We Are Astronomers

By Phil Plait | May 19, 2009 8:00 am

So what are my two favorite things in the whole wide world? Right: Doctor Who and astronomy. So you know I’m having a nerdgasm because I just found out that a new planetarium show called "We Are Astronomers" is narrated by David Tennant!

Even better, the animation is Little Big Planet style, which is too cool. Wanna see the trailer? It’s quite good.


WAA Trailer 1 from NSC Creative on Vimeo.

Of course, if you run a planetarium and need a show right now, I know a good one


Comments (43)

  1. I haven’t watched the video yet, but the preview frame makes me think Terrence and Phillip.

  2. Edd

    Am off to see this at a planetarium on Thursday – and from what I hear from the staff they all think it’s awesome. Hoping lots of people get the chance to see this.

  3. fred edison

    And we are explorers by our nature. Humankind’s thirst for discovery and knowledge is unquenchable.

  4. travelingbob

    Who’s David Tennant? From Dr. Who?

  5. travelingbob

    Nevermind – got it – Dr. Who

  6. dhtroy

    Way cool. I’m going to have to see if I can catch this here in ATL at some point.

  7. T_U_T

    And we are explorers by our nature.

    Wrong. Some of us are explorers by nature. Some are incurious and neophobic to the extreme.

  8. This looks SO awesome! I love the history of astronomy (and all science in general) and I love the fact that we can discover these things. Makes me remember that for every bad thing, there are two good things in this world.

  9. T_U_T – lol! actually, that seems pretty true… especially where I am right now, sitting in a high school.

    but, like I said..

  10. Nat

    Wow, this planetarium show looks fantastic. I hope I’ll be able to see it in the States.

    Oh, and “allons-y” has two l’s. :o)

  11. NattyBumppo

    I also enjoy the subtle inclusion of the hydrogen line wavelength, which I just noticed…

  12. Nevy

    Hah, Nat, you beat me to the “allons-y has two l’s” correction.

    I have to get me to a planetarium. This show looks amazing!

  13. Okay, true story (sorry about the length (said the soldier to the lady (but I digress))):

    So I get this call from a certain fellow at a certain somewhat high-profile museum/planetarium that has just undergone a major renovation. The fellow wants to talk about a new planetarium show he’s working on and would I be interested in contributing some ideas, given my background in museums and showbizzy stuff. Cool! Great, says I!

    So immediately I think of all the fun possibilities that new planetarium projection technology can offer, and come up with a bunch of ideas for elements that could be incorporated into a new show that would not only educated people but get them excited and inspired about astronomy.

    “We could do this and this and this or that and that and that…” I go on enthusiastically during a lengthy phone conversation with this person. “We can not only show the audience this and this and this, but we can take them there and there and there!” On and on, getting more excited by the minute.


    At the end of about 45 minutes, said person came back with this (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much): “Well, yeah, we could do all that, but…we’ve got this terrific data set that represents real scientific data and I don’t want to show people anything that isn’t real. So I think we’ll just take people on a slow, linear journey through this data set, from the earth to a star.”

    Ummmm…okayyyyyyyy…… And you’ll pass out no-doze in the lobby? Why not just hand kids an “I Got Bored with Science at __________” and be done with it? Immediately I thought of the scene from Rebel Without a Cause where the school kids are forced into a dull planetarium show that does nothing but make them equate science with boredom.

    I did not hear from the person again, and obviously my services were not engaged.

    Thanks for plugging this show, Dr. BA. Thank goodness some museum people get the fact that good science does not preclude fun, or that engaging, even silly graphics and animation do not get in the way of accurate astronomy, but in fact can be the verything to get otherwise jaded kids into the subject.

  14. Greg

    I got chills. Nice trailer.

  15. OtherRob

    Very well done.

  16. Michelle

    …Woah. astronomers look a lot like square canadians…

  17. Logan

    LOL, Canadian astronomers.

  18. Rob

    Dr. Who?? nah, Barty Crouch Jr. more like it.

  19. Austin L

    I really hope this comes to the US

  20. Jean-Denis

    In French, “Allons-y” takes two “l”.

    I know, this may be pedantic, but after all, I’m French

  21. Sabrina

    Astronomy and Doctor Who are indeed the best things in the world. Beautiful animation and excellent narrator.

  22. Frank Ch. Eigler

    “360-degree fulldome” projection, meh.
    My nerdgasmo meter would rise a wee more if they said “2pi steradians” instead.

  23. Check out this cute video. It’s got a unique way of teaching science and it’s by an art student. I wish him the best of luck in the future and hope we will be hearing from him again.

    by Christopher Hendryx


  24. Phil, that’s “Allons-y!”. Two l’s.

  25. Davidlpf

    David Tennet talking about astronomy, how could it anything other then shiny.

  26. Tommy Duchesne

    It’s “allons-y” ūüėČ

  27. QUASAR



  28. JohnMorr

    But, and but… Everything’s still revolving round the world at the centre of the universe…

    And yet… Admire David Tennant for his gentle East Scottish burr which was totally eliminated as The Doctor.

  29. Hannah

    I need to open a science center/planetarium around here…

  30. MadScientist

    Noo! Has the BA become an Apostate of Star Trek? It didn’t make his list of two favorite things.

  31. I just squeed and nerdgasmed and cheered and jumped up and down.

    Whenever I get bogged down by frustration at work, I’m going to play that clip. Thanks, BA!

  32. R.W. Thomas

    Made me cry a little.

    Thanks, BA. I hope this somehow makes it to this side of the world.

  33. Luke

    So going by that picture, astronomers are Canadians?

  34. KC

    Very cool looking show and love the narration. I’m sure the show will make it to this side of the pond. One of the producers is the National Space Centre and their shows have been distributed here in the states.

  35. Chris

    For those who like the music in this trailer, it’s from the album Standing in Silence by New Zealand artist Rhian Sheehan.

  36. davidlpf

    Didn’t the first time he said mysterious it look like a Tardis?

  37. DoctorandusWho


    Things like this make me consider moving to the UK. Only the food keeps putting me off.

  38. Bernard Bumner

    “Only the food keeps putting me off.”

    I’m not sure why people hold this view about British food – 30 years ago, maybe you’d have a point. Now, I’ve not found the food to be generally any better in places like the US or Australia.

  39. Lovely animation — so simple but yet effective!

    Anyone know the opening music — kinda completes it.

    John — New Moon Atlas 2009
    (see site link)

  40. Steve

    The opening music is Part 3 (Niva’s Tune) by Rhian Sheehan from the album Standing in Silence

    Here is the video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s5yvlckSlU

    Saw We Are Astronomers at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in London and all I can say is “wow” The clip on here does not do it justice. It’s simply an awesome piece of animation. It will blow you away!

  41. Becah

    I saw this over the summer at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, it was amazing. I really hope that this makes it over to the States.

    Any updates on it making it across the pond?

  42. Saw this on Saturday while at the Dr Who Exhibition, if anyone has the chance to go see it then do so immediately.


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