First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe

July 1st, 1991 - December 31st, 1992 | PROJECT

First Light is a one-hour documentary to be shown nationally on WGBH-TV's NOVA science series. It tells the extraordinary story behind the building of the Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain in southern California. The film also documents a research effort at the frontiers of astronomy that has pushed the Hale beyond anything its builders had imagined: The attempt to find and map the edge of the known universe. It follows astronomers Maarten Schmidt, James Gunn and Don Schneider as they search for distant quasars. This team recently detected a quasar that is by far the most distant object yet found in the universe; its discovery may challenge our current understanding of cosmic evolution. The documentary is based on the award winning book First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe by Richard Preston. After broadcast, the program will have wide educational distribution in secondary schools and colleges.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Kathleen White, Principal Investigator, WGBH Educational Foundation


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9050243
Funding Amount: 79500


Audience: Adults | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Space science | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology