For the past three months, my biggest job at Sky & Telescope has been writing the scripts for our SkyWeek television program. It's been the most fun I've had since the late lamented Night Sky magazine ceased publication.I've always loved writing for a general audience that knows little or nothing about astronomy, and you can't get a lot more general than the audience reached by television. And as with the Constellation Close-up department that I wrote for Night Sky, it gives me infinite opportunities to explore all the areas of human endeavor that astronomy touches on -- which is to say almost everything. Science, history, archaeology, folklore, art . . . you name it. This is also the most challenging job I've done for S&T. It's tough to wrap your mind around an entirely new medium; I would never have been able to do it without the advice and assistance of the brilliant people at Powderhouse Productions.
Above all, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the amazing multitalented Shweta Krishnan — scientist, writer, artist, and videographer. Shweta used to be an intern at Sky & Telescope, and now works for Powderhouse. She's the one who conceptualizes what the whole thing will look like, finds illustrations and animations to match the text, and creates them when none is available. And she's the one who criticizes my scripts, decides when they're unillustratable, incomprehensible, or simply boring and tells me — in no uncertain terms — how to fix them.
SkyWeek currently airs in the cracks between programs on a few public television stations; we expect to expand our audience dramatically in the next few months. It's also available on our website at skyweek.com, and on YouTube.
I'm curious what people think about it. In some ways it seems like a piece of fluff — but I hope that it's a fun and occasionally enlightening piece of fluff.