alpha Centauri

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Television broadcast
Original title α-Centauri
Logo Alpha Centauri TV show.png
Country of production Germany
original language German
Year (s) 1998-2007
length 15 minutes
Episodes 217 ( list )
genre Science show
Theme music Scotty's Arrival by Stevie B-Zet
production BR-alpha
Moderation Harald Lesch
First broadcast September 27, 1998 on BR-alpha

α-Centauri was a series on the educational channel BR-alpha of Bayerischer Rundfunk , in which the astrophysicist Harald Lesch answered questions from physics - especially astronomy and astrophysics - and sometimes philosophy in a popular scientific form in about 15-minute episodes .


Special features of the program were the studio decoration, reminiscent of a classroom , the economical use of visual material (mostly just a table sponge, pieces of furniture and pictures) as well as the moderator's emotional and gestural presentation style.

The process followed a fairly fixed format. The opening and closing credits were accompanied by the music piece Scotty's Arrival by Stevie B-Zet . After the opening credits, the moderator wrote the title of the episode in the form of a question with chalk on the blackboard in the studio after a more or less short introduction . The decoration was often complemented by an image (or a short animation loop) determined by the theme of the program, which was projected onto the wall behind the blackboard. The show usually ended with a phrase or a quote from an outstanding personality.


The format only solidified in the course of the series. A projection board replaced the normal board in the second and third programs, but immediately disappeared from the repertoire. Then followed a series of programs in which Lesch himself painted on the blackboard. However, the illustrations were not very informative and were soon abandoned. This was followed by a phase that lasted approximately until mid-2001, in which image material was affixed to the back sheet of the board in almost every broadcast and revealed by cranking it during introductory words. From the beginning of 2001, the images were initially faded in occasionally, then more and more often by simple cuts; a picture pinned to the board was last used in early 2002.

Even in the more recent programs, the format was not completely rigid. Occasionally its elements were used playfully, such as B. in the broadcast of August 19, 2001 (What does the future of the universe look like?), In which the credits are "rewound" to end the broadcast with an alternative ending, or in the broadcast of October 27, 2002 ( Is water magical?), In which the program begins a second time with the opening credits after a short pre-introduction. In addition, the two programs of September 30, 2001 (Are there extraterrestrials?) And October 14, 2001 (What was before the Big Bang?) Were filmed at the Life Science Days in Munich , where Lesch hosted the program in front of an audience.

End of production

From the first broadcast on September 27, 1998 until January 31, 2007, new episodes were broadcast every two weeks. Then the production was suspended, since then on Bavarian television and ARD-alpha repeats of the 217 existing programs have been broadcast.

A note that new episodes were planned for 2008 was published on the program's website at the end of February 2007, but was removed about a month later. In April, a report by the magazine Sterne und Weltraum described this as a “production break”, which Detlef Klusak, spokesman for the BR, justified with “the broadcaster's wish to be able to implement a new project entitled 'Basic Education' with the budget released in this way ". In an interview with the specialist magazine Funkkorrespondenz at the end of June 2007, Werner Reuß, BR-alpha program manager, confirmed a "new edition" of alpha-Centauri in 2008.

However, Lesch stated in an interview in the September issue of the magazine Sterne und Weltraum : "The way it looks now, I will not be able to do it because the university has already approved my sideline job for ZDF ." He has been moderating it since September 2008 Science magazine Adventure Research , renamed Leschs Kosmos in 2014 . At the same time, the information on the BR-alpha website appeared that Harald Lesch is currently unable to produce any new alpha Centauri programs due to his workload. BR-alpha is still in contact with him.

From 2010 to 2017, Harald Lesch brought the ZDFneo audience closer to physical or philosophical issues in the quarter-hour program Leschs Kosmos , renamed Ask den Lesch in 2013 .

Episode content

DVD release

Bayerischer Rundfunk published all 217 episodes on 22 DVDs . However, the chronological order was not adhered to, but the episodes were sorted thematically in groups of four, with a DVD always dealing with two topics. In addition, from the fifth DVD on, there are always two thematically unassigned episodes as a bonus. The opening and closing credits were also cut out, so the episodes are not included in full.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Scotty's Arrival on YouTube
  2. What's next with »Alpha Centauri«? In: . Retrieved May 27, 2020 .
  3. Stars and Space: "There is no Viagra for good science communication" ; partially viewed as a video. September 6, 2008
  4. ^ BR-alpha: alpha-Centauri: Stargazing with Professor Lesch . accessed: October 28, 2008
  5. Communication on accessed: December 14, 2009
  6. Alpha Centauri - Complete Edition. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on April 10, 2017 ; Retrieved April 9, 2017 .