The Universe: Season 2
The 18 episodes from Season Two cover an appropriately wide range of topics, from Cosmic Holes to Cosmic Collisions, from supernovas to gravity. There are episodes about the weather in space, the largest objects in space (hint: they’re really, really big, like the so-called cosmic web of galaxies, which is a hundred million billion times bigger than Earth), and traveling to and colonizing space.
The amount of information and data provided is enormous. Jargon abounds, including terms like lunar transient phenomena, pulsar planets, hot Jupiters, dark matter and dark energy, collisional families, the heavy bombardment period, and many, many more.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 12 hours)
1. Alien Planets. The science of planet hunting; astronomers explain the technology and methods used to find extra-solar planets – worlds outside our solar system orbiting other stars; and a look at some of the most interesting planets that have been discovered, such as “Hot Jupiters” and “Super-Earths.”
2. Cosmic Holes. The mysteries of black holes and theories about the existence of other kinds of holes, such as “mini” or microscopic black holes that exist at the atomic level; “white holes” – the opposite of black holes where matter is eject out; and “wormholes” – gateways in hyperspace that connect points in space and time and possibly lead to other dimensions.
3. Mysteries of the Moon. The Moon and the role it has played in the history of mankind – how it was once worshiped as a god; used as a timekeeper by farmers; a beacon for sailors at sea; and how it effects ocean tides and the behavior of animals. Also discussed is the transient lunar phenomenon which has baffled scientists for centuries.
4. The Milky Way. A tour of the Milky Way; a look at the massive black hole with the mass of thousands of suns, that lies at its center; how the death of old stars provide the material to create new ones; and how stars from the galactic center are being catapulted beyond the outer arms at unimaginable speeds.
5. Alien Moons. Kuiper belt objects and the moons of the solar system such as volcanic Io, ice covered Europa, and cloud covered Titan; scientists and physicist theorize as to what discoveries could be found there.
6. Dark Matter/Dark Energy. The theory of dark matter – the undetectable mass thought to make up 96% of the universe, and dark energy – the unseen force that is expanding the universe. Physicists use the latest cutting-edge technology and conduct groundbreaking experiments in an attempt to discover more about these mysterious forces.
7. Astrobiology. The science of astrobiology – the search for life in space by combining the disciplines of astronomy, biology and geology; a look at how life could evolve on planets vastly different than Earth; and a trip to an area in Australia to search for the oldest forms of life on Earth and what it could teach us about life on other worlds.
8. Space Travel. Some revolutionary ideas about travel in space, from ship designs to innovative methods of propulsion such as solar sails and laser beams. Also a look at antimatter as a power source and the possibilities of faster-than-light travel that could make the greatest science fiction dream a reality.
9. Supernovas. The sensational death of stars in supernova explosions which shine as bright as a 100 billion suns and release jets of high-energy matter as gamma-ray bursts and x-ray radiation. Also a look at supernovas recorded throughout history and how stardust creates the building blocks of planets and life.
10. Constellations. Some of the 88 constellations in the sky which are arrangements of stars that form a picture or symbol. Also how ancient civilizations developed and used them for navigation and exploration.
11. Unexplained Mysteries. Some of the myths, misconceptions and facts about the universe, from life on Mars to whether or not time travel is possible and if Einstein’s theories of relativity could support it.
12. Cosmic Collisions. Cosmic shooting gallery of the universe; what happens during comet, asteroid and planetary collisions; the effects of mass extinction impacts; what happens when stars collide, and when entire galaxies merge together.
13. Colonizing Space. The efforts underway to establish permanent human colonies on the Moon and Mars; how food will be grown and waste recycled and eventually the plans to terraform Mars to make it more habitable for humans.
14. Nebulas. The “art gallery of the galaxy” – amazing regions of space, where old stars die and new ones are born. Astronomers reveal the techniques and technology used to capture the details and wonder of these distant objects, many of which are too far away to be seen by the naked eye.
15. Wildest Weather in the Cosmos. Bizarre weather phenomena on other worlds in our solar system such as tornadoes with 6,000 MPH winds, and rain made of iron.
16. Biggest Things in Space. The biggest things in the universe, such as the cosmic web which connects galaxies together along threads of dark matter or the Lyman-alpha blob which is a bubble containing countless galaxies. Also a look at super-galaxies, super massive black holes, “radio lobes” and the biggest void in space.
17. Gravity. The forces of gravity and the role it plays in the formation of the universe and the objects within it; how weightlessness affects astronauts in space, and how pilots experience the effects of gravity in their training on the “vomit comet”.
18. Cosmic Apocalypse. How the universe could end with various theories explored such as a “random quantum fluctuation” where everything is obliterated in the blink of an eye; where all energy is consumed and ends in a “cosmic ice age”; where everything collapses into black holes and disappears, and how there is nothing we can do to prevent the cosmic doomsday.