Sundays, on BBC
Reporting on the latest cosmological events and the people who observe them.
May 9 2016 sees one of the astronomical highlights of the year - a transit of Mercury across the sun, the best opportunity to observe this phenomenon until 2049. To mark the event, the Sky at Night attempts to explain the many mysteries of Mercury - a planet so bizarre that it is sometimes described as the 'problem child' of the solar system. Surface temperatures exceed 450 degrees but it also has patches of ice, its day is twice as long as its year, and it is a planet that appears to be shrinking.
This first Sky at Night of 2009 is a celebration of the humble (and Hubble) telescope, which is now 400 years old. It all began with Galileo . . . or did it? Patrick Moore furrows his brow over the news that an Englishman may have invented the first. Over the last 50 years Patrick has visited almost all of the worlds large telescopes, and there is some archive footage of some of these visits.