Polar Explorations

Polar Explorations
Show More

22 episodes in this series

Episode 1 A Passion for the Poles
What draws people to the poles again and again? What significance do these regions hold for the planet? Begin to answer these questions with Fen Montaigne, a journalist who has…
Episode 2 Seasons at the Poles
In the latitudes where most of us live, it's easy to take the sun for granted. For us, the sun comes up and goes down reliably every day, yet the…
Episode 3 Connections between the Poles
The North and South Poles share a history that is unique and unlike any other place on Earth. Join Professor Michael Wysession as he lays the groundwork for understanding the…
Episode 4 The Saga of Arctic Exploration
Over the centuries, hundreds of people have perished trying to find their way through the Northwest Passage and to the North Pole, while hundreds more have spent months or years…
Episode 5 The Icy Heart of Polar Seas
Virtually every living thing in polar waters - from single-celled phytoplankton to whales - has evolved in a world dominated by sea ice. Study how Arctic and Antarctic marine ecosystems…
Episode 6 Geology of the Arctic Circle
Zoom in for a closer look at the unique geologic characteristics of the North Pole and surrounding Arctic Circle. First, take a brief geologic tour of the Arctic regions, then…
Episode 7 Science and Spirits of the Arctic Sky
Constellations were vital to the early Inuits' survival, as they used the daily, monthly, and annual motions of the stars for timekeeping, navigation, and tracking the seasons. Explore this tradition…
Episode 8 Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic
Although fewer than a half-million in number, Arctic dwellers are comprised of approximately 40 different ethnic groups. Learn how the Nenets of Russia, the Inuit of North America, and other…
Episode 9 Greenland and Arctic Islands
Delve into the past, present, and future of three of the most notable islands in the Arctic and sub-Arctic: Iceland, one of the world's most geologically active areas; Greenland, which…
Episode 10 Terrestrial Mammals in the Changing Arctic
Now that Arctic sea ice is retreating, what will become of the polar bear? Will it survive and, if so, in what numbers? Learn how changes to the ecosystem are…
Episode 11 Seabirds of the Arctic and Antarctic
Discover the astonishing array of avian life - primarily consisting of seabirds - that live in, breed in, and migrate to the planet's polar regions, including the albatross, the skua,…
Episode 12 Marine Mammals, from Whales to Walruses
The waters of the Arctic and Antarctica teem with a remarkable number of marine mammals. Get an overview of the mammalian wildlife that inhabits or migrates to polar waters, including…
Episode 13 The Race for the South Pole
Meet some of the towering figures of Antarctica's "heroic era," explorers and scientists in the early 20th century who vastly expanded our knowledge of the southernmost continent. Learn what drove…
Episode 14 Geological Features of Antarctica
The ice in Antarctica may be more than a mile thick and millions of years old, but at times in its history the continent has been covered with jungles. Investigate…
Episode 15 Antarctica's Window on the Universe
Above Antarctica is a cap of stars and constellations hidden from view in the Northern Hemisphere and containing some of the most beautiful sights in the night sky. Survey the…
Episode 16 Diving under Polar Ice
How do humans get beneath the surface of Arctic ice or the Antarctic Ocean? Join marine conservationist Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, as she explains the technologies scientists use…
Episode 17 Resource Development in Polar Seas
Humans are extracting krill and other marine life at unprecedented levels. Burning fossil fuels is causing ocean acidification. What will happen if we change the temperature or chemistry of the…
Episode 18 South Georgia and Macquarie
Among the least inhabited places on Earth, the sub-Antarctic islands feature a spectacular array of wildlife despite a history of wanton exploitation beginning in the 18th century. Learn how seal,…
Episode 19 Living among the Penguins
Legendary Antarctic adventurer Apsley Cherry-Garrard said "all the world loves a penguin" and in this lecture, you'll understand why. Get acquainted with Adelie, emperor, and chinstrap penguins by exploring how…
Episode 20 Antarctica - A Continent for Science
Survey the discoveries made and hardships suffered during centuries of scientific exploration in Antarctica, including a research expedition that sought viable emperor penguin eggs in an attempt to unlock an…
Episode 21 Basics of Polar Photography
Picture being in the Arctic when a polar bear approaches your ship. What kind of camera should you use to capture the moment? What settings should you choose? Here, National…
Episode 22 Photographing Polar Landscapes
Photography is a blend of the creative and the technical and, in this lecture, you'll focus on the creative side of the equation. Learn how to use lighting, composition, and…

Related videos

This Mountain Life - A Journey Through the Coast Mountains of British Columbia
Martina and her 60-year-old mother embark on a 6-month ski trek through the treacherous Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Their adventure is interspersed with five beautifully crafted portraits of high-altitude human endurance and passion. Official Selection at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. "[An] astounding hymn to the natural…
The Irish Identity - Independence, History, and Literature
The Irish Renaissance--or Irish Revival--that occurred around the turn of the 20th century fused and elevated aesthetic and civic ambitions, fueling a cultural climate of masterful artistic creation and resolute political self-determination reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. Delve into this remarkable period with The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature.…
The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age
It is nearly impossible to overstate the power and importance of the crucial 500-year history of the Abbasid Empire. This is your opportunity to get to know the story and the accomplishments of this great period in human civilization. Taught by acclaimed lecturer Eamonn Gearon, these 24 remarkable lectures offer…
Sea Gypsies: The Far Side of the World - A Rogue Nautical Expedition from New Zealand to Antarctica
The vessel is Infinity, a 120 foot, hand-built gypsy sailboat, crewed by a band of miscreants. The journey: an 8,000 mile Pacific crossing, from New Zealand to Patagonia, with a stop in Antarctica. Unlike all the other boats heading to Antarctica, Infinity is no well-financed, ice-reinforced super yacht crewed by…
The Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe
Travel through time to the golden ages of 12 of Europe's most beautiful medieval cities. In 24 lessons that use extensive location footage, you'll discover the sights, sounds, and smells of teeming markets and mercantile centers, royal feasts and ritual, dramatic military engagements, magnificent religious pageantry, and the many colorful…
A History of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe has long been thought of as the "Other Europe," a marginalized region rife with political upheaval, shifting national borders, an astonishing variety of ethnic diversity, and relative isolation from the centers of power in the West. Yet in recent years, Eastern European nations have begun integrating with Western…
Turning Points in Middle Eastern History
Much media coverage, however, is incomplete at best, failing to take account of either the complexities or the historical background of this pivotal region. For most of us, the real story of the Middle East remains untold. What made this crucial geopolitical area what it is today? What forces and…
The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad
Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. Learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us…
The Celtic World
Discover the incredible story of the Celtic-speaking peoples, whose art, language, and culture once spread from Ireland to Austria. This series of 24 enlightening lectures explains the traditional historical view of who the Celts were, then contrasts it with brand-new evidence from DNA analysis and archaeology that totally changes our…
Understanding Imperial China - Dynasties, Life, and Culture
A knowledge of China's majestic empire is essential for any understanding of its present. Discover what daily life was like for government bureaucrats, scholars, women of the court, soldiers, merchants, craftspeople, emperors, concubines, poets, farmers, and many others - all set against the backdrop of the richness, the diversity, the…
Great Tours: Greece and Turkey - From Athens to Istanbul
Mycenae. Delphi. Ephesus. Sardis. To know the cities and sites of Greece and Turkey is to know your beginnings. Experience these countries through the eyes of an archaeologist as you walk through temples, shrines, fortresses, theaters, churches, and so much more. This course is a rich resource for travelers--and a…
A History of India
Over 5,000 years, India has been home to a rich tapestry of cultures, and the lands east of the Indus River have long been a hub for trade and cultural exchange. Today the subcontinent contains 20% of the world's population and is an economic powerhouse. Go inside this thrilling story…