Educational documentary course series detailing facts about stars, nebulae and galaxies and interstellar matter.

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Educational documentary course series detailing facts about stars, nebulae and galaxies and interstellar matter.

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College Tele-Course, Episode List
31 March 2008 | by (Fremont CA, United States) – See all my reviews

"Universe - the Infinite Frontier" won an Emmy and New York Festivals Finalist awards. It is a video telecourse comprised of 26 half-hour episodes (programs). There is also a 21-episode series adaptation available, "Universe: The Infinite Frontier Adaptation".

It is based on the college astronomy textbook, "Horizons", by Michael A. Seeds, Professor of Physics & Astronomy. Professor Seeds was also senior consultant for this video telecourse. "Horizons" had been the best-selling college astronomy textbook in the country several years.

The series was produced by the Coast Learning Systems division of Coastline Community College, an award-winning producer of instructional media since 1973. This 1994 course seems to be no longer available. And it seems to be superseded by their 2005 production of "Astronomy: Observations & Theories". As with all of their courses, it was developed under the supervision of a National Academic Advisory Team representing community colleges and universities from all over the United States.

These 28-minute episodes (lessons) are most often viewed on college-run public television stations. College credit for courses associated with this series can be earned through enrollment at those colleges.

Here is the list of 26 episodes with descriptions for "Universe - the Infinite Frontier":

1. "The Scale of the Cosmos" introduces the stars, galaxies, and planets with stunning computer animation and photographs from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

2. "The Sky" explores different cultures' views of celestial events and objects over the span of human history.

3. "Cycles of the Sky" explains the sidereal and synodic periods of the moon.

4. "The Origin of Modern Astronomy" examines the foundations of astronomy, and the work of Aristotle, Ptolemy, and other ancient Greek scientists and philosophers.

5. "Newton, Einstein, and Gravity" describes Newton's law of gravitation, three laws of motion, and traces the development of Einstein's theories.

6. "The Tools of Astronomy" presents an overview of the electromagnetic spectrum and the types of information provided by individual bands.

7. "Atoms and Starlight" traces the evolution of the scientific study of light and the identification of the basic types of spectra by Bunsen and Kirchhoff.

8. "The Sun" examines the unique tools utilized to study the sun. Solar astronomers and astrophysicists explain helioseismology.

9. "Stellar Properties" explains the basic technique of parallax and how it is used to measure distance.

10. "Stellar Formation" explains how stars form.

11. "The Lives of Stars" concentrates on the proton-proton chain of nuclear reactions. Computer animation shows how the hydrogen of a star is transformed into helium.

12. "The Deaths of Stars" outlines the events occurring in the eventual fate of a medium-mass star such as our sun, and discusses the significance of stars that have sudden deaths.

13. "Neutron Stars and Black Holes" explains and illustrates the discoveries and concepts of neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes.

14. "The Milky Way" examines the discovery and formation of the Milky Way.

15. "Galaxies" describes how spiral nebulae was first identified by Edwin P. Hubble and his assistant, Milton Humason, as galaxies located outside the Milky Way.

16. "Peculiar Galaxies" summarizes some of the unusual features of peculiar, or active galaxies, and the challenges they pose to those who study them.

17. "The Big Bang" examines the story of the birth and evolution of the universe, and describes current theories.

18. "The Fate of the Universe" (A companion to "The Big Bang") examines several major discoveries in cosmological research that fill gaps in our knowledge of the evolution of the universe.

19. "The Origin of the Solar System" examines the solar nebula theory, and summarizes the evolution of our solar system.

20. "Planet Earth" examines the solar nebula theory, and summarizes the evolution of our solar system.

21. "The Moon and Mercury" explores the two worlds, similar in outward appearance, but quite different inside

22. "Venus and Mars" provides close-up views of Earth's closest neighbors, Venus and Mars, through the use of computer-generated images.

23. "Jupiter and Saturn" describes features of the two planets and discusses similarities and differences between the atmospheres and interiors. It also includes images of Saturn taken on the Voyager missions.

24. "Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto" covers the three outermost planets. Astronomers describe the composition and various theories of each planet's origin in depth.

25. "Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets" concludes the exploration of the solar system with an examination of solar system debris. Astronomers explain the composition of meteorites, asteroids, and comets and various theories about their origin.

26. "Life on Other Worlds" explores one of humankind's oldest questions: Are we alone in the universe?


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