"Astronomy" is the second episode of the A Series of QI. It was first broadcast on 11 September 2003 on BBC Four, and was broadcast on BBC Two a week later.

The episode was preceded by "Adam", which aired on the same date but on BBC Four, and followed by "Aquatic Animals". It was the first episode to air on BBC Four.


  1. Jeremy Hardy: 20 points (joint winner)
  2. Rich Hall: 20 points (joint winner)
  3. Bill Bailey: 5 points
  4. Alan Davies: -30 points


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  • The number of people killed by sharks since records began is equal to just five per cent of the number of toilet-related injuries in the US in 1996.
  • Both tigers and weasels make a 'fuff' sound when they attack. Contrary to popular belief, tigers never roar when they attack, they only roar to tell other tigers where they are. They are mainly solitary animals, who only come together when mating.
  • The best way to escape from a polar bear is to remove one's clothing, leaving items of clothing on the ground while backing away. Polar bears can run at 30 mph and have clear fur, but look white, because the fur reflects all light, and thus appears white, not because it reflects the snow, as Alan incorrectly stated.
  • Rather than using a paper clip, a crocodile clip, a paper bag or a handbag, an alligator can be rendered helpless by placing a rubber band over its jaws. The muscles that are used to close the jaws add to a force of several tonnes per square inch, but the ones that open them are so weak, it can be stopped just by putting a rubber band over its mouth. Bill mistakenly claims that alligators have nipples, which is false, because they aren't mammals.
  • The Earth has two moons.[1] Cruithne, whose orbit was discovered in 1997, is an asteroid with a diameter of 3 miles (4.8 km) sometimes described as Earth's second moon. Cruithne orbits the Earth every 770 years. The name "Cruithne" has a Celtic derivation. (Note: This fact has, throughout QI's history, continually be revisited and recorrected, with the latest correction occurring in the K series).
  • 90% of the universe is unaccounted for; it is believed to be made of dark matter, which is invisible. Even the Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees said it was embarrassing that 90% was unaccounted for.
  • The colour of the universe is beige. In 2002, after observing the light from over 200,000 galaxies, American scientists described the colour as pale green, rather than black with white bits, as we'd see it. Using the Dulux paint range, the colour was a mixture of Mexican Mint, Jade Cluster and Shangri-La Silk. They then had to admit that they got it wrong and the colour was a taupe–beige colour.
  • There are eight planets in the Solar System.[2] Pluto, discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, does not meet the usual criteria for classification as a planet (although, at the time of broadcast, the International Astronomical Union still considered Pluto to be a planet). If Pluto were defined as a planet by any consistent definition, then all of the asteroids could be counted as planets as well. As of the year 2000, 71,788 were discovered with more discovered every year. Pluto is only twice as big as the biggest asteroid, Ceres, and it's also smaller than seven of the eight planets' moons.

General IgnoranceEdit

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  • Krung Thep [3] is the proper name for the capital of Thailand. Krung Thep roughly translates as 'City of Angels', like Los Angeles. The ceremonial full name for Krung Thep is the longest place name in the world. Los Angeles is also an abbreviation. Only ignorant foreigners call Krung Thep, "Bangkok".
  • Brides do not walk down the aisle of a church; they walk down the central passageway. The aisle is down the side of the church.
  • The earliest known soup is made from hippopotamus.
  • No man-made objects [4] on Earth can be seen from the Moon with the naked eye. Even the continents are hard to make out as well.


  1. One
  2. Nine
  3. Bangkok
  4. Great Wall of China
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