Meteor Showers, Comets, Eclipses, and More

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Eclipses, Comets, and Omens
Since no human can touch the sky, any unexpected celestial event must be a divine omen. Reenter this primordial state of mind, seeing eclipses and comets the way they were perceived before the advent of modern science. In the course of this investigation, discover why comets became more feared than…
Comet Encounter
Comets have fascinated, even terrified us for thousands of years. This year, a particularly massive chunk of ice and rock is hurtling our way, an object that will fascinate billions and should create the space show of the century. Right now Comet Ison, somewhere between 1 and 10 kilometers in…
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter
Episode 2 of Experiencing Hubble
Shortly after its optics were repaired, Hubble had the opportunity to observe the solar system event of the century: the collision of a string of comets with Jupiter in 1994. Examine Hubble's stunning image of the aftermath of this crash.
Ancient Astronomy and Modern Astrophysics
Finish the course by seeing how ancient records of eclipses and supernova explosions have refined our modern understanding of Earth-Moon dynamics and stellar processes - proving that today's cutting-edge astrophysicists owe a great debt to astronomers who watched the skies long ago.
Comet – Visitors from Space
Comets have been causing fear in the minds of humans for millennia. Now spacecraft are helping us to understand what they are made of and how they behave. The time it takes for a comet to make one complete orbit around another object is known as the orbital period. The…
Meteorite Worship and Start of the Iron Age
Witnessing a meteor fall must have been a strange and awe-inspiring experience for people long ago. Travel around the world to places where meteorites were worshiped and also used as a source of iron, which was rarer than gold before the smelting technology of the Iron Age.
The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know
As recently as 1990, it seemed plausible that the solar system was a unique phenomenon in our galaxy. Thanks to advances in technology and clever new uses of existing data, now we know that planetary systems and possibly even a new Earth can be found throughout galaxies near and far.…
Chasing Shadows - A Photographer Captures Solar Eclipses Around the World
For most people, total solar eclipses are once in a lifetime occurrences. Not for Geoff Sims, a professional photographer and astronomer who has captured many eclipses on many continents. He has travelled the globe in pursuit of solar eclipses, resulting in a stunning portfolio of unique images. This stunning doc…
How the Antikythera Mechanism Worked
Learn to operate the Antikythera mechanism, the glory of ancient astronomy. Modern models show how a simple turn of the crank could reveal the day of the year, phase of the Moon, possible eclipse dates, the cycles of ancient games, and other information. Probe the historical impact of this device.
Gravitomagnetism and Gravitational Waves
The general theory of relativity predicts new phenomena of gravity analogous to those of electromagnetism. Discover how ultra-sensitive experiments have detected the gravitomagnetism of the Earth, and follow the search for elusive gravitational waves that travel through space.
Inexplicable Space
Shoot off into the stars for an investigation of some perplexing aspects of space that science has uncovered in the last half-century. Learn about the mysterious trajectory of the Pioneer spacecraft (known as the "Pioneer anomaly"). Explore two of the longest-standing problems in modern astrophysics: dark matter and dark energy.…
What Are Tides? Earth and Beyond
Trace the origin of tides to the simple fact that gravity varies from point to point in space. This leads not just to the rise and fall of the ocean, but to the gradual slowing of Earth's rotation, Saturn's spectacular ring system, volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, and many other…