Understanding the Universe - An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition - Series 1 - Part 2

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Science Documentary hosted by Alex Filippenko, published by The Teaching Company in 2007 - English narration

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Image: Understanding-the-Universe-An-Introduction-to-Astronomy-2nd-Edition-Series-1-Part-2-Cover.jpg

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Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition is a nontechnical description of where that picture stands today. In 96 richly illustrated half-hour lectures, you will survey the main concepts, methods, and discoveries in astronomy - in-depth - from the constellations drawn by the ancients, to the latest reports from planetary probes in the Solar System, to the most recent images offered by telescopes probing the farthest frontiers of space and time. These lectures fully update Professor Alex Filippenko's 1998 edition of this course and his companion course from 2003. All of the material in this course is integrated so that one topic builds on another as you develop the conceptual tools that allow you to explore the Universe. For example, the study of the Solar System leads naturally to the investigation of planets around other stars and the possibility of life elsewhere in the cosmos. Likewise, rainbows and similar atmospheric phenomena introduce the subject of light, and light is the key to unraveling the mysteries of stars and galaxies. Dr. Filippenko uses thousands of diagrams and photographs. There are almost 300 short movies and computer animations that make astronomical phenomena easier to understand, and they put planets, stars, and galaxies into context as you zoom through the cosmos. A showman in the classroom, Dr. Filippenko delights in simple, easily reproducible demonstrations that use tennis balls, apples, paper plates, and other objects to explain scientific concepts. Furthermore, he has a gift for analogies: at one point, he makes the energy content of one erg vivid by comparing it to one fly doing one push-up! Altogether, this course is an unrivalled opportunity to experience a full-year introductory college course on astronomy, delivered by a five-time winner of "Best Professor" on campus at the University of California, Berkeley, who himself is a leading participant in some of the groundbreaking discoveries at the forefront of the field. Professor Filippenko is both a world-class teacher and researcher: In 2006 he was named one of four national Professors of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and in 1998 his international team of astronomers was credited with the top "science breakthrough of the year" for their amazing discovery that the expansion of the Universe is speeding up - a finding that is now shaking the foundations of physics. Observing the Heavens 21. The Colors of Stars The surface temperature of a star determines its apparent color. The hottest stars are bluish in color, and the coldest stars are reddish; stars at intermediate temperatures appear white. The Sun is a white star. 22. The Fingerprints of Atoms Electrons jumping between different energy levels in atoms emit and absorb photons in a characteristic way for each element. Thus, astronomers can use the light from distant objects to deduce their chemical compositions. 23. Modern Telescopes Today's telescopes are designed to provide huge light-gathering mirrors at relatively low cost. The mirrors focus light from distant objects onto sensitive electronic detectors that are far more efficient than traditional photographic film. 24. A Better Set of Eyes This lecture looks at radio telescopes, adaptive optics for ground-based infrared telescopes, and NASA's Great Observatories, which include the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope. 25. Our Sun, the Nearest Star Beginning a sequence of lectures on the Solar System, you start with the Sun, which you explore from the interior to the surface. Sunspots are cooler regions associated with strong magnetic fields, and violent eruptions blast solar material into space. 26. The Earth, Third Rock from the Sun Earth is one of the four innermost, or terrestrial, planets; the others are Mercury, Venus, and Mars. All are relatively small, rocky, and dense. This lecture examines Earth's structure, properties, and the forces that affect it. 27. Our Moon, Earth's Nearest Neighbor This lecture covers the wealth of knowledge about the Moon, a heavily cratered world with extensive lava-filled basins on the Earth-facing side and yet few such features on the far side—which is not perpetually dark. 28. Mercury and Venus Though broadly similar to Earth, Mercury and Venus differ in detail. Mercury has a negligible atmosphere and is heavily cratered. Venus has an incredibly thick atmosphere and suffers from an extreme greenhouse effect that makes it intensely hot. 29. Of Mars and Martians Recent missions to Mars provide evidence for an early water-rich era that may have fostered primitive life. Today, Mars is a cold, apparently lifeless world. Evidence for fossil life in a Martian meteorite remains controversial. 30. Jupiter and Its Amazing Moons Beyond Mars lie the four gas giants: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Jupiter is the Solar System's largest planet by far. Its moons include Io, which is volcanically active, and Europa, which may have an ocean of liquid water below its frozen surface. 31. Magnificent Saturn Best known for its extensive ring system, Saturn has come into focus recently thanks to the Cassini spacecraft, which landed a probe on Saturn's largest moon, Titan; and also discovered evidence of liquid water on the moon Enceladus. 32. Uranus and Neptune, the Small Giants Though less massive than Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are similar in that they consist mostly of hydrogen and helium. Both have bizarre magnetic fields that are highly tilted relative to the planet's rotation axis and offset from the planet's center.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Duration per episode: ~30mn
  • File size per part: 114 MB
  • Container: AVI
  • Width: ~496 pixels
  • Height: ~378 pixels
  • Display aspect ratio: 4:3
  • Overall bit rate: ~520 kbps
  • Frame rate: 29.970 fps
  • Audio Codec: MP3
  • Channel(s): 2 channels
  • Sampling rate: 48.0 KHz
  • Credit goes to: anonymous

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