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The Immortals

   2014    Science
This episode covers the nature of how life may have developed on Earth and the possibility of life on other planets. Tyson begins by explaining how the human development of writing systems enabled the transfer of information through generations, describing how Princess Enheduanna ca. 2280 BCE would be one of the first to sign her name to her works, and how Gilgamesh collected stories, including that of Utnapishtim documenting a great flood comparable to the story of Noah's Ark. Tyson explains how DNA similarly records information to propagate life, and postulates theories of how DNA originated on Earth, including evolution from a shallow tide pool, or from the ejecta of meteor collisions from other planets. In the latter case, Tyson explains how comparing the composition of the Nakhla meteorite in 1911 to results collected by the Viking program demonstrated that material from Mars could transit to Earth, and the ability of some microbes to survive the harsh conditions of space. With the motions of solar systems through the galaxy over billions of years, life could conceivably propagate from planet to planet in the same manner. Tyson then moves on to consider if life on other planets could exist. He explains how Project Diana performed in the 1960s showed that radio waves are able to travel in space, and that all of humanity's broadcast signals continue to radiate into space from our planet. Tyson notes that projects have since looked for similar signals potentially emanating from other solar systems. Tyson then explains that the development and lifespan of extraterrestrial civilizations must be considered for such detection to be realized. He notes that civilizations can be wiped out by cosmic events like supernovae, natural disasters such as the Toba disaster, or even self-destruct through war or other means, making probability estimates difficult. Tyson describes how elliptical galaxies, in which some of the oldest red dwarf stars exist, would offer the best chance of finding established civilizations. Tyson concludes that human intelligence properly applied should allow our species to avoid such disasters and enable us to migrate beyond the Earth before the Sun's eventual transformation into a red giant.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Unafraid of the Dark

   2014    Science
Tyson describes the discovery of cosmic rays by Victor Hess through high-altitude balloon trips. Swiss Astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in studying supernovae, postulated that these cosmic rays originated from these events instead of electromagnetic radiation. Also tells how Vera Rubin observed that the rotation of stars at the edges of observable galaxies did not follow expected rotational behavior leading to consider the existence of dark matter. This further led to the discovery of dark energy to account for the increasing rate of expansion of the universe. Tyson then describes the interstellar travel of the two Voyager probes. Tyson tells the Carl Sagan's role in the Voyager program, including creating the Voyager Golden Record to encapsulate humanity and Earth's position in the universe. Tyson concludes the series by emphasizing Sagan's message on the human condition in the vastness of the cosmos, and to encourage viewers to continue to explore and discover what else the universe has to offer.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

How the Solar System was Made

   2011    Science    3D
At 4.6 billion years old, the Solar System is our solid, secure home in the Universe. But how did it come to be? In this episode we trace the system's birth from a thin cloud of dust and gas. Shocked by a nearby supernova, the pull of gravity and natural rotation spun it into a flat disc from which the Sun and planets coalesced. It all happened in the space of 700 million years, during which the planets jockeyed for position, dodging the Late Heavy Bombardment of deadly asteroids and setting into the neat, stable system that we now realize might be a rarity in the universe.
Series: The Universe

Supernovas

   2008    Science
A stellar explosion, the supernova is the sensational death of a star. It can shine as bright as 100 billion Suns and radiate as much energy as the Sun would emit over 10 billion years. Jets of high-energy light and matter are propelled into space and can cause massive Gamma Ray Bursts and emit intense X-ray radiation for thousands of years. Astronomers believe that this process creates the very building blocks of planets, people and plants. Meet the world's leading Supernova hunters, and take a look at recorded supernovas throughout history.
Series: The Universe

Life and Death of a Star

   2007    Science
Ignited by the power of the atom, burning with light, heat and wrath, stars are anything but peaceful. They collide, devour each other, and explode in enormous supernovas--the biggest explosions in the Universe.
Series: The Universe

Stop Making Sense

   1984    Art
Over the course of three nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in December 1983, filmmaker Jonathan Demme joined creative forces with Jordan Cronenweth and Talking Heads... and miracles occurred. Following a staging concept by singer-guitarist David Byrne, this euphoric concert film transcends that all-too-limited genre to become the greatest film of its kind. A guaranteed cure for anyone's blues, it's a celebration of music that never grows old, fueled by the polyrhythmic pop-funk precision that was a Talking Heads trademark, and lit from within by the geeky supernova that is David Byrne.
This circus of musical pleasure defies the futility of reductive description; it begs to be experienced, felt in the heart, head, and bones, and held there the way we hold on to cherished memories. On those three nights in December 1983, Talking Heads gave love, life, and joy in generous amounts that years cannot erode, and Demme captured this act of creative goodwill on film with minimalist artistic perfection. Stop Making Sense is an invitation to pleasure that will never wear out its welcome.
Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet

2022  Science
The Lost Pirate Kingdom

The Lost Pirate Kingdom

2021  History
Living Universe

Living Universe

2018  Technology
Future of Work

Future of Work

2021  Technology
The Last Dance

The Last Dance

2020  Culture
The Truth About

The Truth About

2018  Medicine
The Story of God

The Story of God

2016  Culture
Life

Life

2009  Nature