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Nova: Telescope - Hunting the Edge of Space


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Nova: Telescope - Hunting the Edge of Space + The Journey to Palomar + 400 Years of the Telescope
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Editorial Reviews

NOVA celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope with a comprhensive look at how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe. Hunting the Edge of Space takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery, dramatizing the innovations in technology and the achievements in science that have marked the rich history of the telescope. Then NOVA turns its attention to a new generation of ever-larger telescopes, poised to reveal answers to longstanding questions about our universe and, in turn, to raise new questions.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: n, a
  • Directors: n, a
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003QWVPGW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Womboldt on October 11, 2010
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I learned more in the four separate hours of this DVD than I have from many shows. It really Blew My Mind
I was astonished at the number of stars and the actualy distances that are somehow made fathomable by this intelligent History of Telescopes. Every on should see this to really understand our place in this Universe.
I have watched it four times already and plan for many more veiwings with family and friends. This is really great to loan. Fantastic easy to understand Science at its most amazing.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Turiya on June 24, 2010
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I caught this on TV on PBS and LOVED it, been waiting for it to be released on DVD, amazing images and info and excellent narration. Takes you on the amazing journey of early astronomers discovering planets and the solar system to the present day Hubble discoveries. Its amazing to realize that before telescopes, we had no idea about space, and watching the timelines of these discoveries is exciting. I highly recommend this DVD, you will get lost in it and find your mind expanding.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By genesrus on April 6, 2011
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A remarkable DVD that I highly recommend - technically of very good quality and the science is inspiring ($15 very well spent). Contact is probably my favorite movie of all time - definitely in the top 5 of all time. Here is the science behind much of it and the stories of the giants of optics and astronomy that made understanding the physical universe possible - Inspiring stories of great scientists of a bygone time and the present. The DVD has on it two separate programs - The Mystery of the Milky Way & The Ever Expanding Universe. Both lend themselves to viewing on a hi-def system - they upres perfectly with the images being remarkably crisp - again all round well produced DVDs. I would love to see this on Blue Ray b/c the vistas of space and the iconic images from Hubble will be superlatively perfect.

The Mystery of the Milky Way - Tracks developments in astronomy - from the lenses, Galileo - changing the world of Science and Religion to Cassinni - the rings of Saturn . The rudimentary tools and the first principles that were used to develop profound truths that seem so obvious today are shown and explained. The arrival of Sir Isaac Newton and his insight into the physics of optics is part of the pantheon of pioneers and their work is explained in a very engaging manner. The Ever Expanding Universe is a continuation of the first part but with the newer telescopes. Heard of the Hubble telescope? Ever wonder who it is named after? These are our heroes - of the 20th century - despite what the media may have you believe. It is somewhat sad that this documentary that encapsulates and chronicles great science and even greater people, is inspiring, yet gets only two reviews in two years while the Disney movie Tangled gets 192 reviews a week after being released.
I will end this sermon by saying -. NASA/ JPL - MY HEROES - I love you!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bob G on July 10, 2011
There's much to this DVD to appreciate as it interweaves the story of the Telescope with the development of astronomy: the simulation of Galileo's first sighting of Jupiter's moons, the discovery by Newton of white light and spectral colors, the concept of a standard candle, Edwin Hubble, spectroscopy, redshifts & the discovery of galactic distances and expansion of the universe, etc. through to dark matter & dark energy. The dramatizations of Galileo and Herschel are good but left me wanting more detail, especially for Herschel.

Some major omissions include achromatic refractors, Cassegrain reflectors, telescope mountings and the 200 inch Hale telescope. The trade-off for the latter is the great, in-depth treatment of the reasons for building an observatory on Mt Wilson and the work done there. The segments on current large telescopes don't touch the transition from equatorial to Alt-Az mounts and the tight integration of telescope and observatory building since the 1970s. The part of the DVD between the 10 and 20 minute marks has a frantic pace -- launching from Galileo's 1609-10 discoveries to current solar system probes, diving into Mars terrain, a quick jump back to the 1600s for Cassini himself then out to Saturn for the Cassini mission. Here and elsewhere in the DVD the visuals are overdone for my taste: too many rocket launches, time-lapse shots of telescopes moving at unnatural speeds and 3D or video enhanced nebulae.

Still, the accuracy and interest level is very high. Contemporary astronomers are clear, on-point and not given to rhetorical flourishes. The DVD covers a lot of territory in 1 3/4 hours. The gaps can be filled in with a good book such as Fred Watson's Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope and the DVD Journey to Palomar.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angela Magnano on April 29, 2011
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Loved this DVD....I could watch this over and over again....the photes from the hubble telescope are breathtaking....wish it were longer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Geeky Teacher Parent on June 16, 2014
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This is a wonderful documentary by PBS which goes through the history of science's exploration into the universe using the telescope. I've shown it to 5th grade classes and they learn a great deal from it while enjoying it at the same time. This documentary gives some of the essential "how we know" information that is usually lacking from science textbooks. It is important that students not just memorize a bunch of science facts, but that they also understand how it is that we know these facts are true. This documentary accomplishes that goal with style.

The documentary is divided into two parts covering the earlier years of telescope usage and then the modern time period. Students will learn how Galileo, Newton, Herschel, Hubble and others improved and improved telescope technology and usage in order to peer ever further into the universe. They will learn how the big bang, dark matter, and dark energy were discovered and how we can tell how far away stars are and which way they are moving.

As usual, NOVA has real present day scientists explaining many of the concepts in the movies. It is important that students become familiar with the names and faces of modern scientists. They usually know tons of actors and pop stars and then only a couple scientists when they come to my class. These always being Galileo, Newton, and Einstein (all dead and gone). When they leave my class they know scores of modern scientists and what they do. One way I accomplish that is through quality documentaries, such as this one by NOVA.
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