Seeing Stars

2011 ,    »  -   93 Comments
Ratings: 8.46/10 from 24 users.

Seeing StarsAround the world, a new generation of astronomers are hunting for the most mysterious objects in the universe. Young stars, black holes, even other forms of life.

They have created a dazzling new set of super-telescopes that promise to rewrite the story of the heavens.

This film follows the men and women who are pushing the limits of science and engineering in some of the most extreme environments on earth. But most strikingly of all, no-one really knows what they will find out there.

93 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Guest

    If they were to find a black hole could it be that there is only one and that everything else surrounds it, earth included?
    Or could it be that the black hole is like the skin of a body, surrounding everything we see, therefore a black hole is not in the middle but on the edge of life itself?

  2. BuzzBeak
  3. BuzzBeak

    There are most likely billions, considering there's a super massive one in the centre of every galaxy, I can't even begin to fathom how your second question would work, but what's outside the edge of the universe is anyone's guess!

  4. Jason
  5. Jason

    Very good question, Azilda I like you a bunch ;)

  6. Henri van Schijndel
  7. Henri van Schijndel

    So we are living in a singularity?

  8. Jack1952
  9. Jack1952

    @ Henri van Schijndel

    That would imply that we are living inside a singularity and looking for a singularity that exists inside of it just as we do. It would indicate a universe that becomes infinitely bigger and smaller and we are living in one stage of that universe of infinity. I'm not to sure there is any evidence for this.

  10. Guest
  11. Guest

    I like your shows that nature is at the forefront in your life. Thank you.

  12. Guest
  13. Guest

    i certainly am a singularity

  14. Guest
  15. Guest

    @Jack 1952
    There has always been evidence of this in my life or mind, even as a very young child dreaming. I used to dream that i was in a rounded box and my Self was like dough, rising to a point of almost exploding the box and then diminishing to a infinitely small particle within the box and back to rising......
    It would wake me up in fear, now i enjoy it whenever it happens.

  16. magarac
  17. magarac

    What a beautiful desert the atacama is. Guess i´ll have to go there and see it for myself...

  18. Sion88
  19. Sion88

    It is difficult to conceive how anything could be at all if there was not a force of contraction at varying scales at the core of every unit of stuff. Expansion goes with contraction, obviously one can not be if the other is not. So must the thing that facilitates contraction be omnipresent in quanta. Very possibly it should be the same thing that brings upon expansion at the precise moment when all things have converged into singularity.

    Of course, the standing observation is that all stuff seems to be expanding ever faster away from the point of observation and therefore there is no contraction in the ultimate sense. This however does not necessarily have to be the case if it is considered that the all entities are moving away from a central point and that this movement is becoming varyingly slower depending on the distance of a particular entity from the central point. The central point here would be the point of ultimate contraction.

    Consider the point of observation at a location between the entities being observed and offset from the central point. Those entities that are closer to the central point in relation to the point of observation could be slowing more quickly than the point of observation itself and thereby for all intents and purposes moving away with increasing velocity from the point of observation. In turn, those entities that are farther could be slowing at a lesser rate and again in the absolute sense moving away with increasing velocity from the point of observation. If this were so, the movement should eventually reverse.

    The above of course does not work if the force of contraction is spatially and temporally constant. It may not be, considering that at a certain distance from the central point, objects should already be converging towards it. The force should then be increasing gradually with the increase of mass. Or it could be that due to a lack of elementary understanding, the above is a misconception.

  20. Henri van Schijndel
  21. Henri van Schijndel

    Haha, you are right. But i like the term: singularity......It's a scientific way to say: "we don't know...".

  22. Irishkev
  23. Irishkev

    Elementary, my dear Watson. Hold on whilst I jack myself up.

  24. 46nTwo
  25. 46nTwo

    I have not seen this doc yet but I would like to put my 2 cents in on the whole singularity idea. I feel that the past and the future can not be changed. The "in the now" is the change; the singularity. We are all apart of this. The past is forever infinite (meaning that info form the past is forever, and the way it makes you feel is infinite). The "in the now" is the pages of history; the future does not change the past and vice versa. The "in the now" is the only thing that is the singularity.

    sorry if this doesn't make sense, i',m kinda drunk :)

  26. Guest
  27. Guest

    Its difficult to appreciate just how incredible the universe is. Kind of like seeing a picture of a whale without a little diagram man standing by it or when your a kid and trying to imagine how big a million is when you can only count to a hundred. Without some kind of comparison it hard to imagine the scale. I can get a feeling of infinity but I cant comprehend it. When I was little I used to cry with frustration trying to imagine that, also trying to understand where that infinity exists, surely it has to be in something? I understand better now but I still have a childlike suspicion that the universe has an end and that there is something else after that. And then what comes after that, is that infinite as well? I think my brain just melted!

  28. Achems_Razor
  29. Achems_Razor

    @fifty 4fourty:

    You brain just melted? I will get it past the point of no return, lol
    Don't know if the universe has an end and more after that, but according to all the science in progress we may live in a mutiverse, one of 10^500 other universes, and then 10^500 universes in each of the following multiverses. Quilted...Inflationary...Brane...Cyclic...landscape...Quantum...Holographic...Simulated...Ultimate.

  30. Guest
  31. Guest

    May be if you had smoked a doobie you would make a lot more sense. Alcool shrinks your mind while pot seem to expand it.

  32. Guest
  33. Guest

    Do I have to pick one or can I have them all? I try to keep up with this stuff by reading science magazines but they keep changing their minds. I enjoy the sense of awe, staring into space and thinking those things, feeling teeny tiny and fantastically lucky to be here. If I can only pick one I'll have Quilted, I've made a few quilts so we have an affinity :)

  34. Guest
  35. Guest

    may be the end is a mirror "kind of thing".

  36. Guest
  37. Guest

    Well, then, I guess I'll have to take Inflationary, because at the slightest provocation I tend to get...expansive. (lol)

    A trick I use for getting to sleep at night is to imagine myself alone in a very small, very futuristic spacecraft, with everything on it I need to survive, including a single companion, on a journey to these stars and away from all the troubles of this planet.

    I love a cold night, and a very clear sky in the country (preferably with the sound of running water nearby). That is married to my "soul" in a way that is useless to explain in words. At a time like that, I feel both small and huge.

  38. Achems_Razor
  39. Achems_Razor


    Then your multiverse of choice is "Holographic Multiverse"

  40. Guest
  41. Guest

    yourself alone, who's the single companion, your big Self?

  42. Guest
  43. Guest

    No, anything but... The companion is the perfect woman, of course.

    By the way, YOU misspelled the word alcohol earlier, lol.

  44. Guest
  45. Guest

    That translating brain has failed me again.
    Perfect woman? We cannot have a perfect other, hard enough to be perfect ourself.

  46. Guest
  47. Guest

    Is that what you would call a singularity that looks at it's Self that looks at it's selves?

  48. Guest
  49. Guest

    Are you calling me Miss Pelled? lol
    The frustrating experience of pedestrian traffic being slowed to a crawl by the elderly. Most commonly used in supermarket aisles, narrow sidewalks, and amusement park walkways.


  50. Guest
  51. Guest

    But in our imaginations, Az...
    (And as you were pointing out my error, I was just teasing you in turn about the misspelling, Miss Pelling. Because other than that...)

  52. Achems_Razor
  53. Achems_Razor


    Would call it a "narcissistic" singularity.

  54. Achems_Razor
  55. Achems_Razor

    Okay, youse guyses, won't be long now before the powers that be will say these posts are becoming idle chit-chat, lets talk about cosmology, space, the stars, and anything else that is relevant to this doc. What do you all say, Eh?

  56. Guest
  57. Guest

    like the one in "Don't Talk About The Weather"?
    I agree, let's stay on topic.

  58. Guest
  59. Guest

    as i say:
    Self importance doesn't hurt anyone
    Immerse your Self in yourself....
    you may find a thing or two that are different from the rest.

  60. Guest
  61. Guest

    After all this time, you still don't quite comprehend my hum our!

  62. Guest
  63. Guest

    Here's a question one of my kids asked, not sure if she heard it somewhere or thought it up herself. If you were in a car and travelling at light speed, would you see the headlights when you turned them on. Any Idea'?

  64. Guest
  65. Guest

    Like the ship from Contact? Brilliant book.

  66. Guest
  67. Guest

    Some might interpret that as the Anthropocentric view of the universe, minus everyone else! And including everyone else! It's fun to watch her think, isn't it?!

  68. Guest
  69. Guest

    No, you wouldn't. I'm pretty sure things would appear to be motionless from that perspective, but Achems can answer this better than I can.

  70. Guest
  71. Guest

    Read it twice. Underrated film, too. Not enough GORE and GREEN PEOPLE for a modern audience, I think.

  72. Achems_Razor
  73. Achems_Razor

    Yes, the light from your headlights would be seen and still going the speed of light at 186,000 miles per second from the source, no matter what your speed is at that time. But, if you were travelling at light speed, time would stand still, no time, and at that speed you would become an infinite singularity/infinite mass. Therefore nothing can go the speed of light, that is anything resting, as in matter. But there may be faster than speed of C as to the latest experiments.

  74. Guest
  75. Guest

    And if they can go faster than C, then they can't go slower than C. Otherwise, that would just be a big turd in the whole punchbowl, as far as information goes. lol.

  76. Guest
  77. Guest

    Well, maybe...
    I do get the "Self" ref now, I think.
    How could I have missed it?! You put it right in my lap, for heaven's sake.

  78. Guest
  79. Guest

    Thank-you, not sure I understand though. Not sure how to ask the next bit so bare with me please. Would the source be the place in time that you turned the lights on, or is the source in front of you as you travel? How is it that only light can travel at the speed of light, if time stands still why doesn't light also? Isn't light matter? If I'm asking silly questions just say,it's ok :)

  80. Guest
  81. Guest

    i like your questions, especially if they are inspired by a child.
    Those little buggers are sooooo smart and the joy is that they don't even know it yet.

  82. Guest
  83. Guest

    I'm always disappointed when they wheel out the space monsters, they never seem to have hands that would be any real use. Humans have a useful shape, I like to think Aliens would be more or less like us. And yes, love the film too.

  84. Guest
  85. Guest

    The only thing faster than the new thing that's faster than light, A kids power to flummox its parents! She made me e.mail Stephen Hawking, no reply though as he's so busy.

  86. Guest
  87. Guest

    Photons have zero mass, so that rule doesn't apply to them, which is why anything makes any sense at all, since light is the carrier of information.
    I'm not sure I understand the first question.

  88. Guest
  89. Guest

    If you were travelling at the speed of light, my guess is that you would be a ball of fire (light) and would not see other light, they would all merge with you.
    If you were travelling at the speed of energy, you wouldn't be physical, that's why i say we are not physical, i am energy.
    Physicallity is something we hold together as a group.

  90. Guest
  91. Guest

    The dear man may still be working on his answer!
    ( I really had suspicions that I might have a decent enough mind, until I had kids. Now I know better, both, because of them, and because I had them, lol. )

  92. Guest
  93. Guest

    I keep postponing reading that book, the film was good, i bet the book is better.

  94. Guest
  95. Guest

    Did you tell him the question came from a kid? That should inspire a guy like him. Busy...yes he is...but he sure seem like he would have extra time on his hands.
    Try again, send a picture of her with it.
    He will answer...i promise...i bet!

  96. Alan Baca
  97. Alan Baca

    and this is only a minut beginning. Like cavemen looking at the stars we are looking at the universe and wondering, wondering, wondering

  98. magarac
  99. magarac

    Watch the Sixty Symbols episode c. Only about 5 minutes but still some good information.

  100. Guest
  101. Guest

    It is, but they were pretty faithful to it in the film, for a change. In the book, however, there's a mystery hidden deep in the number pi that isn't covered in the film that would probably be especially fascinating to you, with your propensity for looking INTO things, instead of merely AT them.

  102. Guest
  103. Guest

    It is officially now at the top in my bucket list.

  104. Guest
  105. Guest

    I've watched that a few times now, I love it but I think I love it because I get caught up in their excitement. Will definitely catch it again though.

  106. magarac
  107. magarac

    They truly are people who love their job there is no doubt about that.
    They even mentioned part of these things you asked on c+.

  108. Guest
  109. Guest

    I'm going to curl up and watch that one late tonight when the house is quiet, since I've heard you guys saying such good things about it!

  110. Guest
  111. Guest

    No I didn't, Your probably right though and I will try again. I'll let you know if it works. It would make a great addition to my 'in case I die unexpectedly' diary too :)

  112. Guest
  113. Guest

    Haha, I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder why I come to this site. I should put Bob the Builder on instead and accept defeat!

  114. Achems_Razor
  115. Achems_Razor

    @50 4 40

    What I mean by the source is like a turned on flashlight, lamp, anything that generates light, when you turn on the light, even though you could be travelling up to the speed of C "your light from your source," flashlight, et al. would still travel at 186,000 miles per second.

    And at the perspective of a photon, there is light but no movement, no time, the faster a person goes the slower the time, and again a but, the time only slows to the observer observing the person that is travelling at that speed, time seems to the observer to be slowing down to the one travelling, but to the one that is travelling time would be as normal to the traveller.

    No, light is not matter, there is no resting mass in a photon.

  116. Guest
  117. Guest

    Achems razor said 'Yes, the light from your headlights would be seen and still going the speed of light at 186,000 miles per second from the source, no matter what your speed is at that time.'
    ... maybe I should just go with the easy answer, 'yes-sort of'
    no worries, see below :)

  118. Guest
  119. Guest

    Going to have to dive back in there if only to find a better way to ask what I want to know. That's Saturday sorted then!

  120. Guest
  121. Guest

    OH! And the lights go on! So anything faster than a photon is a time traveller? Hope I've got that right, your explanation was clear enough but my mind might be a little foggy.

    edit- Brain Light....Fail :(

  122. Achems_Razor
  123. Achems_Razor

    No, not really, anything that goes fast, even our rockets are time travellers, our GPS system is a time traveller, google "time dilation" also.

  124. Guest
  125. Guest

    'You brain just melted? I will get it past the point of no return, lol'
    I thought you were joking :)

  126. Stardust
  127. Stardust

    true, true...

  128. European Art
  129. European Art

    This program shows the enthusiasm of scientists searching for a Black Hole at the middle of our galaxy. I used to believe this but now have changed my mind. There is NOT a super massive Black Hole at the middle of our galaxy, nor in the middle of any other galaxies. Why do I say this? 1) If there was a supper massive black hole in the middle of our galaxy it would be consuming our galaxy like water flows down a sink drain. This is NOT happening. Therefore there is not a Black Hole at the middle of our galaxy. 2) If there was a supper massive black hole in the middle of our galaxy the stars would spin faster at the center of the galaxy and slower further out. This is the conservation of momenturm. This observation is NOT supported. Stars spin at the same speed in the center of the galaxy as they do on the outer perimeter, therefore a super massive black hole does NOT exist in the middle of our galaxy. Therefore based on basic knowledge these scientists are wasting their time looking for something that is not there.

  130. Achems_Razor
  131. Achems_Razor

    Would like to see your sources, or peer reviewed papers stating there is no black hole at centre of our galaxy, your basic knowledge means nothing, not supported. Concerning the time and resources spent on formulating this peer reviewed theory by major scientists it is not in error and is supported.

  132. UniversalCypher
  133. UniversalCypher

    i could be wrong, but i believe you've mistaken the speed of spinning stars at the center of the galaxy for the inner galaxy. i believe the comparison of speed doesnt affect the stars at all. the stars could be freely whipping around at high speeds near the center, in an inner part of the galaxy that is in a fixed rotation with the outer part of the galaxy. i also believe the time it takes a super massive black hole to consume a galaxy is much longer than water flowing down a sink drain. we're talking about a cosmic structure that is 100,000 light years across, and filled with 200+ billion stars. if such were the physics of black holes, then we might as well toss out the theory of them existing at all, since they would have swallowed up the entire universe by now; at a sink drain's pace. i remember hearing something about the speed of matter rotating around a black hole outside of the event horizon. i'll just leave it at that..

  134. Guest
  135. Guest

    I believe if enough people believe a black hole is, a black hole will be, but if enough people believe no black hole is then no black hole will be.
    WE create our reality, our reality is what we believe it to be if enough of us believe it.

  136. John Pham
  137. John Pham

    the cosmo is like a woman, mankind and work at it for ages but it will never be define or "figured out" that doesn't mean we stop trying to hit the "spot" LOL

  138. John Pham
  139. John Pham

    mankind can*

  140. Rocky Racoon
  141. Rocky Racoon

    That is what Forrest Gump's mother told him more or less it all depends on your attitude right?

  142. Guest
  143. Guest

    I heard the exact same question this morning on Sixty Symbols, second window down ....third or fourth question...and there are opinions given.

  144. Guest
  145. Guest

    I heard a scientist say: "if we can think it, it must exist somewhere" or somethiing close to that...i am trying to find where from, it was on a doc not long ago.

  146. KsDevil
  147. KsDevil

    The Universe is huge. I mean really huge. You can't imagine just how vastly huge it is. Walking down to the chemists may seem like a long way, but that's just peanuts to the size of the Universe.
    On the subject of light. Carl Sagan has explained the headlight question in one of the Cosmos episodes. Of course that was well before the recent experiements that suggests the speed of light is not what we think it is.
    We live in interesting times. The amount of knowledge we are gaining about the Universe every year is astounding. All of this and we are still stuck on this modest blue planet. What awaits us when we finally do get out there?

  148. Guest
  149. Guest

    Astrophysicist Sarah Seager says: "everything we can imagine will exist somewhere" at 22:11 on the latest wormhole What Do Aliens Look Like.

  150. Guest
  151. Guest

    Yay! I'll get her to watch it with me, maybe that's where she heard it . I usually have to watch things a few times as I miss bits when the sewing machine rattles, She must have caught some of the stuff I missed. Cheers Azilda x

  152. Achems_Razor
  153. Achems_Razor

    50 4 40,

    This might help your Dtr with the headlight question...Special Relativity incorporates that the speed of light is the same for all inertial observers regardless of the state of motion of the source.

  154. Guest
  155. Guest

    @ The Mighty Achem, Your lesson yesterday must have had some impact as I had very disturbed dreams last night and woke early with an idea that I should spend some time in the science category for a while and PAY ATTENTION.

  156. Guest
  157. Guest

    Douglas Adams!

  158. Anthony Pirtle
  159. Anthony Pirtle

    Stars orbit black holes without being consumed just like they orbit any other source of gravity.

  160. Guest
  161. Guest

    Right on. And, anyway, I'm pretty sure they would have to have crossed the Event Horizon, which is different, in terms of it's location, for every black hole, according to it's size, before they could actually be sucked into it.

  162. Yi Wen Qian
  163. Yi Wen Qian

    The recent event has been resolved btw, it turned out to be equipment inaccuracy.

  164. Dominic
  165. Dominic

    The Human mind is too small to ever know the origin or size of the universe. Everytime we think we have reached the edge there will always be something beyond it compelling us to keep chasing forever. The answer to one mystery will always open questions to another one.

  166. donjusko
  167. donjusko

    I don't think the Van Allen Belt was explained correctly. That's a lot when conceder how much we spent on Cosmic rays. As I remember it was flecks of light outside the cabin and nothing was said about seeing them with the eyes closed. I believe the happening occurred just below the ionosphere in Tesla's Shuman Cavity which we later called the Van Allen's Belt.

    Tesla's principle is the foundation of HAARP, it's feeding electricity to the Shuman Cavity. Bernard Eastlund of Columbia Physics (PTI) patented it for defenses, HAARP is using it to modify the weather and vibrating specific targets.

  168. Yi Wen Qian
  169. Yi Wen Qian

    Lol, HAARP, the moby dick of conspiracy theories.

  170. astromann
  171. astromann

    Interesting documentary until they got to the part about the moon landings. How any sane common sense person can still believe in that NASA lie is beyond me. Science needs to get it's house into order before it can reclaim credibility . I am conspiracy proponent because that is how this how the US administration, NASA and CIA have been able to propagate this rubbish for over 40 years. We haven't been 'back' though have we? QED.

  172. Achems_Razor
  173. Achems_Razor

    @astromann, Wrong, check Reuters news service for the latest photos of the manned moon landing sites, foot prints etc: from 13 miles up from the moon.

  174. Jack1952
  175. Jack1952

    HAARP. Earthquake, tsunami, and weather maker. That Katrina thing was quite the gaffe. They should take better aim next time.

  176. Yi Wen Qian
  177. Yi Wen Qian

    Yeah, missed the white house. :P

  178. BeardHero420
  179. BeardHero420


  180. Jane Doe
  181. Jane Doe

    How any sane common sense person can still not believe the evidence of the moon landings is beyond me.

  182. U2
  183. U2

    what they are really hunting for is another grant to float their do nothing lifestyle.

  184. Jay
  185. Jay

    Loved the doc, but was astounded by the claim at 42:30 that "our nearest galactic neighbor" was Centaurus A. This is incorrect. Our nearest galactic neighbor is Andromeda Galaxy at 2.5 million light years away. (Not counting the Magellanic clouds)

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