Stargazing Live in Australia

Over three consecutive nights on ABC, Professor Brian Cox and a cast of Australia’s leading scientists and favourite faces will inspire the nation to “look up” and appreciate the unique wonders of the Southern Sky. There’s nowhere better in the world to see the heavens than in Australia. Here we can see up to 100 times more stars than in the Northern Hemisphere – and it’s not just because the skies are clearer. From our great southern land, we look directly out into the vast heart of the Milky Way. Based on the immensely popular BBC format, this will be LIVE event television at its best.

ABC presents Stargazing Live

Professor Brian Cox and Presenter Julia Zemiro Take Viewers to Space

Over three consecutive nights, across ABC, ABC2 and ABC iview renowned physicist Professor Brian Cox and much-loved presenter Julia Zemiro are joined by a cast of Australia’s leading scientists and some familiar faces to inspire the nation to ‘look up’ and appreciate the unique wonders of space and our cosmos.

Broadcasting live from the Siding Spring Observatory, Australia’s premier optical and infrared astronomical observatory, Professor Cox will lead a breathtaking journey through space using state-of-the-art technology and interacting live with viewers.

Australians have the opportunity to have their night sky pictures and video featured on the show - by adding the hashtag #StargazingABC to Instagram, or uploading at

Episode 1 will look at the Milky Way, Episode 2 focuses on Planets while Episode 3 tackles Aliens. Throughout the series, the audience will be invited to join an online experiment to discover a brand new planet, far outside the confines of our solar system.

Professor Cox and Julia will be joined by experts including astrophysicist Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith from the CSIRO; astronomer Greg Quicke; Indigenous Australian Michael Anderson who, as a senior Lawman and a knowledge holder, shares some of the ancient wisdoms of his Peoples’ connection to the universe; and ‘Citizen Science’ advocate Dr Chris Lintott. Joining the experts will be familiar faces including actor comedian Josh Thomas and Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis as they take part in exploring space. ABC News Presenter Kumi Taguchi will also help anchor the series and take part in regular live crosses.

In their own unique style, the pair will tackle some of the most intriguing questions in astronomy, such as what happens if you were sucked into a Black Hole, and do aliens exist? Closer to home, there will also be hints and tips for getting started in stargazing and advice on navigating your way around the skies.

Following each night’s Stargazing Live broadcast on ABC will be Stargazing Live: Back To Earth, a 30-minute special on ABC2 in which viewers can use social media to put questions directly to Professor Cox and Julia and take part in astronomy related discussions and debates live on air. Audiences will be encouraged to send questions to #CoxQuestions.

In the lead up to Stargazing Live, a comprehensive suite of astronomy-themed content will be showcased across ABC Radio, TV, iview and online.

Stargazing Live 4,5,6 April 2017 8.30pm AEST & ABC iview, 8pm SA + NT, 8.30pm AWST
Stargazing Live: Back To Earth 9.30pm AEST on ABC2 & ABC iview, 9pm SA + NT, 9.30pm AWST

Both programs will also be streamed live on both ABC TV Facebook and Youtube channels. #StargazingABC

Stargazing Live is based on a format devised by the BBC, licensed by BBC Worldwide and produced by FremantleMedia Australia for the ABC.

Stargazing Across the ABC
Astronomy themed content for all audiences in the lead up to Stargazing Live 4,5,6 April

To celebrate the ABC’s major TV event Stargazing Live, hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Julia Zemiro on 4,5,6 April, the ABC is showcasing a comprehensive suite of astronomy themed content across ABC Radio, TV and online.

Anyone who feels dizzy when thinking about the incomprehensible scale of space will be delighted by Cosmic Vertigo, a brand new astronomy podcast from the RN Science Unit.Hosted by Dr Alan Duffy and Dr Amanda Bauer, the first four episodes are available now with new episodes each week.

Also available now is a special collection of space-themed content on ABC iview including episodes of Brian Cox: Life of the Universe, Catalyst and Stargazing For Beginners. Contributions from ABC Open and Stargazing Live extras will be added throughout the week.

A galactic cluster of astronomy and space-related stories launched during the RN Science Show on Saturday 1st April (repeated Thursday 1pm), while space-themed music will feature across the ABC metro and regional radio network.

Budding space explorers can download RN’s Audio Sky Tour, step outside and ‘look up’ in the company of well-known Australian astronomer Fred Watson, who narrates some of the highlights that are visible in the April sky. The tour, along with a written feature and a printable sky map, is available on the ABC News website.

The Square Kilometre Array, a global next-generation radio telescope project with a large “pathfinding” outpost in the remote Murchison district of WA, features in RN’s Off Track program. A video feature can be found on the ABC RN Facebook page.

There’s plenty of space, sci-fi and out-of-this-world content for kids and families too. In the series premiere of Here to There (9.30am Monday 3 April, ABC Kids) the beloved Rocket Clock returns to Play School, reimagined by leading Australian artist, writer & Academy Award winning film maker Shaun Tan.

ABC ME fans can watch Stargazing For Beginners (5.35pm, 3-10 April), Journey into Space with Dr Duffy and Grace (5.30pm Saturdays, 1-29 April) and the premiere of Space Stars (5.30pm Tuesdays, 11-24 April) in which Grace Koh meets some of the biggest stars of astronomy on the planet.

Following each night’s Stargazing Live broadcast on ABC will be Back To Earth: Stargazing Live, a 30-minute special on ABC2 in which viewers can take part in discussions live on air with Brian Cox, Julia Zemiro and a panel of experts. Viewers can ask questions using #StargazingQuestions

To celebrate the final night of Stargazing Live on Thursday 6 April, the ABC is hosting free community events at Federation Square in Melbourne and ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory which will feature interactive displays, guest presentations as well as a screening of the live broadcast.

For more information on how to get involved in the broadcast and access the best in ABC astronomy content, please visit

Viewers can submit their night sky photos or timelapse videos and join the Stargazing Live conversation using #StargazingABC. So far over 2,200 images have been shared, and a selection of the best will feature in each episode of the Stargazing Live.

Stargazing Live 4,5,6 April 2017 8.30pm AEST & ABC iview, 8pm SA + NT, 8.30pm AWST

Back To Earth: Stargazing Live 9.30pm AEST on ABC2 & ABC iview, 9pm SA + NT, 9.30pm AWST

Stargazing Live and Back to Earth: Stargazing Live will also be streamed live on ABC TV Facebook, ABC2 Facebook and ABC TV’s YouTube Channel.

Stargazing Live is based on a format devised by the BBC, licensed by BBC Worldwide and produced by FremantleMedia Australia for the ABC.

ABC Stargazing Live viewers find four new planets around the same star – the biggest discovery in the show’s history

ABC Stargazing Live viewers find four new planets around the same star – the biggest discovery in the show’s history

Four brand new planets have been found orbiting a yellow parent star by viewers of ABC’s Stargazing Live.

The newly discovered system is in the constellation of Aquarius 600-light years away and the planets are each between two and three times the size of Earth.

Professor Brian Cox says, “I couldn’t be more excited about these discoveries - in the seven years I’ve been making Stargazing Live this is the most significant scientific discovery we’ve made. The results are a wonderful and intriguing surprise.”

It is a new solar system, and one that scientists didn’t know existed until today.

Viewed from the outermost planet, the other planets would be easily visible to the naked eye, and would make a spectacular sight. Future travellers would see the neighbouring planets hanging in the sky, one bigger than the Full Moon appears from Earth.

“It’s wonderful that Stargazing Live viewers in Australia have made such an interesting discovery,” said Professor Chris Lintott, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford.

“The discovery of such an unusual system, with four planets crammed together, will help us test our ideas about how planets are made – a question which has profound implications for understanding the history of our own Earth.”

More than ten thousand viewers from all around Australia logged on to to help analyse the data that identified the new solar system.

The discovery was made using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, in collaboration with the Zooniverse project and with scientists at the University of California Santa Cruz and at Caltech.

Michelle Guthrie, Managing Director said: "This incredible discovery showcases the pivotal role the ABC plays in building interest in and engagement with science issues – amongst not just Australia’s scientific community, but our everyday citizen scientists.

“The breadth of content across the week on TV, Radio, iview and online, complementing this high quality and highly engaging TV program is strong evidence that ABC’s science programming is of both wide and specialist appeal, educating and informing Australians about scientific news, research and innovations."

Those inspired by the hunt can still join in at

Stargazing Live and Back to Earth: Stargazing Live is available to watch on ABC iview

Stargazing Live is based on a format devised by the BBC, licensed by BBC Worldwide and produced by FremantleMedia Australia for the ABC.

ABC’s Stargazing Live eclipses Guinness World Records title with an astronomical number of participants

The ABC in partnership with the Australian National University (ANU) and Australians across the nation have smashed the Guinness World Record for the most people stargazing at the night sky across multiple locations, connecting communities in every corner of the country in the successful record bid.

The Guinness World Records title for the Most people stargazing across multiple venues at the same time was won during the broadcast of ABC’s Stargazing Live on Wednesday 23 May.

Due to the overwhelming number of participants involved, the exact number of people that helped to win this record is still being counted, however the ABC can confirm that the history-making achievement easily eclipsed the previous record set by the ANU in 2015 of 7960 people observing across 37 locations, with over 40,000 people across Australia simultaneously observing the moon through a telescope for 10 minutes last night.

Stargazing Live host Professor Brian Cox said, “It’s great to break the world record for the number of people stargazing simultaneously, but I think this is only half the story. The real value is that many thousands of Australians have been introduced to the wonders of the night sky, and many of those will be children. They will develop a lifelong interest in astronomy and science, and the impact of that will be felt in decades to come.
Perhaps the first Australian to walk on Mars will have been inspired by this spectacular night.”

ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist David Anderson said, “Stargazing Live made science accessible and entertaining for Australians of all ages, across multiple platforms and services.

“Stargazing Live exemplifies the ABC’s unrivalled commitment to high-quality and distinctive Australian content that always aspires to inform, to educate and to entertain, and no one but the ABC delivers such indispensable content and services to the Australian community,” he said.

“Through our world record attempt, we brought communities together in different locations across the country and inspired them to look to the moon and the stars beyond.”

The Guinness World Records title for Most people stargazing across multiple locations was claimed by participants at more than 285 “Star Parties” hosted by community groups and organisations in every state and territory, from remote outback locations to metropolitan centres, including:

• Large public events in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra
• 14 universities across more than 20 campuses
• More than 100 primary and high schools
• Eight observatories
• 43 Girl Guide units and 35 Scout groups
• A special event at Parliament House in Canberra
• Remote locations including Birdsville, Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Uluru, Alice Springs, Charleville, and Broken Hill

The ABC rallied over 1000 employees and community volunteers at Star Parties across the country, to assist participants in the world record bid. All registered participants on Wednesday night will receive a certificate from Guinness World Records to recognise their participation.

Off the back of the ground-breaking discovery of a new solar system by Stargazing Live viewers in 2017, the Stargazing Live citizen science challenge returned for the second series. Viewers were challenged with the task of attempting to identify new supernovae, potentially allowing us to refine the known age of the Universe. Audiences have successfully discovered at least one new supernova (an exploding star), after identifying a flash of light emitted from a galaxy, 1.1 billion light years away.

In 2018, Stargazing Live was broadcast across three nights from May 22 to 24 and, for the first time was live around the country on the ABC and ABC ME, as well as being streamed live on ABC iview and the ABC TV YouTube channel and Facebook page. It united Australians from Kununurra to Kiama, Huonville to Uluru, together exploring our place in the universe. The cross-platform initiative demonstrated the ABC’s unrivalled capacity to inform, educate, entertain, and engage all Australians. Highlights of the ABC coverage included:

• The launch of the ABC’s first Augmented Reality (AR) app, titled Space Discovery, which brings the wonders of space to users, including an exploration of Jupiter and the International Space Station, and a space junk clean-up game.
• Stargazing Live co-host Julia Zemiro’s “road trip” tour of NASA facilities across the United States.
• Celebrated performer Tim Minchin performing Monty Python’s Galaxy Song live at Siding Springs Observatory with Professor Brian Cox, as well as The Church’s Under the Milky Way
• Back to Earth, a 30-minute chat show on ABC COMEDY after each night’s Stargazing Live, taking viewers deeper into the universe with Professor Brian Cox and other scientists.
• A Stargazers Guide to the Cosmos on ABC and iview, hosted by Greg Quickie (aka Space Gandalf), discovering the wonders of the southern night sky.
• Great Southern Sky, Professor Fred Watson’s special guided audio tour of the night sky that encourages everyone to enjoy the wonders of the universe.
• Compass special “Can a Scientist Believe?”, exploring the complicated relationship between science and religion and other stargazing themed episodes and features on Gardening Australia, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery (featuring Professor Brian Cox), rage and ABC Children’s Giggle & Hoot, plus an ABC Classic FM playlist of music to watch the stars by.

For more information about Stargazing Live visit