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The Great Sky Above

Episode 1 of 5

From the dawn of time, the night sky has captivated human imagination. Astronomer Dr Stuart Clark gives his personal perspective on how we draw meaning from the stars.

From the dawn of time, the night sky has captivated human imagination. Over five essays, astronomer Dr Stuart Clark gives his personal perspective on how we draw meaning from the stars.

Our history has been shaped by the night sky. We have worshiped it, used it for practical purposes such as time keeping and navigation, enchanted it with stories of heroes and gods and sought to link ourselves to it in both magical and scientific ways. In recent decades, we have even taken our first small steps to explore worlds beyond the Earth.

Stuart has never known a time when he wasn't utterly captivated by the darkness and the pinpoints of light embedded within it. As a young child he would gaze out of his bedroom window in rural Hertfordshire and wonder at the meaning of the stars.

Stuart argues that we use those distant realms as a mirror onto which we project our hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties. Our search for meaning in the night sky convinces him that looking upwards in wonder is one of the indelible hallmarks of what makes us human.

Each essay explores different aspects of our cultural understanding of the night sky. They all include practical advice on how listeners can look up and make sense of the darkness.

Producer: Richard Hollingham

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14 minutes

Last on

Mon 6 Jan 2020 22:45

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