Television news

Hunting the Edge of Space

NOVA/PBS, April 6 and 13, 8pm EST USA

On the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, this two-hour special for NOVA/PBS examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe.  What began as a curiosity—two spectacle lenses held a foot apart—ultimately revolutionised human thought across science, philosophy and religion. Hunting the Edge of Space takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery, dramatising the innovations in technology and the achievements in science that have marked the rich history of the telescope. This tale of human ingenuity involves some of the most colourful figures of the scientific world—Galileo, Kepler, Newton, William Herschel, George Hale, and Edwin Hubble—leading up to today’s colossal telescopes, housed in space-age cathedrals or orbiting high above the Earth.   They have shown us the birth of our universe and are now beginning to reveal mysterious forces.  At the centre of an international space race, a new generation of ever-larger telescopes is poised to reveal answers to longstanding questions about our universe—and, in turn, to raise new questions.  Hunting the Edge of Space takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery beyond our planets and beyond our galaxy.


Hunting the Edge of Space: The Mystery of the Milky Way          April 6

Three centuries of engineering have produced telescopes far beyond Galileo’s simple spyglass. Perched on mountaintops, orbiting the Earth, and even circling other planets, these telescopes are revealing the solar system in detail Galileo could only dream of. The Milky Way brings viewers up close with today’s most powerful telescopes and embarks on a stunning journey to the planets and moons now being imaged as never before.


Hunting the Edge of Space: The Ever Expanding Universe       April 13

From the discovery that the Milky Way is just one galaxy among billions, to the stunning revelation that these galaxies are speeding away from each other faster ever second, The Ever Expanding Universe investigates the universe’s distant past—and its future. Now, modern telescopes have added a mysterious new twist to the plot: The vast majority of the stuff of the universe is invisible, tied up in dark matter and dark energy. But what are these mysterious dark forces? A new generation of telescopes is embarking on a mission impossible to see the unseeable, and answer one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the cosmos.


Watch the promo at Youtube

Go to the programme website:




A Brook Lapping Production for Nova-WGBH and TPT - Twin Cities Public Television. 

Brook Lapping team:

Andrew McKerlie 

Carrie Pennifer

Victoria Stable and Valerie Hetherington  

Hugo Mander 

Calum Walker

Joel Douek and Greg Pilska

Mairin O' Faolain 

Paul Burgess  

Oliver Twinch   

Kate Botting 



All Saints Church, Easter Compton, England

American Astronomical Society

Antiques of Science and Technology

Apache Point Observatory

New MexicoBirr Castle Demesne, Ireland

Bristol University & Foundry

California Institute of Technology

Carnegie Observatories

Chiara Marmo

City of San Jose

Herschel Museum, Bath, England

Iford Manor, Wiltshire, England

Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence, Italy

Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge

Johns Hopkins University

Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, Arizona

NASA/JPLNational Academy of Sciences

Orion Telescopes

Pamela Gay, Southern Illinois University

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Smithsonian Institution

National Air and Space Museum

Space Telescope

Science Institute

The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The Museum of the History of Science

Oxford University of CA, Berkeley

University of Arizona, Steward

Observatory Mirror Laboratory

William Parsons, 7th Earl of Rosse

Yerkes Observatory, Wisconsin 


(Photo courtesy of NASA)