This is a film in which stargazers try to describe an ineffable experience, and invite viewers to share their wordless awe.

The awe-inspiring sight of a sky full of stars can render us speechless—and understandably so. Two very different entities are involved, and they're both rather mysterious.

At one extreme stands the individual observer, peering through a telescope or simply staring up at the stars. To ask who is doing the observing is to raise one of the oldest questions of philosophy. "Know yourself," said Socrates, although he made the mistake of assuming that one had to accomplish this before trying to learn about the rest of the universe. (Rejecting a scientific account of the winds, Socrates said, "I can't as yet 'know myself' ... and so long as that ignorance remains it seems to me ridiculous to inquire into extraneous matters.")

Actually, we humans have since learned more about ourselves by studying the wider world—by investigating the processes that created life and shaped its evolution—than we ever did through introspection, and we see those processes written large in the depths of the sky.

Your Sky Tonight Custom Star Charts

Available From PBS

Buy the book

Buy the book:
Seeing in the Dark by Timothy Ferris

from ShopPBS

*Buy the book and the DVD and save $5!