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Super Telescope: Mission to the Edge of the Universe

   2022    Technology
As NASA releases the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, this film tells the inside story of the telescope's construction and the astronomers taking its first picture of distant stars and galaxies. Will it be the deepest image of our universe ever taken? The successor to Hubble, and 100 times more powerful, the James Webb is the most technically advanced telescope ever built. It will look further back in time than Hubble to an era around 200 million years after the Big Bang, when the first stars and galaxies appeared. Webb's primary mission is to capture the faint light from these objects on the edge of our visible universe so that scientists can learn how they formed, but its instruments are so sensitive it could also be the first telescope to detect signs of life on a distant planet.
The James Webb Telescope is an £8 billion gamble on the skills of its engineering team. It’s the first telescope designed to unfold in space – a complicated two-week operation in which 178 release devices must all work - 107 of them on the telescope's sun shield alone. If just one fails, the expensive telescope could become a giant piece of space junk.
From its conception in the late 1980s, the construction of Webb has posed a huge technical challenge. The team must build a mirror six times larger than Hubble’s and construct a vast sun shield the size of a tennis court, fold them up so they fit into an Ariane 5 rocket, then find a way to unfold them in space. This film tells the inside story of the James Webb Space Telescope in the words of the engineers who built it and the astronomers who will use it.

How did the Universe Begin

   2021    Science
Scientists on the BICEP and Planck missions are attempting to solve a mystery about the earliest moments of our universe, by searching for patterns in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). If successful, the missions will help to answer the biggest question anyone can ask: how did our universe begin?
Series: Secrets of the Universe

The Big Bang: Before the Dawn

   2021    Science
How did the universe come to be? Thanks to a series of discoveries, our most powerful space missions have unravelled 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution and revealed the story of our universe from its birth all the way to the arrival of our nascent civilization. Our guide on this odyssey back to the dawn of time is light. Telescopes are time machines - by looking out into the distant universe, they open a window to the past. One telescope more than any other has helped us journey through the history of the universe: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Remarkably, Hubble has even found one of the first galaxies ever to exist in the universe, which was born some 13.4 billion years ago. It's a discovery that hints at the beginnings of our own Milky Way. Vivid CGI brings this ancient galaxy to life, allowing us to witness for ourselves the first dawn. It was the beginning of a relationship between stars and planets that would, on a faraway world, lead to the origin of life - and ultimately to us.
Hubble’s incredible discoveries have allowed scientists to piece together much of our cosmic story, but it cannot take us back to the most important moment in history: the Big Bang. For decades, the moment the universe began was the subject of pure speculation, but by combining astronomy and cosmology, scientists have finally found a way to put their theories to the test and study the momentous events that took place during the Big Bang. They can do this because the European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope has seen the afterglow of the Big Bang itself – something we call the Cosmic Microwave Background. The unparalleled detail Planck gave us has helped confirm something remarkable: the Big Bang may not be the beginning. There was a time before the dawn – a place beyond anything we can comprehend. Professor Brian Cox transports us back to the fraction of a second before the Big Bang, when the seeds of our universe were planted.
Series: Universe

What is Gravity

   2021    Science
Brian takes a fresh look at the concept of gravity, revealing it to be far more than just the force that makes things fall to the ground.
In the last three years, we've made profound discoveries about the nature of gravity and the way it behaves, and how this relates to the origin of the universe and strange things like black holes. Our theory of gravity has become the attempt to understand the nature of space and time.
Series: Brian Cox Adventures in Space and Time

Curse of the White Holes

   2021    Science
The white hole is a region of spacetime and that cannot be entered from the outside, although energy-matter, light and information can escape from it. In this sense, it is the reverse of a black hole. Einstein predicted strange cosmic phenomena known as white holes, but scientists have yet to prove they exist.
Today, astronomers race to find the clues that can unlock the secrets of white holes. They investigate the tiny black holes that hide in the most ancient parts of the universe to finally find the smoking gun.
Series: Space Deepest Secrets Series 8

Space Great Wall

   2021    Science
Astronomers make an extraordinary discovery out in deep space when they uncover a cosmic mega-structure that's one billion light-years long. Now, investigators race to decode the hidden forces that shape the most massive and mysterious structure known in the Universe.
We dive into this space great wall's fiery birth and hunt for the weird cosmic glue that holds it together to reveal how this megastructure rewrites our understanding of the universe on an epic scale.
Series: Space Deepest Secrets Series 8
Cooked

Cooked

2016  Culture
100 Foot Wave

100 Foot Wave

2021  Culture
Earth from Space

Earth from Space

2019  Nature
The Climate Wars

The Climate Wars

  Nature
Conquest of the Skies

Conquest of the Skies

2015  Nature