Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Kate Humble - 'Orbit - Earth's Amazing Journey'

Have you seen the new programme presented by Kate Humble? It's on BBC2 on Sunday nights and it's a fascinating watch. Kate has presented farming and nature programmes for years but, last year, spread her wings to travel the world to tell us the history of spices. This year she is more ambitious and is explaining the impact of orbiting the sun on the planet and on our lives. The blurb says:

‘ORBIT’ explores the extraordinary relationship between the Earth’s annual journey and our climate. Kate explores some of the most remote and fascinating corners of the earth to reveal the effects of our earth’s orbit on our lives, and on the natural world. Filmed all over the world – from Greenland to the Atacama desert of Chile – this is a beautiful and intriguing series that will let you see our planet’s journey round the sun in a whole new light!

It really is quite fascinating seeing some of the amazing natural spectacles and getting caught up in Kate's enthusiasm and descriptions, like saying that sailing near to a glacier is like being in a giant gin and tonic with all the ice floating in the sea. I like that. I also liked her excitement at throwing a cup of hot coffee into the air and seeing it freeze. Her excitement is infectious. Did you know that 19 January each year is, on average, the coldest day of the year?

Much of the science comes from Kate's new pal and co-presenter, Dr Helen Czerski. In the programme last Sunday I really liked Helen explaining the nature of snow and snowstorms on the edge of Lake Ontario (I've been to Lake Ontario). There was some truly spectacular footage. To warm her up she then goes swimming in the sea off Belize to see stalactites in a blue hole in the sea to demonstrate changes in sea levels since stalactites only grow in the air.

It's a fascinating series, made all the more interesting by Kate and Helen's human-level explanations of complex theories and demonstrating a natural delight in what they're seeing and experiencing. Watch it if you can.

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