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Monsters of the Milky Way • 2020 • episode "S8E8" How the Universe Works

Category: Astronomy

The center of the Milky Way is home to strange and deadly phenomena that we don't yet understand, but using the latest science, experts are revealing how the supermassive black hole our galaxy's core shapes life on Earth.

How the Universe Works • 2010 - 2020 • 39 episodes •

Volcanoes - The Furnaces Of Life

Scientists are discovering volcanoes on worlds we once thought dead. From our nearest planetary neighbour to tiny moons billions of miles away, today we are discovering volcanoes on alien worlds. Are these worlds where, tomorrow, we might find life? .

2012 • Creativity


The first episode of this series focuses on a subject that has fascinated scientists for hundreds of years - stars. Right now in the Universe's giant furnaces stars are being born. See how their creation changed the cosmos forever, leading to planets and life itself.

2010 • Astronomy

Black Holes

For many years Black Holes were believed to be myths, but modern astronomy is proving the reality of the most powerful destroyers in the Universe.

2010 • Astronomy


Witness the evolution of galaxies; from clouds of cold gas floating in the voids of space 13 billion years ago, to the magnificent spirals that fill our night.

2010 • Astronomy

Solar Systems

Explore the violent formation of our solar system, and look forward to its eventual death. And, what do other planetary systems around far-flung stars look like?

2010 • Astronomy


Are moons the most likely place to find life beyond the Earth? Explore the 300 that lie within our solar system which might give an idea of the Earth's turbulent past.

2010 • Astronomy


From giant burning gas spheres to icy orphaned worlds wandering in interstellar space, explore the strange planets that inhabit the vast spread of the universe.

2010 • Astronomy


Life is created in unimaginably large explosions called supernovas, scattering the elements formed in the heart of stars. What can they teach us about our origins?

2010 • Astronomy

Megastorms - The Winds of Creation

Tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, lightning and floods – for us these destructive forces are symptoms of Earth's creative energy. The weather on Earth is one of the drivers for life and even the most violent and destructive storms create new opportunities for life to flourish. In our quest to discover if we are alone in the universe, we have recently hit upon a surprising new approach — we shouldn't just look for worlds, we should look for weather. What is true of Earth could also be true of other planets throughout the whole universe. Across the immense distances of space, find chaotic weather — find that megastorm — and maybe we will find alien life.

2012 • Astronomy

Planets from Hell

We once thought that our solar system was unique: The only place you could find planets in the entire Universe. Now we know better. For the last twenty years we have been discovering planets at an amazing rate, but they are nothing like we expected. These are truly wild worlds, a collection of monsters. From deep-frozen, toxic snowballs, to scorched and boiling nightmares: Every one is worlds apart from the habitable paradise we know and love here on Earth. Having so far only discovered this zoo of planetary oddballs we must face the question: Is every planet out there a planet from hell?

2012 • Astronomy

Megaflares - Cosmic Firestorms

The Universe is a magnetic minefield, with cosmic bombs detonating everywhere. Our own Sun regularly spits out lethal and spectacular flares, capable of battering our power and communications systems here on Earth, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Far out in space, spinning star systems crackle and explode, magnetic monsters rip worlds apart, star-quakes shoot out beams of devastating energy, and galactic flamethrowers fire gamma-rays half way across the Universe. Scientists are only now beginning to comprehend the true variety of the Universe's arsenal. As we uncover the most dangerous megaflares in the cosmos, the question is, will we find Earth in the firing line?

2012 • Astronomy

Comets - Frozen Wanderers

We think of comets as beautiful glowing balls of light streaking across our skies with their long sweeping tails, yet comets are so much more than just a cosmic firework display. Comets have a uniquely important place in modern science. As time machines from the early universe, they could hold the key to unlock the secrets of the cosmos. Comets could even be the origin of life itself. We follow the incredible odyssey of a comet as it sails through the solar system, watching it's every move as it evolves from a dormant chunk of ice and rock into a tumbling, violently active nucleus engulfed in a gaseous haze. What we learn is a revelation; comets are even more mysterious and fascinating than we had ever imagined.

2012 • Astronomy

Asteroids - Worlds that Never Were

Asteroids have a bad reputation as deadly rocks from space. They wiped out the dinosaurs and will be back for us. But that's only half the story. Ancient asteroids built the Earth. And they may have brought life to its barren surface. Asteroids will shape our future as much as our past. They are the perfect location for deep space colonies and could be the stepping stones that eventually send humans out into the cosmos. From icy worlds with more fresh water than Earth to flying mountains of pure metal, a hundred miles wide, scientists are striving to unlock their secrets. Could these enigmatic space rocks hold the key to how life in the Universe arises and is extinguished?

2012 • Astronomy

Birth of the Earth

The Earth is an amazing place. It provides everything needed to sustain billions of creatures, plants and human civilization. We owe our very existence today to the planet's turbulent past. Our world was formed by a series of cataclysms, from the most powerful blast in the Universe to a planetary collision that could have destroyed it. Yet without these events, the Earth would not exist. Nor we. Could the same extraordinary chain of events have created other earth-like planets elsewhere in the Universe? Inhabited by creatures like us? The odds seem slim. But the incredible story of the birth of our world reveals that earths must be abundant. The question is no longer "are we alone" but "how far away are our neighbors?"

2012 • Astronomy

Uranus & Neptune Rise of the Ice Giants

Uranus and Neptune are mysterious, icy worlds at the edge of the solar system; new discoveries reveal that these strange planets may have helped start life on Earth.

2018 • Astronomy

Dark History of the Solar System

Our solar system hides a dark and violent past, and new discoveries reveal that the earth and planets were formed from the destruction of strange alien worlds that came before us.

2018 • Astronomy

Secret History of Mercury

Mercury is a deadly world, facing attacks from the sun, comets, and other planets, and even though it's the smallest planet in the solar system, it has a dangerous secret a dangerous secret that might one day threaten life on Earth.

2018 • Astronomy

Death of the Milky Way

The Milky Way is dying, and experts are investigating what's killing it.

2018 • Astronomy

The Quasar Enigma

Quasars are the brightest and most powerful objects in our universe, and though they have shaped the cosmos, they might ultimately destroy everything that exists.

2017 • Astronomy

Strange Lives of Dwarf Planets

Our solar system is home to hundreds of strange, tiny worlds called dwarf planets, and new discoveries reveal the secrets of these mysterious places.

2018 • Astronomy

Nightmares of Neutron Stars

Neutron stars are strange and violent phenomena that defy the laws of physics, and new discoveries reveal that these bizarre nightmares are far more deadly than previously believed, with the power to destroy planets and even other stars.

2019 • Astronomy

When Supernovas Strike

Supernovas are the violent death of giant stars, and new discoveries reveal that these cataclysmic events create the elements that are essential to all life in the universe.

2019 • Astronomy

The Interstellar Mysteries

Discoveries about interstellar space, the space between the universe's stars, reveal that it's not empty and unremarkable as previously thought, but filled with weird objects and strange phenomena that might hold the darkest secrets of the cosmos.

2019 • Astronomy

How the Black Holes Made Us

Black holes are not the violent monsters people think they are, and new discoveries reveal that they might have been essential to creating stars, giving light, and building the universe itself.

2019 • Astronomy

Secret World of Nebulas

Nebulas are the strange structures of cosmic gas and dust where stars are born and die, and new discoveries reveal the secrets of these mysterious places.

2019 • Astronomy

Did the Big Bang Really Happen?

New discoveries are causing astronomers to question if the Big Bang really happened, and using the latest science, they investigate if it wasn't just the start of our universe but many mysterious multiverses.

2019 • Astronomy

Battle of the Dark Universe

Dark matter and dark energy are locked in an epic battle for control of the cosmos, and the winner will determine the fate of the universe. New discoveries might reveal which force will emerge victorious.

2019 • Astronomy

Hunt for Alien Life

The latest discoveries suggest that we might be on the verge of discovering life beyond our planet, and scientists are investigating if earth's life began elsewhere in the universe, and whether we need to evolve to know for sure.

2019 • Astronomy

Finding the New Earth

New discoveries have revealed thousands of exoplanets beyond the solar system. Some resemble earth enough that one could be a new home for humanity. Even with cutting-edge technology, finding the perfect one is the scientific challenge of the age.

2019 • Astronomy

Cassini's Final Secrets

For twenty years, NASA's Cassini spacecraft revealed the strange secrets of Saturn until it vaporized in its atmosphere in a blaze of glory. But today its legacy lives on, as fresh data from the probe helps scientists make brand-new discoveries.

2019 • Astronomy

Asteroid Apocalypse: The New Threat

If a massive asteroid collides with earth, it could end life on our planet as we know it; new discoveries and cutting-edge tech reveal just how close we are to apocalypse and what it would take for the world's leading space agencies to stop it.

2020 • Astronomy

NASA's Journey to Mars

NASA is on a mission to send humans to Mars within just 15 years, but to reach this next frontier of space exploration, experts must discover new technology and cutting-edge science that protects astronauts from the Red Planet's deadliest killers.

2020 • Astronomy

Hunt for Alien Evidence

The discovery of extraterrestrial life might face an impossible challenge: the physics of the universe itself; but using cutting-edge tech, experts might be on the verge of a groundbreaking find -- and the evidence could already be in hand

2020 • Astronomy

Death of the Last Stars

Our universe's stars are dying off faster than new ones are born, and using the latest technology, experts investigate the secrets of the last stars of the cosmos and what this stellar apocalypse means for life on earth.

2020 • Astronomy

Secrets of Time Travel

A look at the concepts behind changing the way we travel through the space-time continuum, and how extreme speed and extreme gravity can change the rules of the game.

2020 • Astronomy

When NASA Met Jupiter

NASA's Juno spacecraft is part of a cutting-edge mission to explore the mysteries of Jupiter. As this mighty probe is pummeled with deadly radiation, it gathers new data that could change everything we know about the solar system's biggest planet.

2020 • Astronomy

Edge of the Universe

We don't yet know where the edge of the universe is or what happens there; but thanks to cutting-edge technology and new discoveries, experts might finally reveal the secrets of the phenomena that can be found in deepest reaches of the cosmos.

2020 • Astronomy

Monsters of the Milky Way

The center of the Milky Way is home to strange and deadly phenomena that we don't yet understand, but using the latest science, experts are revealing how the supermassive black hole our galaxy's core shapes life on Earth.

2020 • Astronomy

Earth's Death Orbit

Earth's journey through the universe is a perilous one, and new discoveries reveal that our planet is heading toward a mysterious area of the cosmos that could eject us out of the Milky Way and into oblivion.

2020 • Astronomy

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2018 • Astronomy

What Happens If We Bring the Sun to Earth?

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2018 • Astronomy