulted by the
    constant efforts to sex up what would have been a very interesting
    topic, presented properly.

    Reply to this message 1

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by mirandashell (U1946590) on Thursday, 27th June 2013

    So I'm guessing you haven't watched Horizon for the last 10 years?

    Reply to this message 2

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by jonnyboy (U14965236) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    I was looking forward to watching this episode of Horizon and learning
    more about black holes. What I learned was how to pad out a 15 minute
    program to an hour, by showing numerous repeats of the same meaningless
    graphics, moody video clips of scientists walking about and lots of
    shots of a 'black hole' neon sign, presumably so the BBC could get
    their monies worth from a prop that will be hard to re-use. Add to this
    the commentary that was twaddle half the time, and I'm sure you can
    understand my disappointment.

    The BBC used to produce great science programs, that didn't talk down
    to the viewer, or assume that they had the attention span of a gnat.
    I'm no scientist or expert, but I felt cheated and insulted by the
    constant efforts to sex up what would have been a very interesting
    topic, presented properly. 
    Here is a Fantastic website that is far Superior to anything the BBC could produce.

    science.discovery.co...

    Reply to this message 3

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Portly (U1381981) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    I agree that there was some "padding" including endless shots of the chap diving from the cliff into the sea. I realise that this was supposed to be symbolic, but the symbolism didn't mean anything in relation to the phenomenon of black holes.

    I suppose the Nathan Barleys of this world would consider it rar too "retro" to show us an astrophysicist speaking the words as if were a lecture, instead of the meaningless "wallpaper."

    I also thought that the lady who did the voice-over had a disagreeably flat and hostile sort of voice, and would have preferred to hear somebody friendlier.

    All that said, I thought it was actually a very good science documentary which told us all sorts of important stuff which nobody had actually told me in previous documentaries. For example that as quasars, black holes are often very bright! It was also very interesting to consider that the black holes that are in the centres of galaxies are not a nasty frightening phenomenon, but an integral part of the formation of galaxies to which we probably owe our own existence.

    So overall, a big thumbs-up! smiley - ok

    Reply to this message 4

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Kino (U6275716) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    Horizon was recently described as resembling someones gsce science project - I couldn't agree more. Please put it out of its misery and get back to reporting actual science.

    Reply to this message 5

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Calendula (U2331338) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    Opportunity for some great background music for once

    www.youtube.com/watc...

    Reply to this message 6

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by DrChops (U2899399) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    I'd love someone from the production team to explain what the guy diving off the cliff was meant to represent.

    Reply to this message 7

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Huckerback (U14411634) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    I'd love someone from the production team to explain what the guy diving off the cliff was meant to represent. 
    The depths to which Horizon is sinking I imagine. smiley - erm

    The narration was banging on with dining metaphors ("the black hole is getting ready to feast" - which was just gibberish); and the visuals were banging on with the diving clip smiley - doh.

    Dining / diving - was there a typo in the production dept?

    Anyway, he should have been spaghettified - that would have covered all bases.

    Reply to this message 8

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by z4mster (U14864348) ** on Friday, 28th June 2013



    Dining / diving - was there a typo in the production dept?

    Anyway, he should have been spaghettified - that would have covered all bases. 

    Only if served up with a Crab Nebula Ragu.

    Reply to this message 9

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    Horizon was recently described as resembling someones gsce science project - I couldn't agree more. Please put it out of its misery and get back to reporting actual science.  I think I may have said that and honestly, it feels as if black holes are just something they dust off every couple of years - black holes and the origins of the universe (and most galling of all, despite the frequency with which it is covered the scientifically illiterate production team can't help but describe the origin of the universe as "nothing exploding"... meaning their science is on a par with CREATION APOLOGISTS) are practically staples in the bland mush of trivial pap that Horizon now is.

    It's a point I often mention but... isn't this supposed to be a flagship science show? Shouldn't it be covering exciting new science stuff?

    That's not to say we've not learned more about black holes or the origin of the universe in the past decade but it's the kind of stuff that Horizon these days wouldn't know what to do with... Honestly, I'm waiting for the programme to devolve into an unintentional "Look Around You", with them saying "What is a black hole? We just don't know."

    The way Horizon is now, you'd think we were in a period of almost no scientific progress... there are SO many things that could make for interesting programmes. Any number of topics from the past decade that could be genuinely fascinating to people of a wide variety of scientific backgrounds.

    All of which just makes the multi-faceted and complete failure of Horizon to show any of it that much more painful.

    Reply to this message 10

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by JanetDoe (U10211737) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    I fell asleep twenty minutes in - the woman's voice was so monotonous - and they hadn't actually said anything.

    If the chap diving was supposed to be a metaphor for going into a black hole, pity he wasn't mashed to pieces on the rocks.

    Reply to this message 11

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Geometry_Man (U12739007) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    It was also very interesting to consider that the black holes that are in the centres of galaxies are not a nasty frightening phenomenon, but an integral part of the formation of galaxies to which we probably owe our own existence.
     

    Sorry, but I thought that was complete rubbish. The star processes necessary to form the elements of which we are made would still have happened anyway. All our central black hole might have influenced is the galaxy's ultimate size - not that it exists at all, or our physical position within it.


    Absolutely typical of modern "Horizon"s, this programme contained everything I hate in a documentary.

    A commentary full of dramatic claptrap and hackneyed phrases, frequent ghastly music and other noises in the soundtrack, arty shots totally inappropriate to the subject material, use of trendy but inaccurate similes in descriptions aimed at the presumed clueless public (and yet occasionally dropping in phrases like "event horizon" with no explanation at all).

    What this programme had to say, and the small amount of material I didn't already know, could probably have been fitted into about 10 minutes. I don't bother with many "Horizon"s now, and it's only irrational optimism that makes me watch any at all.

    Reply to this message 12

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    Sorry, but I thought that was complete rubbish. The star processes necessary to form the elements of which we are made would still have happened anyway. All our central black hole might have influenced is the galaxy's ultimate size - not that it exists at all, or our physical position within it. 
    Indeed, black holes can form after a supernova - elements past iron are created by the supernova... that's pretty much the kind of thing you'd learn in black holes 101...

    Also, black holes are essentially space sharks - which is to say, thanks to Hollywood they've an undeserved reputation. Black holes aren't evil vacuum cleaners hell bent on our destruction - they're just... black holes.

    What this programme had to say, and the small amount of material I didn't already know, could probably have been fitted into about 10 minutes. I don't bother with many "Horizon"s now, and it's only irrational optimism that makes me watch any at all. 
    Brian Sewell's summation of the BBC having a paralysing fear of the intellectual rings so true when it comes to Horizon...

    Reply to this message 13

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by eviled2 (U14446578) on Friday, 28th June 2013

    The bit about the "new" telescope with adaptive optics was a bit misleading.
    If I remember correctly, the narrator told us that the centre of the galaxy is obscured with dust/gas etc but the "new" telescope would counter the effects of looking through our atmosphere and would allow us to see the centre of the galaxy in detail. This seemed to be confusing two things....the problems of observing through our atmosphere and the problems involved in observing the centre of the galaxy.

    These "new" telescopes, with their adaptive optics are indeed very effective instruments, counteracting the effects of an unstable and polluted atmosphere on visual/imaging observing but they are optical telescopes nonetheless and no matter how adaptive their optics are, if the centre of the galaxy is obscured by dust and gas then they still will be unable to see past/through it.

    The little film of those fast moving starts at the centre of the galaxy was made by this optical telescope so clearly the centre is not obscured and can be observed in the optical wavelengths. The pictures of the approaching gas cloud that the astronomers are hoping will be consumed by the black hole is obviously viewable in the optical wavelengths too.

    Got a bit fed up with the constant references to black holes "feeding" too.

    Reply to this message 14

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by z4mster (U14864348) ** on Friday, 28th June 2013

    The bit about the "new" telescope with adaptive optics was a bit misleading.
    If I remember correctly, the narrator told us that the centre of the galaxy is obscured with dust/gas etc but the "new" telescope would counter the effects of looking through our atmosphere and would allow us to see the centre of the galaxy in detail. This seemed to be confusing two things....the problems of observing through our atmosphere and the problems involved in observing the centre of the galaxy.

    These "new" telescopes, with their adaptive optics are indeed very effective instruments, counteracting the effects of an unstable and polluted atmosphere on visual/imaging observing but they are optical telescopes nonetheless and no matter how adaptive their optics are, if the centre of the galaxy is obscured by dust and gas then they still will be unable to see past/through it.

    The little film of those fast moving starts at the centre of the galaxy was made by this optical telescope so clearly the centre is not obscured and can be observed in the optical wavelengths. The pictures of the approaching gas cloud that the astronomers are hoping will be consumed by the black hole is obviously viewable in the optical wavelengths too.

    Got a bit fed up with the constant references to black holes "feeding" too. 

    eviled2, if your are referring to the black and white very pixelated film of the fast moving stars (as opposed to the computer graphic representation), I believe that was taken from another galaxy, but I don't think which was mentioned.

    If I understood the optical bit correctly, the point was that the optical telescopes were used for atmospheric correction and IR detectors were used to look beyond the crap beyond, though I agree, it did come across as though the optical correction was used to get through the dust etc.

    But that was my second go at it, late last night, so I still may not have followed it as I thought. That wouldn't be my fault though. smiley - smiley

    All the buff man diving off cliffs did for me was make me remember a pretty special night with my girlfriend at Durdle Door in August 1990.

    Reply to this message 15

    Report message15

Back to top

About this Board

The Points of View team invite you to discuss BBC Television programmes.

Add basic Smileys or extra Smileys to your posts.

Questions? Check the BBC FAQ for answers first!

Go to: BBC News Have your say to discuss topics in the news

Make a complaint? Go to the BBC complaints website.

BBC News: Off-topic for this board, so contact them directly with your feedback: Contact BBC News

or register to take part in a discussion.



Mon-Sat: 0900-2300
Sun: 1000-2300

This messageboard is reactively moderated.

Find out more about this board's House Rules

Search this Board

Recent Discussions

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.