How the Universe Works

How the Universe Works

2010, Science  -   165 Comments
Ratings: 8.48/10 from 65 users.

How the Universe WorksHave you ever wondered exactly how our Universe is put together? How is it built? And how it actually works? This is ultimate guide to the Cosmos will show as never before the inner workings of our planet, the Solar System, the galaxies and the Universe itself.

This series investigates the nuts and bolts of our cosmos, exploring a whole range of fascinating celestial phenomena and how they came to be the way they are.

Experts and mind-blowing CGI, take viewers under the celestial hood to tell the greatest story of all – the story of how we and everything around us began.

Big Bang. A detailed explanation of the Big Bang Theory. Professor Michio Kaku & other colleagues explain what happened billionths of a second after the BB through to what might happen at the universes end.

Black Holes. The origins of one of the most mysterious forces in the Universe, Black Holes. How Black Holes are instrumental in the evolution of the Universe itself and how Black Holes can destroy whole galaxies or create them. It also covers Hypernovas, Gamma Ray bursts, Super Massive Black Holes and Quasars.

Alien Galaxies. In this episode scientists like Michio Kaku talk about the estimated 200 billion galaxies in the known Universe and explains where galaxies came from, how they work, what's their future and how they will die.

Extreme Stars. Michio Kaku explains the different types, how they are born, what they are made of, how they will die and find out how all life & matter in the Universe as we know it ows its existence to the stars.

Supernovas. Different types of supernovas, what the secret ingredient is that gives a star the power to supernova and why all matter in the universe owes its existence to them.

Extreme Planets. The different types, why there are different types, how they are formed, how many scientists have discovered and what makes them so different when they are made out of the same star stuff. Find out what makes the Earth so unique and what the theory is behind a gas giants magnetic field.

Alien Solar Systems. See actual pictures of solar system being born, see our solar system from its start to its inevitable end and learn about why Neptune & Venus seem out of place and the theory of how they came to be where they are today.

Alien Moons. The secret worlds of our solar system. Discover where other life may exist and how, where the largest eruptions take place, where are the largest oceans and the coldest temperatures. Find out why each moon has its own personality and how they help stabilize the plant they orbit. One of the most puzzling questions of all is answered, why does Saturns moon Tritan orbit backwards and what is its destiny?

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Richard Murphy
4 years ago

Just watched "How the Universe works" about Supernovas. Question - since the supernova produces a huge shockwave that transverses across the universe, wouldn't that shockwave disrupt some of the asteroids in the our asteroid belt and potentially direct those inwards towards our planet?

Shambhavi saxena
5 years ago

I like these documentary

5 years ago

Some peoples or so called scientists' "facts" aren't FACTS at all but just observations they have misinterpreted. Any such thing should be properly titled: UNCERTAIN THEORY/s OF HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS.

For instance, other theories, which seem to be better theories of planetary movement, etc. don't require a black hole fix to explain holes in the prevailing dogmatic theory indoctrinated into so many. See "The Principle" a documentary found elsewhere regarding the Copernican principle. It shows several cosmologists questioning what they thought they knew based on more recent measurements.

Further, if we have an ocean tide that goes in and out, who is to say that it is a FACT that the universe is continually expanding? Who is to say that it won't be contracting at some point? Such as revolving around some uneven elliptic where it will appear to compress when it gets to another or the other side of the elliptic?

Are we to believe that the particles in atoms revolve. That planets revolve around the sun. But the galaxies don't revolve around anything but just continually expand outward? Hogwash. We are but microbes on a flea on a dog's back. Totally unaware of the path that the dog takes from its food bowl to its resting place and back again, and how many eons that may take.

Or earth may simply be at the epicenter as the newer more extensive measurements are now showing, causing cosmologists to rethink many things. How can that be when we were told all these years that we were an insignificant non unique planet in an back water galaxy? How do they know?

They didn't know. But it was beneficial to the Powers That Be to make you think your life and everyone else's is insignificant. And therefore you should sacrifice those lives "for the greater good" which simply means "give all power and be subservient to corrupt collectivist govt ruled by sick godless pedophiles" who want you dead but not before stealing all your money, labor, and energy.

Question everything. Is the earth a sphere? Prove it. Don't rely on other's claims. Do your own version of the Rowbotham Experiment. It isn't difficult. If you stand on a 500 ft elevation hill and can see the lights and buildings in a town 40 miles away that are less than 560 feet tall including elevation, which should be on the other side of the claimed curvature horizon... then maybe you should disbelieve more things you were indoctrinated with in school and the media. For those that can't fathom that, do the experiment along the seashore or across a lake or bay. However, if you are at waters edge that 40 mile distance would now require an object to be taller than 1060 feet, to be seen; if the earth is curved as claimed. No, instead just sit there, tell yourself you are smart, that would be much preferred to being wrong, in believing teachers (having faith in lies called "science"), rather than testing with trigonometry.

So many are just too chicken to challenge what you think you know and are just content to be filled with what BS you are told. And your ego desires to not be wrong about accepting folly, so will defend it. Why would they lie? What is gained by such lies? Yes, a great question, why indeed! Ask that of everything and you should get your answer.

10 years ago

i dont have to watch this video to know the truth is was dog i mean god lmao sorry i had to go there

11 years ago

I agree with princeton below.
Redshift being a marker for distance from us has been adequately disproven.
Lookup galaxy NGC 7603 where you can clearly see a large spiral galaxy connected to a smaller mass of stars by a "bridge" where all three objects have completely differing redshifts when they should all be relatively the same.

The whole "everything from nothing Big Bang Theory is based on redshifts and the alternative is that the Universe is infinite. There is no "edge" and time didn't just "begin" 14 billion years ago. The Big Bang Theory is ridiculous and there is strong science refuting it.

11 years ago

Graphics are nice but be proud of this information if it was the truth. The standard model is a lie. And they just make things up as you uncover each lie. something unknown is not an explanation for their theories observable incorrectness. The electric universe does however explain things in experimets observable to us here on earth. It doesnt help us to make up stories that you cant prove especially when the answers really have answers provable. I thought thats what science was?

12 years ago

As a nut who has always been obsessed with learning as much as possible especially when it comes to the art of science and our Universe which most likely isn't the only one and is filled with fascination and always something for the humans to learn from. I have been so happy to have the ability to access both Discovery HD and The Science Channel where this program is broadcast. There is so much to feed the brain which in my case is always hungry. My job with Dish Network takes me out of town quite frequently but I do have the ability to access my favorite learning channels through my iPad and a simple Sling Adapter. In my opinion it's a pretty cool thought to know I am associated with a company responsible for helping to get brain food out to the public and the HD quality is brilliant and far superior to other providers. This means a lot to me due to the fact that with all there is to learn it's wonderful to have the clarity of computer generated graphics enhanced with HD giving everything an amazing touch.

12 years ago

why doesn't the video work in fact i find 4 of ten videos dont work and the same error message ( an error occur please try again later )
anyone knows how to solve this problem ???

12 years ago

I hate it when it says blocked by copygrounds in my country.

12 years ago

you can get the documentary on the isohunt site,and all the other parts..enyoj

12 years ago

Discovery UK is really on the ball. They took down so many docs lately :( This one looked awesome too..

12 years ago

It looks like it would be a good documentary, if it was actually on this site.

Achems Razor
12 years ago

Ha,Ha, makes sense, horny taychon's, Its a "hot" universe ain't it? Well, except space, 3 degrees above absolute zero kelvin.

12 years ago

It seems that there is another side to you....

12 years ago


Here's an unorthodox shot, Due to expansion ecceleration it’s the pressure of the increasing propagation of photons on any mass.

12 years ago

hey there! love the series
I have one question about gravity if someone would be so kind to answer...
How does gravity start in the 1st place? i don't understand why rocks(asteroids) colliding with each other can start gravity....

12 years ago

For me, first three parts of the episode 1 are blocked by Discovery UK... long and sad booooo for them. Copyrighting knowledge in a world that more and more lacks it is not a nice move... i@#$%^ of all kinds are spawning like rabbits, why helping the process...

12 years ago

I have noticed that there are several BB theories floating around, hopefully soon one will become fact....... for a while.
1. Creation from nothing, the singularity model of the universe created from a single point.
2. Big bounce, the universe expands and contracts in cycles
3. The end of one universe starts the next universe (time and space break down due to no mass and explode as it thinks its small)
4. Universes are built inside blackholes
5. Universes are created at the point of membrane conjuncture
6. The universe is a waveform and can be explained mathematically by string theory....... (no I cant explain)
Until one is proven everything else is just guessing

Irish Shane
12 years ago

feck... not much of an 'Open' University. buggers have blocked the video on grounds of copyright.

whatever happened to love of just letting people appreciate such educational work. the worlds going to hell i tell ya.

ah well.. at least they got good burbon down there. ha

12 years ago

I will never forget the first time I heard “All thing were made form nothing.” I was six years old (quite sometime ago) the teacher was a mere wisp of a woman, a five foot tall Nun.

Now I have very much different ideas concerning what “Nothing” may be. Consider that all those photos provided by cosmologists appear basically in two dimensions. Seeing them in four dimensions and added sensory augmentation would startle many. Seeing Galaxies as toroidal spirals traversing space/time at phenomenal speeds, drawing in incalculable quantities of mass and ejecting even more incalculable jets of energy from their (only for reference) north and south poles boggles the mind.

The suns, planets and much smaller objects exhibit similar properties of different energy exchanges of electro-magnetic and gravitational properties (are they different or polarities of the same phenomena) unseen without sensory aids or imaginary augmentation. These properties extend to the infinities, the very large and the very small (self limiting infinities or not).

Our sensory organs only allow perception within their limits to enable our existence within our environment. But this is only the perceived environment, a translation of the actual forces producing what we call reality. The senses are made of the same material (stuff) used to experience it also interesting. We have never really observed any of the ongoing reality with the possible exception of its violation.

We bring with us our own views (prejudices) objective and subjective. We start from there and extrapolate. We experience the probability waves collapsed in time and space but they are only stationary to our perception and that perception lags the actual encounter, again interesting.

(From and for the string theorists view…) Oscillations of varying frequencies, amplitudes and structures combining (this is the stuff of nothing) to produce other structures consisting of the same properties mentioned yielding Quarks in values of thirds never yielding one (the value) in various states of spin.

They accrete in the void to such a mass that the energy cannot be contained (singularity) and explode, the first moments of space/time. While shattering some produce momentary blips in space/time that spin off existing for varying lengths of (our) time before spiraling of into nonexistence producing the same visual properties of spiral galaxies.

During this phase protons, electrons and neutrons remain stable and single proton and electron pairs appear and produce hydrogen atoms inflating into the newly created space/time. This process prior to the nucleosynthesis era also produce deuterium via the acquisition of a single neutron (although momentary) to finally (after some cooling below 3 billion Kelvins) become stable.

Now all this has to accrete into large gaseous masses. The now stable deuterium allows the fusion of four hydrogen atoms into helium setting the stage for star production.

The mass attains enough energy (heat) to begin fusion and produce lithium and beryllium (the easy stuff) and then finally burn enough energy to collapse and go nova all producing heavier elements.

The process continues forming heavier elements completing our current chart in particular carbon. Finally (only speaking of the present) the various suns and planets accrete evolve, produce molecules, they produce amino acids, they combine produce life, animal and vegetable then finally us to wonder at it all.

I hope through brevity and understatement I didn’t miss any process. The review of this always leaves me with a divided mind: 1. (Peggy Lee circa 1950) – if that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing and break out the booze and have a ball and 2. Wonder – the complete rejection of Ms. Lee’s lament.

12 years ago

@ DonDon

I wasn’t referring to what the matter in the universe is traveling through. Besides matter in the universe has gravity to contend with which could be considered resistance to motion.

great point , was just the first thing that came to mind when reading your post , perhaps the early explosion avoided gravity with something similar to an escape volocity ... (if there even was a bb in the first place )

you guys all have great ideas and i enjoy reading them keep up the good work :)

12 years ago

I'm always stalking the science section. Can't wait for more.

12 years ago

Thanks Vlatko
sorry was miffed about the Bullsh*t download. Your advice worked. I appreciate
your work and it is a great site. I became a documentary junkie and you are my new connection. I buy them also, I also teach and this puts new tool in my teach bag.

12 years ago

Great Site. Love this documentary collection.

After reading these threads I'd have to say DonDon might be absolutely right. If you consider gravitational redshift. I just goggled it. It may validate everything he said.

12 years ago

Is anyone else getting this kind of messages, while trying to play certain videos in the playlist ?

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Discovery Uk."

"This is a private video. If you have been sent this video, please make sure you accept the sender's friend request."

12 years ago

If ever try to commit suicide i would definitely jump in a black hole :)

12 years ago

@ Princeton

I can't get the url to work. I typed in doubleu doubleu double dot and then what you had, no go. What am I doing wrong? OH, I see- I didn't take out the spaces- I'll try again.

12 years ago

D@*% it vlatko.. comment in moderation for saying cr@p. ouch! (just kidding.. lol)
but i was also gonna bring up something interesting I've recently run into about cosmology. seems like electrical engineers have the explanations for what astrophysicists and theoretical mathematicians can't seem to make sense of.
check out this NASA Goddard presentation by Dr. Donald E. Scott. well worth the watch!
youtube . com / watch?v=wOI-X215A8Y

12 years ago

sorry but i gotta pull this quote from wiki.

"attempts to extend the Standard Model with gravitons have run into serious theoretical difficulties at high energies (processes with energies close to or above the Planck scale) because of infinities arising due to quantum effects (in technical terms, gravitation is non-renormalizable). On the other hand, the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible at such energies, so from a theoretical point of view the present situation is not tenable."
well since we're on the weird stuff.

i always thought gravitons were a bad idea. imagine throwing rocks (discreet particles) at something, but somehow that object comes closer to you as a result. it would seem from a layman's take on things, that the only way to get pull (and near instantaneous pull at that) is through some form of tension (like bungee cords) which would lead one to believe all matter is interconnected in such a manner as to create the effect of gravity (more matter = more bungee cords ).. particles being pushed around cannot create this effect (conceptually), but again, just a layman take on things.. i never claim expertise.

would love to hear some more thoughts.. i am also enjoying the convo.. keep at it dondon.. i cant wait to hear your theory of everything (seriously, i've heard quite a few and they all make more sense than the current mainstream "its hard to imagine, just study decades of math" c@#$) LOL

Achems Razor
12 years ago


You have more weird stuff, well, knock yourself out, I like weird, bring it on.

On thing you have to remember is the gravity itself has a speed limit, "gravitons" travel at the speed of light, gravity is not instant, so how does that fit your scenario?

12 years ago

This is a great website. I agree that the conversation here is interesting aswell. I think might have something significant there too DonDon.

12 years ago

was or wasn't rather

12 years ago

@ muke like that huh?

I wasn't referring to what the matter in the universe is traveling through. Besides matter in the universe has gravity to contend with which could be considered resistance to motion.

I was referring to what the big bang bang'd into. And how would we know if there was resistance?

12 years ago

Maybe all the matter in the universe was not created but existed as a super massive blackhole that had gorged on all the matter from its universe where the singularity could no longer hold itself together and tore itself a new universe where it could spew its matter into, so the big bang is more like a big implosion or big suck...... Or have I smoked too much weed?

12 years ago

@ achems razor

yes, thanks for the response.. I personally have a few other qualms with the bb theory.. it pretty much contradicts basic rules of logic and the well accepted laws of thermodynamics which states energy/matter cannot be created or destroyed, yet we have a theory claiming to describe how the universe (literally everything that exists) was created. it has bugged me for a long time and am glad to see recent observational evidence is confirming my suspicions. i think the theoretical physicists and mathematicians are getting a bit ahead of themselves and conflating concepts with real physical objects. but o well, just my amateur, layman take on the subject, I am no expert!

12 years ago

VlatKo, you ROCK!

And thanks too, for your interesting conversations guys!

Achems Razor
12 years ago


Mainstream astronomers claim the redshift discrepancies does not mean that they are close together, but only coincidentally aligned.

They also state the Quasars may actually be young, not old.
That may account for their differences in redshift.

But, it may very well mean that there was no BB. after all. As "Halton C. Arp" states.

12 years ago

well.. the whole redshift thing has been brought into question by a some reputable physicists and astronomers.
"Halton C. Arp is a professional astronomer who, earlier in his career, was Edwin Hubble's assistant. He has earned the Helen B.Warner prize, the Newcomb Cleveland award and the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award. For years he worked at the Mt. Palomar and Mt. Wilson observatories. While there, he developed his well known catalog of "Peculiar Galaxies" that are misshapen or irregular in appearance.

Arp discovered, by taking photographs through the big telescopes, that many pairs of quasars (quasi-stellar objects) which have extremely high redshift z values (and are therefore thought to be receding from us very rapidly - and thus must be located at a great distance from us) are physically associated with galaxies that have low redshift and are known to be relatively close by. Arp has photographs of many pairs of high redshift quasars that are symmetrically located on either side of what he suggests are their parent, low redshift galaxies. These pairings occur much more often than the probabilities of random placement would allow. "
any thoughts?

12 years ago

I miss Carl Sagan. He would be proud.

12 years ago

@ Dondon

No. But, you came up with some wierd stuff. The thing is we have observed and measured many times what happens to a photon as it travels through space surrounding a star. I referr you again to gravitational lensing. Or, you can keep having fun- I really wasn't trying to be rude or anything. Just because I love science and accept the facts they have discovered doesn't mean that i don't understand "fun". I just have a different idea than you of what fun is. I preferr to accept the facts so i can use them as a base for theories about things we can't observe. If we disagree on the fundamentals, like how light is effected by gravity, we can't really communicate to discuss the real mysteries out there. That said, everyone has a right to have fun as they see fit so have at man. Enjoy yourself brother, you certainly do not need my leave to do so.

12 years ago

2) I’ve never met an explosion that continued on to infinity :)

im guessing any explosion you have witnessed occured resistance , idunno just a thought ?

12 years ago

Vlatko,.. if i had a wife i would want her to have your babies

12 years ago

Spontaneous genesis!.

12 years ago

No Vlatko Discovery have blocked half of them :(

12 years ago

The docs are removed bij Discovery UK.

12 years ago


and what about you, did i smite the evil demon observed fact?


Using the poker on the coals :)

12 years ago

@Achems Razor

So what do you think ....did I smite the evil demon of irrefutable theory :)


12 years ago


I don't like waffles But thanks

12 years ago

Hi guys. Just got back from work. Won't have much time today to post as I have to go back. Thanks for the polite replies. I don't expect anyone to agree with me at this point given the boat loads of apparently irrefutable data and evidence , coupled with many popular theory pretty much accepted universally as fact that is apparently contrary to what I said.

Something else I didn't expect was everyone to be as polite about their disagreement with what I suggested...thanks.

I would like to just elaborate a little more on what I said, because I was a little tired last night when I wrote it.

Here again is what I originally said with a little more elaboration:

Ok I’m saying that “space that’s being influenced by strong gravity can be considered a different(altered) medium” relative to anything outside that influence. Therefore ANYTHING that travels through this different medium WILL have different relative energy(relative to anything outside that altered medium), relative to what its relative energy was outside the altered medium.

So for example take a comet. If this comet is traveling through relatively uniform space outside of the influence of and strong gravitational influences, all of it’s relative energies ie. motion, direction(s) and/or velocities should remain relatively constant(relative to anything observing it within that same relatively uniform space.
If this comet were to travel through an area of space strongly influenced(altered) by gravity( near a star for example), then relative to anything in the space not affected, one or all of the comet’s energy(s) would change. It’s relative motion, direction(s) and/or velocities can be altered.
Now once the comet leaves this area of altered medium(or simply different medium if you will), back to the relatively uniform space(baseline medium), it may very well return to a similar state of energy it was prior to entering the region. Although it may not. Any or all of its energy(s) i.e. motions, directions, velocities may well have been altered.
The same is true of anything passing through this gravitational influence(different medium). Given enough gracvity and some other variables this can include a detectable difference with a photon. This is what im saying.

My elaboration:

Let me give another example....

Let's take a number of photons. They are traveling through a relatively uniform consistant medium(normal vacuum space). Call it spacetime1. However, they are traveling in various different vectors(not the same). Now let's say these photons are traveling toward a area in space where there is a large gravitational and or region of great mass where the surrounding space time has been altered. Call this spacetime2.

Ok now...Let's say after entering spacetime2, some of the photons exiting are now reentering spacetime1 with a different vector from how they entered. How they reenter spacetime1 will depend on various variables such as their angle of entry into spacetime2, the nature of the field shape of spacetime2 etc.

So now let's focus on the photons that have an altered vector reentering ST1. These particles have had a particular part of their relative energy(s) altered. ie. their relative direction(vector).

Now let's say these photons that reenter ST1 with the altered vector(s) and travel for a time through st1 space. After distance/time, let's say a light year these particels encounter another region of altered space. For simplification we'll call it ST2 again. Again, after traveling through this 2nd region of st2, photons reenter st1 with another altered vector. And again they travel through another region of st1 for another distance/time.
Now say this happens again and again and again as a photon travels through billions of light years of space to finally reach us here on earth. Well, now. It appears that this photon has zig zagged its way through normal space to finally reach us. And NOT in a straight line. Therefore traveling a much greater distance(through normal space st1) to get to us than it would have if it did travel in a straight line(if it's vector had never changed). I think it took more time to reach us aswell....

Thanks again for the forum Vlatko.
Again, I don't expect any of you guys to agree with me...Im ok with that. And I do appreciate the rebuttle even if it is totally contrary to what I'm saying.

So again Feel free to slash away brothers :)

Having Fun Again



I probably won't have time today to post again but I'll check again when I have time.

Achems Razor
12 years ago

I agree, let us boycott the religee troll, I have no use for any of the religions, especially on a science doc.

Maybe if we do not acknowledge him he will go away!