Watch The Universe Season 7
Watch The Universe Season 6
How the Solar System Was Made
aired: Thu, Dec 20, 2012
At 4.6 billion years old, the Solar System is our solid, secure home in the Universe. But how did it come to be? In this episode we trace the system's birth from a thin cloud of dust and gas.
Catastrophes that Changed the Planets
aired: Thu, Dec 20, 2012
The planets of our solar system have experienced epic catastrophes throughout their long history, both raining down from outside and bubbling up from within.
14. When Space Changed History
aired: Sun, Jun 17, 2012
It may seem like seem like science fiction, but the cosmos isn't just something way out there. Many times in human history, objects or forces from space have changed the course of life on earth.
13. Ride the Comet
aired: Sun, Jun 10, 2012
Hitch a ride on the journey of a comet as it roars from the cold, dark outer reaches of the solar system to the fiery surface of the Sun.
12. Microscopic Universe
aired: Sun, Jun 3, 2012
Within our immense universe lies a lesser-known world of tiny particles. From strange ghostly
11. Deep Freeze
aired: Sun, May 20, 2012
There really are ice worlds like Hoth from Star Wars. In this episode, we explore icy planets and
10. Our Place in the Milky Way
aired: Sun, May 13, 2012
An exploration of Earth's cosmic neighborhood. Looking beyond the borders of our solar system, what'
9. Alien Sounds
aired: Fri, Dec 30, 2011
What does the Universe sound like? From the sweep of a pulsar, to the deafening roar of our boiling
8. God and the Universe
aired: Tue, Dec 20, 2011
Since the dawn of civilization, humans have wondered who or what created the universe. Religion
Season 6, Episode 7
aired: Tue, Dec 13, 2011
Many argue that flying saucers and other extra-terrestrial space ships continuously visit the earth
Season 6, Episode 6
aired: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
In this episode, our cast uses awesome analogies to bring the biggest objects, farthest distances
Season 6, Episode 5
aired: Tue, Nov 29, 2011
Earth may seem like the most hospitable planet in the solar system. But look again. Startling new
Season 6, Episode 4
aired: Tue, Nov 22, 2011
What might happen if the first manned mission to Mars crashes hundreds of miles from the rocket that
Season 6, Episode 3
aired: Tue, Nov 8, 2011
At 4.6 billion years old, the Solar System is our solid, secure home in the Universe. But how did it
Season 6, Episode 2
aired: Tue, Nov 1, 2011
Could there be a monstrous, undiscovered star orbiting our own Sun? Could it be scattering killer
1. Catastrophes that Changed the Planets
aired: Tue, Oct 25, 2011
The planets of our solar system have experienced epic catastrophes throughout their long history,
Watch The Universe Season 5
Dark Future of the Sun
aired: Mon, Apr 2, 2012
Our Sun has served Earth well for almost five billion years. It's bathed us with heat and energy. But like humans, our home star is mortal. In five billion years, it will stop nurturing its planetary offspring. The aging star will bloat out beyond the orbit of our planet incinerating all living things--including humans if we're still around.
aired: Mon, Apr 2, 2012
Once they were dreaded and thought to be dragons eating the sun--but modern science has dispelled mythology and we now look forward to total Solar Eclipses as one of the most spectacular phenomena in the heavens. Explore the complex movements of Earth, Moon and Sun that produce these unusual events and hear details why we may be the only intelligent beings in the known Universe to witness eclipses like we see on Earth. Man-made eclipses also figure into the science in the form of instruments called "coronagraphs." They blot out the sun and reveal its corona, uncovering secrets which, while enlightening, also warn of a disaster that could make our advanced technology crash and burn. Finally, travel into deep space, where the tiny eclipses caused by planets circling distant stars is now beginning to reveal hundreds more stars where "exoplanets" exist... perhaps even those in habitable zones like the Earth.
aired: Tue, Aug 16, 2011
What are the latest discoveries in the deadly world of asteroids? Will a recently returned Japanese spacecraft become the first to bring an asteroid sample back to our planet? What would happen to America's East Coast if the massive asteroid impact that helped form Chesapeake Bay 35 million years ago struck today? And why did President Barack Obama choose an asteroid as the destination for the next great manned mission into space? Learning about these huge space rocks isn't just about science, it's about survival.
Secrets of the Space Probes
aired: Mon, Apr 2, 2012
They've discovered water on other planets, and snatched the actual building blocks of life from a comet's tail. But can space probes find a new Earth...and even make contact with alien life? In the 21st century, space probes are photographing, drilling and even sniffing new worlds in the quest for life, and scanning thousands of distant suns trying to detect Earth-like planets. It's only a matter of time before space probes unlock the secrets to extra-terrestrial life and the universe itself.
aired: Thu, Aug 19, 2010
One of the Universe's most enduring mysteries is Time Travel. In this episode, we explore the possibilities. Discover why Time Travel into the future is unavoidable in the Einsteinian world of Relativity. As for the past... the laws of physics do not tell us it's impossible, but the bizarre consequences of going into the past and altering the future make for mind-bending science. Finally, we go for the future by traveling to the nearest star, 4.3 light years away... in only 45 days. Our destination may be an Earth-like planet; a planet scientists are now hunting for, and may find in the next 3 to 4 years.
aired: Thu, Aug 12, 2010
It bursts from the sun with the power of ten thousand nuclear weapons...and when it hits our planet, it could create the largest disaster in recorded history. A magnetic storm from the sun could wipe out electrical power, television, radio, military communication, and nearly every piece of electronics in the Northern Hemisphere. It's a "Solar Katrina" - a planet-wide "hurricane" of agnetic forces that scramble all 21st Century technology...possibly for good. What causes this magnetic superstorm? Why is magnetism so powerful - and yet so poorly understood? And is there anything we can do to prevent the Magnetic Storm?
Mars: The New Evidence
aired: Thu, Aug 5, 2010
In the last few years, the Red Planet has yielded up many new clues that life may have once existed there...and may even exist there today. There is now have proof that water once flowed on the surface, that Mars once had lakes, and that the frozen poles are mostly water, not carbon dioxide as previously thought. Mars has snow--an aurora--and lightning generated by dust storms. Most intriguing of all are the seasonal plumes of methane that just may point to bacteria living below the surface.
Watch The Universe Season 4
aired: Tue, Nov 10, 2009
Ours is a universe of energy, from powerful jets ejected from black holes to the raw nuclear fury of our Sun. But, the total amount of energy in the universe maintains perfect equilibrium--no more can be added or taken away. Because of this, there are enormous amounts of energy being transferred...electric, thermal, kinetic and magnetic energy are just a few that keep our universe balanced--and create awesome cosmic events and stellar displays.
Science Fiction. Science Fact.
aired: Tue, Nov 3, 2009
Warp speed, transporters, wormholes and lasers--they are all staples of science fiction books, movies, and TV shows. But the fantastic world of tomorrow is quickly becoming the futuristic world of today. While you may not be "beaming" to your next appointment any time soon, researchers are preparing for the first tests of a present-day "transporter." And while scientists have long mocked Hollywood's visions of warp speed and faster-than-light travel as prohibited by Einstein's laws, a new generation of physicists continues to rewrite the fundamental rules of the universe. Is there a way around the cosmic speed limit? Maybe... as long as you're prepared to survive a journey through the ultra-high energies of one of the most violent places in the cosmos--the heart of a twisting, swirling vortex that leads either to strange, new worlds... or certain death.
Pulsars & Quasars
aired: Tue, Oct 27, 2009
They sort of sound like the same phenomenon, but Pulsars and Quasars are very different. Pulsars are tiny--only a few miles across--but they spin as fast as a kitchen blender and sweep the sky with beacons of radiation that make them appear to flash on and off. They have unbelievably strong magnetic fields, are more accurate than atomic clocks...and they can even tell aliens just where to find the Earth! Quasars are at the other end of the spectrum. Quasars are huge cores of galaxies with black holes that are called "monsters" and which spit lobes of radiating gas called "DRAGNs." Quasars are so far away, we see them as they were only in the distant past--meaning they existed only in the early universe, when they may have played a major role in the creation of the galaxies themselves.
Season 4, Episode 9
aired: Tue, Oct 20, 2009
On alien planets, they rain from the sky as scalding iron. On distant moons, even at hundreds of degrees below zero, they slosh around in pristine lakes of methane. They can cover entire planets in miles-deep oceans of electrified hydrogen metal. Or erupt on alien worlds through miles-high geysers. They churn in the interiors of dead stars and even our own planet. They're so rare in the universe, they almost don't exist, but these are the magical liquids of our Liquid Universe.
aired: Tue, Oct 6, 2009
Outer space is already an essential part of America's ability to fight wars. Our military depends on satellites for many things, such as communications, reconnaissance and targeting information. But so far, no country has put weapons into space, although the U.S. and China have both shown they can shoot down satellites with ground-based missiles. If weapons do become a part of space, how will they work, how effective will they be, and what type of damage could they do? From ground-based lasers to telephone-pole sized rods hurtling from space at two miles per second to the far out weapons of the distant future, it's time to "lock and load" for Space Wars.
The Search for Cosmic Clusters
aired: Tue, Sep 29, 2009
They are the one-stop-shopping places for learning all about the nature and variety of stars in the Universe. They're unique, because in clusters, all the stars were born at about the same time, from the same material and all are at the same approximate distance from Earth. This means we can be sure that any differences among them are due to their true natures and not distorted by different distances from Earth and other factors. In this episode, two kinds of star clusters in the galaxy are explored. "Open Clusters" are young, live in the spiral arms of the galaxy and give us insight into the birth and formation of stars. "Globular Clusters" are old, live in the outskirts of the galaxy and could be nearly as old as the Universe itself. In addition, explore Galaxy clusters to reveal the large-scale structure of the Universe, which is expanding so fast that eventually all other galaxies, except for our own, will literally disappear from our sight.
10 Ways to Destroy the Earth
aired: Tue, Sep 22, 2009
Don't try this at home! In this episode, our experts cook up ten ways you could destroy the earth, including: swallowing it with a microscopic black hole; blowing it up with anti-matter; hurling it into the Sun, and switching off gravity. This is a fun way to explore the dangerous physics of the Universe and the properties of the planet we call home.
The Hunt for Ringed Planets
aired: Tue, Sep 15, 2009
They are breathtaking, lethal and a constant source of surprise. The stunning rings of Saturn have mesmerized countless scientists over the centuries. With particles the size of a house shooting at 53,000 miles per hour around the planet, any spacecraft passing through would meet an instant and catastrophic end. Inside the rings is like a NASCAR race--with bumping, jostling and frequent collisions that can cause a massive spin-out. Lesser known are the other planets that have rings--Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, possibly Pluto and Mars. Even Earth has a ring. Comprised of some 200 satellites in a geosynchronous orbit, it is the only known man-made ring in the universe. But the most remarkable thing about rings is that they contain the story of the birth of our solar system, and entire distant galaxies. Rings are more than a wonder of the universe--they reveal the secrets of our own origins.
aired: Tue, Sep 8, 2009
The Universe is full of explosions that both create and destroy. The Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula, which may have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, was two million times more powerful than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated on Earth. But guess what? That's only good enough for the very bottom of the Biggest Blasts top ten list. This episode works its way up through supernova explosions and gamma ray bursts all the way to the blast that started it all--the Big Bang.
It Fell From Space
aired: Wed, Sep 9, 2009
Every year, thousands of objects both natural and manmade plummet through our atmosphere and crash into the Earth. These menacing messengers from the sky provide scientists with amazing insights into the natural, and not so natural, phenomena of the cosmos. From space rocks crashing through homes to cosmic boulders triggering mass extinctions to rocket parts landing on front lawns, explore objects that fall from the heavens, such as asteroids, comets, meteor showers and space debris.
The Day the Moon Was Gone
aired: Thu, Aug 27, 2009
Without the moon, Earth would be a very different and desolate place today--four hours of sunlight with pitch-black nights, steady 100-mph winds spawning giant hurricanes that last for months, and virtually no complex life forms, much less humans. Safe to say, we probably owe our very existence to the moon. But what if it suddenly disappeared? Solar gravity redirects ocean water that floods coastal spots around the globe. Sea currents shift, resulting in freakish weather patterns. Eventually, earth's axis begins fluctuating wildly and climate change grows more extreme. The poles are tropical jungles and parts of the equator become frigid wastelands. Human evolution starts churning in unpredictable ways or ends completely. Without the moon, the Earth is a very different place.
aired: Tue, Aug 18, 2009
For most, it's the deadly centerpiece of the film Star Wars. But in truth, real death stars are in the final stage of life before they explode into supernovae and, occasionally, the biggest blast in the universe--the gamma ray burst (GRB). One death star, named WR104, lurks 8,000 light-years from Earth and some believe its GRB arrow is aimed directly at us. A death star galaxy named 3C321 is a terrifying vision of what could one day befall the Milky Way galaxy: a companion galaxy's black hole is hammering it with a constant blast of high-energy particles, wreaking havoc with its celestial bodies. Nearby, Death Stars Eta Carinae and Betelgeuse burn through their fuel supplies as they hurtle toward extinction--and possibly a violent ending that's too close for comfort.
Watch The Universe Season 3
13. Cosmic Phenomena
aired: Tue, Feb 3, 2009
A variety of cosmic events have both helpful and harmful effects on life on Earth. From the beauty of the Aurora Borealis and rainbows to the dangers of UV radiation and cosmic rays, from the miracle of photosynthesis to the thrill of a meteor showe.
aired: Tue, Feb 3, 2009
A variety of cosmic events have both helpful and harmful effects on life on Earth. From the beauty of the Aurora Borealis and rainbows to the dangers of UV radiation and cosmic rays, from the miracle of photosynthesis to the thrill of a meteor shower, this episode explores how the effects generated by the sun and other extra-solar sources can literally get under our skin, scramble our technology, make life possible and threaten our existence all at the same time.
Edge of Space
aired: Tue, Feb 3, 2009
Low Earth Orbit, 120 miles above sea level, is where the majority of space exploration has occurred. This 1,100 mile band around Earth is where--for a cool $20 million--any private citizen can take the vacation of his or her life on the International Space Station. Commercial prospects for LEO are huge; but dangers lurk for any individual willing to travel here--radiation, cosmic rays, and space debris numbering in the thousands threaten any spacecraft traveling in orbit. It's the new frontier, or the final frontier...and the possibilities are endless if you are willing to travel to the edge of space exploration.
Season 3, Episode 10
aired: Tue, Jan 27, 2009
From stars, galaxies and moons to subatomic particles, black holes and invisible phenomenon, discover the most bizarre, mysterious and exotic things in our universe. Learn about actual alcohol clouds floating in space that are filled with organic molecules which produce complex compounds like ethyl alcohol, the stuff we drink. Is there a hypothetical planet that exists beyond Neptune and what are pulsar planets? Mini Black Holes are a theoretical idea, but if they were to exist, some theorists speculate that they might have been produced shortly after the "Big Bang." Finally, delve into dark matter, a hypothetical form of matter that is invisible yet it exists everywhere.
aired: Tue, Jan 13, 2009
Could we be unique in the universe or is there another planet similar to earth somewhere in the cosmos? Is it possible that Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, is home to another earth-like planet? Earth sized planets have been hard to find, but indirect methods are coming on line to give scientists a good survey of how many such bodies may be in the universe. How rare would it be to find life on another earth-like planet?
Living in Space
aired: Tue, Dec 23, 2008
It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster: a deadly asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. But in reality, it's only a matter of time before a giant space rock threatens to wipe out civilization. An asteroid took out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Are we next? This episode analyzes the threat and explores the many ways--from a nuclear bomb to ingenious new technology--that experts are proposing to stop Armageddon.
Season 3 Episode 7
aired: Tue, Dec 23, 2008
When mankind eventually leaves the cradle of Earth and ventures forth into the uncharted territories of the cosmos, where, and what form, will our new homes take? Will they be cities under glass, entrenched in distant alien soils? Will they be gleaming metropolises hanging in orbit above our heads, or in the lonely void of space? Will they be hollowed out asteroids, strip-mined for the valuables they horde? How will we grow food? What will the new era of spacesuits be like? The rovers that carry us around? Will robonauts, advanced robotic machines, perform the most dangerous tasks for us? How will we live... in space?
Season 3 Episode 6
aired: Tue, Dec 16, 2008
At this very moment, celestial forces prowl the Universe and threaten man's very existence. They're asteroids and comets--and they've left their imprint on planet Earth, literally. Initially, they helped build planets through violent collisions. During this fiery bombardment period, they may have even seeded Earth with water and the building blocks for life. Since the turbulent formation of the solar system, these space rocks have continued to impact earth. Some have been so violent that they've led to mass extinctions events, including one that wiped out the dinosaur. What's more, radical new theories suggest that asteroid and comet dust harbor deadly viruses that may have triggered some of our worst pandemics. The possibility of future cosmic collisions remains a legitimate threat. Yet, despite their dangers, asteroids and comets may hold vital natural resources, which could actually preserve mankind.
Season 3 Episode 5
aired: Tue, Dec 9, 2008
They soar through the heavens, fly through the oceans and glide along land. But these are not creatures found on a wildlife safari. These are life forms from another planet. Armed with scientific fact and a little imagination, experts come together to take you on an unprecedented journey to the edges of our imagination. Scientists, astrobiologists and astronomers create five lines of extraterrestrial evolution, and explain how creatures on the surface of Earth offer a helping hand to understanding life in The Universe.
Sex in Space
aired: Tue, Dec 2, 2008
As man moves to colonize the cosmos, the realities of sexual relationships and reproduction need to be addressed. Probe the physiological, psychological and cultural challenges of sex in space. From the sex act through birth, look at how the extreme environments of space exploration might effect copulation, conception and developing human tissues, as well as how issues around sex might impact the emotional lives of astronauts. Get to the bottom of the rumors to find out if space sex has already happened, and look at how the burgeoning space tourism business may soon lead to a boom in space sex.
aired: Tue, Nov 25, 2008
According to the laws of physics we can never travel faster than the speed of light...or can we? Light speed allows us to see things instantly here on Earth, and shows us the entire history of the universe going back nearly 14 billion years. Learn all about light speed, the ultimate constant in the universe and discover ways scientists envision breaking the "light barrier" which may be the only way the star travel of our imaginations ever comes to reality.
aired: Tue, Nov 18, 2008
Some of the world's leading physicists believe they have found startling new evidence showing the existence of universes other than our own. One possibility is that the universe is so vast that an exact replica of our Solar System, our planet and ourselves exists many times over. These Doppelganger Universes exist within our own Universe; in what scientist now call "The Multiverse." Today, trailblazing experiments by state of the art particle colliders are looking for evidence of higher dimensions and Parallel Universes. If proof is found, it will change our lives, our minds, our planet, our science and our universe.
Deep Space Disasters
aired: Tue, Nov 11, 2008
In space travel there is a saying that the first 50 miles and the last 50 miles are the most dangerous. Explore the controlled explosion of launch, the fiery crucible of reentry and everything in between. See how a single spark inside a spacecraft or a micrometeoroid less than an inch wide hitting a space station can turn a routine mission into a lethal nightmare. As the missions become longer, venturing to Mars and beyond, the potential disasters will only become bigger. What would happen if a spacecraft ventured too close to a black hole or was hit by a gamma ray burst?
Watch The Universe Season 2
aired: Tue, Apr 29, 2008
The Universe as we know it is condemned to death. Space, matter and even time will one day cease to exist and there's nothing we can do about it. Harsh realities are revealed about the future of our Universe; it may collapse and burn or it might be gripped by a galactic ice age. Either of these scenarios might be a long way off. However, our Universe could suddenly be destroyed by a "random quantum fluctuation", a bubble of destruction that can obliterate the entire cosmos in the blink of an eye. No matter how it ends, life in our Universe is doomed.
aired: Tue, Apr 22, 2008
Gravity is the most powerful and exacting force in the universe. It is pervasive and penetrating. Gravity binds us together, its reach hangs stars in the sky and its grip crushes light. Gravity holds planets together, and leashes them to their suns. Without gravity, stars, comets, moons, nebulae, and even the Earth itself would not exist. Explore how science and humanity discovered, overcame and utilized gravity. Learn what it takes to propel objects into the heavens, to ride a wave or to ski down a slope. Take a front row seat as an astronaut subjects himself to the weightless wonders of the specially modified aircraft used to train astronauts known as the "Vomit Comet."
Biggest Things in the Universe
aired: Tue, Apr 15, 2008
We can't compare anything on earth to the biggest things known in space. The Lymann Alpha blob is a bubble like structure containing countless galaxies--perhaps the biggest object in the entire universe. Regions of radio-emitting gas called "radio lobes" could be even bigger. Then there are super galaxy clusters which are hundreds of galaxies merged together due to cosmic collisions. Discover which is the largest planet, star, star cluster, constellation, black hole, volcano, galaxy, explosions, moon, storm, impact crater and "void" in space.
Wildest Weather in the Cosmos
aired: Tue, Apr 8, 2008
Imagine a tornado so powerful, it can form a planet, or winds sweeping across a planet but blowing at 6,000 miles per hour! How about rain....made of iron? Sounds like science fiction, but this type of weather is occurring daily in our solar system. Scientists are just beginning to unlock the secrets of these planets and their atmospheres. Can this research help scientists solve long unanswered questions that we have about Earth? As our own planet churns with the effects of global warming, it's natural to look into the heavens and wonder about the rest of the real estate.
aired: Tue, Apr 1, 2008
They are the crown jewels of the galaxy. Neither stars, planets, moons or asteroids, they are the mysterious clouds of gas we call Nebulas. Nearly invisible to the naked eye, astronomers use the most sophisticated techniques to tease images of these fascinating phenomena from the dark sky. When revealed in their full glory, they glow, reflect or obscure the galaxy's light. They amaze us with swirls of color in sizes and shapes that are nothing less than stunning. They mark the regions where the nothingness of space first coalesces, where stars are born and where stars die. Take a tour through the Art Gallery of the Galaxy as "Universe" opens its exhibit on the "Nebulas."
aired: Tue, Mar 11, 2008
Space colonization is no longer the fodder of science fiction, it is becoming a reality. Examine the efforts underway to establish a human colony on Mars, including how they plan to grow food, recycle wastewater and introduce greenhouse gases to revive the red planet and make it more habitable for humans. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on Mars, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
aired: Tue, Mar 4, 2008
It's been said that our universe is a cosmic shooting gallery. Gravity is moving everything around and things are bound to collide. Astronomers are attempting to understand how these collisions occur in the dark recesses of space. Learn about collisional families, which are clusters of comets and asteroids; planetary collisions; mass extinction impacts involving asteroids and comets; stars collisions; and galaxy cluster collisions. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring this series down to earth as the heavens yield their greatest secrets.
aired: Tue, Feb 26, 2008
Delve into the myths, misconceptions, truths and amazing mysteries of our unique universe. Could life exist on Mars? Is time travel possible and does Einstein's theory of relativity support it? Is there a companion dark star to our sun and could it pose a threat to earth? Learn about the spark that lit the big bang. Take a journey from science fiction that predicted all these things, to the scientific reality of what they mean to us in the ever-changing universe.
aired: Tue, Feb 19, 2008
A constellation is a group of stars that are connected together to form a figure or picture. These star pictures help organize the night sky and provide a useful tool for astronomers even today. Explore some of the 88 official constellations and learn about some of the highlights of each -- like the star that's due to go supernova in the constellation Orion. Discover the 13th zodiac sign that no one talks about, and find out why Polaris, the North Star, will one day have to surrender its title.
aired: Tue, Feb 12, 2008
A stellar explosion, the supernova is the sensational death of a star. It can shine as bright as 100 billion Suns and radiate as much energy as the Sun would emit over 10 billion years. Jets of high-energy light and matter are propelled into space and can cause massive Gamma Ray Bursts and emit intense X-ray radiation for thousands of years. Astronomers believe that this process creates the very building blocks of planets, people and plants. Meet the world's leading Supernova hunters, and take a look at recorded supernovas throughout history.
aired: Tue, Feb 5, 2008
When man finally broke free of the Earth's gravitational pull the dream of traveling to other planets became a reality. Today scientists are proposing a bizarre array of technologies in the hope of traveling faster through space: from space craft sporting sails that catch laser beams, to propulsion engines powered by a bizarre entity known as anti-matter. Finally explore the science behind the seemingly fanciful notion of warp-drive and a theoretical particle that can travel faster than light.
aired: Tue, Jan 29, 2008
Does life exist on other planets? Astrobiology is a visionary new science that searches for life in space by combining the disciplines of astronomy, biology and geology. How did life evolve on Earth? What will life look like on other planets? These and other pertinent questions will be answered by a diverse group of scientists. Viewers will visit the Pilbara region of West Australia where the oldest evidence of life on Earth has been discovered. Travel to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn to test a theory that life could exist in the clouds of Venus. Finally, watch as experiments are done to see if life exists on exoplanets, earth-like planets beyond our solar system.
aired: Tue, Jan 15, 2008
Scientists have no idea what it is, but Dark Matter and Dark Energy make up 96% of the Universe. Dark Matter is everywhere. It passes through everything we know on earth at billions of particles every second, yet no one has ever gotten a direct detection of this mysterious dark substance. An even more bewildering force is Dark Energy, which is rapidly pushing apart our Universe. Discovered only ten years ago, scientists are struggling to comprehend its unusual characteristics and answer the ultimate question; what is the fate of our Universe? Using cutting-edge computer graphics watch as the universe is brought down to earth.
aired: Tue, Jan 8, 2008
Travel from the inner solar system to the Kuiper Belt and explore the moons surrounding the planets of the solar system. Many of these moons that were once unknown are now on the cutting edge of astronomical study. Some burst with volcanic fury another spews icy geysers and others offer the possibility of alien life. Are these strange worlds simply hostile environments unfit for humans or do other possibilities exist? Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
The Milky Way
aired: Tue, Dec 18, 2007
We used to think that Earth was at the center of the universe, but now we know we're not even at the center of our own galaxy. Countless wonders exist between where earth is situated and the massive black hole at the galactic center of our solar system. Within the Milky Way can be found the debris of old, dying stars fueling the birth of new stars and at the galactic center hypervelocity stars get catapulted clear beyond the Milky Way's outer rim at unimaginable speeds. Come along for a guided tour of 100,000 light-year-wide family of stars and stellar phenomena we call The Milky Way.
Season 2 Episode 3
aired: Tue, Dec 11, 2007
For thousands of years, mankind has found comfort in its presence. It's been a lantern for nighttime travelers, a timekeeper for farmers, and a location finder for sailors at sea. For some cultures, it's even been a god. It's the only cosmic body ever visited by human beings. From afar, the Moon's luminance has captivated us since the beginning of time. And a closer look at the beacon in the dark sky reveals an ever-present source of myth, intrigue, controversy and unsolved mysteries. The field of science may cast an empirical light on some things about the Universe, but lunar experts are the first to admit they don't have all the answers when it comes to our Moon. This episode explores the theories behind Lunar Transient Phenomena that have left scientists stumped for centuries; takes to the Canadian waters to see how the Moon effects our planet through tides; and dusts off some age-old myths and weighs arguments that without our Moon, humanity may not even exist
aired: Tue, Dec 4, 2007
Today, we know black holes exist, and now scientists are trying to confirm that other holes lurk in hyperspace. Our infinite cosmos could contain a variety of "holes" such as black, white, "mini" and wormholes. White holes are the reverse of black holes; instead of matter being sucked into it, matter is ejected out. Wormholes are gateways in the fabric of space and time. They are included in Einstein's field equations as possibilities for their existence. Neither white holes nor wormholes have ever been found. Learn about new discoveries including, colliding binary black holes, intermediate black holes and manufacturing mini black holes.
aired: Tue, Nov 27, 2007
Have planet hunters finally found proof of other Earthlike worlds? Astronomers have now discovered over two hundred alien worlds, beyond our solar system, that were unknown just a decade ago. Discover planets that rage with fiery hurricanes and bizarre planets covered by water so dense that it forms a kind of hot ice. Among these weird worlds, Earth actually seems like the oddball with the right conditions for life.
Watch The Universe Season 1
Beyond the Big Bang
aired: Tue, Sep 4, 2007
In a galaxy filled with a billion stars, in a universe filled with a hundred billion galaxies--are we alone? SETI--the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence--is a privately funded project using radio telescopes and optical telescopes to scan the stars for signals. NASA is planning missions to Mars, Jupiter's sixth moon, Europa, and Saturn's largest moon, Titan, to look for primitive, microbial life in ice concentrations. Whether we discover primitive or intelligent life, how will that knowledge impact humankind's view of itself? Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on other planets, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
Search for ET
aired: Tue, Aug 28, 2007
It all began inside a violent, blinding explosion that threw everything into chaos. Long after, our greatest thinkers have peered into that chaos in search of order, logic and the answers to where we began. As earlier generations learned to decipher the cosmic clues of how we came to be, we stepped from revelation to revelation; epiphany to epiphany. Aristotle told us the universe was layered. Ptolemy conceived of a system of planets, stars and sun. Copernicus placed the sun at the center of this system; Galileo confirmed it. Newton explained what held it all together. Einstein offered insight into what fueled it. Hubble revealed it was expanding. LeMaitre proposed it started with a "Big Bang." Our search for answers has shaped how we have evolved as thinking creatures. This is the history of why and how we think about who and what we are. We'll contemplate how it will all end...and what comes after. And for the first time, we'll be able to see what it all looks like, sitting in God's front row seat. Using unprecedented cutting edge animation, we will recreate that amazing moment when everything started. We'll talk with the world's leading physicists. And we will employ every storytelling tool to make complex and confusing ideas clear, exciting and dramatic. Using graphics and illustrations, we will explain concepts like the formation of galaxies, the existence of other dimensions and the idea of a parallel universe. Recreations, visual metaphors and first-person accounts will help bring this fascinating history alive.
The Most Dangerous Place in the Universe
aired: Tue, Aug 21, 2007
Take a tour of the cosmic hot zones--black holes, galaxy mergers, gamma ray bursts and magnetars. Super massive black holes can literally "lasso" the Earth out of the solar system. A clash between two galaxies can result in a barbaric ritual called "galactic cannibalism" in which the dominant galaxy's super massive black hole literally eats the weaker one. Magnetars are a cosmic magnetic force so strong it could wipe out data on every credit card on the planet. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on other planets, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
The Outer Planets
aired: Tue, Aug 14, 2007
New discoveries regarding the Outer Planets are creating a fundamental rethinking of our solar system. Uranus is a toxic combination of hydrogen, helium and methane. Scientists speculate that the planet was knocked on its side after colliding with another body. Neptune's largest moon, Triton, is cold and barren, but some scientists speculate that liquid water might exist under Triton's icy surface. If this is proven true, Triton could be the home to one of the biggest discoveries of all time. Cold and inhospitable, Pluto completes one orbit around the solar system every 248 years. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on other planets, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
Life And Death Of A Star
aired: Tue, Aug 7, 2007
Ignited by the power of the atom, burning with light, heat and wrath, stars are anything but peaceful. They collide, devour each other, and explode in enormous supernovas--the biggest explosions in the Universe. Using cutting-edge computer graphics, never-before-seen satellite images, and interviews with the world's leading astronomers, take a front row seat to the most amazing light show in the cosmos.
aired: Tue, Jul 31, 2007
To know our place in the universe take a look far, far away to the realm of Alien Galaxies. Our galaxy is one of hundreds of billions in the universe. The Milky Way consists of more than a billion stars, our sun being only one of them. Take a view of the universe through the Hubble Space telescope and go back almost all the way to the Big Bang. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on other planets, and to imagine what life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
Saturn: Lord of the Rings
aired: Tue, Jul 24, 2007
Are the rings of Saturn a real celestial phenomenon or merely a cosmic Illusion? Technology allows the experts to get closer to the furthest planet visible to the naked eye. Old questions are answered and new ones arise. Does Saturn hold the key to Earth's weather and will one of its moons supply us with all the oil we'll ever need? Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to show what life would be like on other planets and to imagine what kinds of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
The Inner Planets: Mercury & Venus
aired: Tue, Jul 17, 2007
Scorched by their proximity to the sun, Mercury and Venus are hostile worlds; one gouged with craters from cosmic collisions and the other a vortex of sulfur, carbon dioxide and acid rain. Prime examples of planets gone awry, do they serve as a warning for ominous scenarios that might someday threaten Earth? Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to show what life would be on other planets and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
aired: Tue, Jul 10, 2007
Take a high performance ride through the formation of the third planet from the Sun, Earth. A survivor of one of the most violent "neighborhoods" in the universe, learn how earth was created and discover what creatures hold clues to how life began. What evil forces threaten the demise of Earth? Complex and controversial, this is the scientific detective story of all time. Cutting-edge graphics are used along with the stories of scientists and explorers who dare to venture into the uncharted territory of the cosmos.
aired: Tue, Jun 26, 2007
It's so close...yet so far away. For thousands of years, mankind has found comfort in its presence. It's been a lantern for nighttime travelers...a timekeeper for farmers...and a location finder for sailors at sea. For some cultures, it's even been a god. It's the only cosmic body ever visited by human beings. And, today, NASA is planning a permanent outpost there. But how did it get there in the first place? How did the Moon come to be? The answer is more astounding and spectacular than most residents of earth have ever imagined.
Jupiter: The Giant Planet
aired: Tue, Jun 19, 2007
Half a billion miles from earth exists a mini solar system of over 60 moons rotating around a powerful planet of gas. It's flowing colors and spots hold strange beauty, but contain violent storms and jet streams. Could this big, bright ball of turbulent weather have been the star of Bethlehem? Could one of its moons harbor life beneath its icy crust? Jupiter, the giant planet, is the king of many questions concerning our solar system and could possibly hold the answers.
The End of the Earth: Deep Space Threats to Our Planet
aired: Tue, Jun 12, 2007
The Earth has become a dangerous place to live in the Universe. It's only a matter of time before a cosmic force will annihilate the planet. At this very moment, NASA's top brass and other scientists are arming themselves with the latest technology to pre-empt an apocalyptic attack. And the enemy won't be terrorists launching nuclear weapons, but something possibly more deadly. This UNIVERSE episode - End of the Earth will investigate the bizarre, unexplained and terrifying End of Earth scenarios. Scientists from around the world race against the clock to develop technology to detect and defend our planet from apocalyptic demons. The prime suspects: asteroids, comets, gamma ray bursts, the sun and the Big Rip - a mysterious phenomenon called "dark energy" may eventually rip apart everything in the Universe.
Mars: The Red Planet
aired: Tue, Jun 5, 2007
It's home to the largest volcano in the Solar System...and a colossal, boulder-strewn valley that would make the Grand Canyon look like a streambed. But despite such otherworldly features, it's the planet most like Earth, and it's the most likely candidate for eventual human habitation. In the past, its mysterious movement in the sky and rumors of a network of canals on its surface made it a source of wild speculation. Did alien life flourish there? Perhaps an advanced civilization that might one day attempt to conquer Earth? Today, NASA orbiters and rovers mapping the planet's surface have put these notions to rest. While they've photographed land features that look chillingly like an enormous human face, so far, they have not discovered intelligent life. Still, the search for biology continues. And with new evidence of vast amounts of frozen water lurking just a few feet below the rusty soil, the possibility of finding at least primitive life on the fourth rock from the Sun seems exceedingly probable.
Secrets of the Sun
aired: Tue, May 29, 2007
There are billions of stars in the Universe, but one alone dominates our celestial neighborhood, the Sun. It's so large that within its boundaries you could fit one million Earths, and so powerful that each second it churns out as much energy as one billion one-megaton hydrogen bombs. The Sun is the massive engine that drives our solar system, providing the energy that makes life on Earth possible, but it also rages with violent storms and explosions that can threaten our planet. With some experts predicting that we are headed for the most violent period of solar activity in modern history, it's never been more important to understand the Secrets of the Sun.
The Universe: Seven Wonders of the Solar System
aired: Wed, Aug 17, 2011
Take a virtual tour of the seven most amazing wonders of our solar system, beginning the trip at one of Saturn's outer moons. Then travel Saturn's seven rings, zoom through the Asteroid Belt, soar past the surface of the Sun and finish by exploring our home planet, Earth.