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400 Years of the Telescope
The documentary kicks off a year-long community celebration by WQED to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009.



Celebration includes OnQ specials and community activities

PITTSBURGH – A sweeping film celebrating four centuries of astral discoveries will make its debut on PBS when 400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thoughts airs on Friday, April 10 at 10pm on WQED-TV.

The documentary kicks off a year-long community celebration by WQED to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The celebration includes OnQ features and special programming, events for new and existing members of WQED, interactive components on www.wqed.org, and activities with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh (AAAP).

400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thoughts takes viewers on a visually stunning journey from Galileo’s first look at the cosmos in 1609 to today’s thrilling quests to discover new worlds and glimpse the formation of the first stars after the Big Bang. Emmy® Award-winning writer and producer Kris Koenig and the Interstellar Studios production team traveled the globe to interview leading astronomers and cosmologists against a backdrop of the world’s greatest observatories. 400 Years of the Telescope is narrated by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (host of NOVA Science Now), features a lush score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and is an official product of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009).

Special OnQ

As part of a larger community-wide engagement campaign, WQED’s OnQ will devote its entire half hour to astronomy on Thursday, April 9 at 7:30pm. Features will include stories on John A. Brashear, inventor of the Brashear telescope; the Allegheny Observatory on Pittsburgh’s North Side; and the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh (AAAP).

Community activities

WQED will partner with the AAAP on March 26 at the Carnegie Science Center for a WQED member event. The event includes the premiere of a new sky show produced by Buhl Planetarium, “Two Small Pieces of Glass,” the official planetarium show of the IYA 2009. AAAP will provide telescopes for roof top observation, and guests will receive a light meal, give-aways, a chance to win a telescope, and $2 off the admission price to the Science Center’s Space Out! Weekend March 27 through 29.

Celestron telescope prize

WQED is offering school districts a chance to win a CPC® GPS XLT Celestron Telescope. Entries can be filled out at “Space Out!” Weekend at the Science Center and online at www.wqed.org/tv until midnight, April 6, 2009. The winners will be drawn live on WQED’s OnQ on April 9 at 7:30pm.

Additional astronomy programming on WQED-TV

Additional astronomy-related programming planned to air on WQED-TV throughout the year includes NOVA: Monster of the Milky Way in June; Seeing in the Dark in July; and Journey to Palomar in September.

For more information on WQED’s participation in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, upcoming programming, and community engagement activities, go to www.wqed.org/tv.

400 Years of the Telescope was produced and directed by Kris Koenig, written by Donald Goldsmith, Ph.D. (author, co-author, or editor of more than two dozen books on astronomy), Albert van Helden, Ph.D. (President Emeritus of the History of Science Society and author of several books including The Invention of the Telescope and Measuring the Universe). Kris Koenig is founder and director of one of the most successful community observatories and the nation’s only outdoor planetarium, as well as creator of the Emmy® Award-winning ten-hour PBS telecourse “Astronomy: Observations and Theories.”

Celestron is an award-winning telescope maker, and leading designer, manufacturer and importer of high-quality optical products including computerized and non-computerized telescopes and related accessories, binoculars, spotting scopes and microscopes. Celestron’s innovative products continue to receive numerous industry and consumer media accolades, adding to an already impressive list that includes awards for product innovation from Reader’s Digest, Popular Science, PC Magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Consumer Electronics Association and more.

WQED Pittsburgh, honored with the 2007 and 2006 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award for Station Excellence, was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. WQED creates, produces and distributes quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within its community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQEX-TV (A ShopNBC affiliate); WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; a publishing division that includes PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org); and The WQED Education Department.


Producer Kris Koenig is available for interviews and photos live at WQED on Wednesday, March 25 between 9am and noon. To schedule an interview, please contact Maria Pisano at 412-622-1459 or mpisano@wqed.org.

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Tag(s): Community engagement



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