Closer to home, THE UNIVERSE COLLECTOR S EDITION delves into how our own Earth developed from an inferno of molten rock to the beautiful orb that sustains us today. Experience firsthand the cataclysmic events that set the stage for life, and visit sites where Earth s birthing process is still in evidence. Relive astronomical triumphs, from the first crude lenses that were able to magnify celestial bodies to probes that blaze to the most distant planets. It s a journey of cosmic discovery, amazement, and adventure like nothing on earth.
Join HISTORYTM on a stunning exploration of Earth, our solar system, and far-away galaxies on 14 DVDs.
The Universe: The Complete Season One
The Universe: The Complete Season Two
How the Earth Was Made
DVD Features: Bonus Documentary, Beyond The Big Bang; Featurette: Backyard Astronomer; Web Links to Space Camp Sites; Schedule of Past, Present and Future Eclipses; Bonus Documentary Inside the Volcano; Additional Footage
The sky and outer space have fascinated man for centuries and the History Channel's series The Universe is the story of man's study of the cosmos from his earliest attempts to map and understand the heavens through modern day scientific studies, advances, and theories. A mix of historical footage, modern space imaging, and conceptual computer graphics presented in high-definition, the visual component of this production is absolutely breathtaking. Each of the 13 44-minute episodes begins with a general introduction of subjects ranging from the sun to individual planets, alien galaxies, the search for extra-terrestrial life, and scientific theories like the Big Bang. Each topic is then broken down into a series of segments that detail specific ideas, theories, or components integral to the understanding of the main topic as well as historical material, current studies and theories, and projections of potential future events and scientific advances. The 90-minute "Beyond the Big Bang" feature relates "the story of everything"--from the universe's formation following the "Big Bang" to its eventual projected demise from unchecked expansion dubbed the "Big Rip." Leading experts from universities and scientific institutions around the world do a great job of taking very complex subjects like galaxies with spiral density arms and relating them to easily graspable concepts like a city with a downtown core surrounded by suburbs and plagued by freeway traffic jams. Amazing photographs from the Hubble space telescope, infrared views from the Spitzer space telescope, and x-ray images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory augment understanding as do demonstrations of modern science's ability to simulate historical events like the formation of earth and to project future cosmic events. The Universe is a fascinating and understandable study of space that speaks to viewers ranging from the generally curious to the serious student of cosmology. --Tami Horiuchi
Review for The Universe: Season Two:
With the DVD release (on five discs) of this, the complete second season of The Universe, the History Channel has now devoted a combined total of more than 25 hours, not including bonus material, to its documentary study of that combination of time, space, and matter that we call our universe. That’s a lot. But then you consider the mind-boggling age and size of the universe itself: 13.7 billion years old, and big beyond our comprehension; infinite, in fact, and expanding rapidly. By those measures, it’s apparent that this fascinating series could probably air for longer than The Simpsons and Gunsmoke (the two longest running shows in TV history) put together and still not run out of things to talk about. The 18 episodes from Season Two cover an appropriately wide range of topics, from "Cosmic Holes" to "Cosmic Collisions," from supernovas to gravity. There are episodes about the weather in space, the largest objects in space (hint: they’re really, really big, like the so-called "cosmic web" of galaxies, which is a hundred million billion times bigger than Earth), and traveling to and colonizing space. The amount of information and data provided is enormous. Jargon abounds, including terms like "lunar transient phenomena," "pulsar planets," "hot Jupiters," "dark matter" and "dark energy," "collisional families," the "heavy bombardment period," and many, many more. And the numbers are mind-boggling: for instance, it’s estimated that the impact of the asteroid that landed on the Yucatan Peninsula some 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs, was equal to that of dropping a Hiroshima-sized atomic bomb every second for 140 years! Still, some may find the episodes that involve informed speculation more interesting than those that deal in facts. We know that the Moon affects ocean tides, but does it also have an effect on human behavior? If the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe, what came before it? Instead of using rockets to go to space, can scientists actually build a "space elevator" that will reach from an orbiting satellite some 60 thousand miles down to Earth? All of this is delivered by way of very convincing computer-generated imagery and other effects, along with dozens of interviews with astronomers and other experts, photos, film footage, and so on. Best of all, while it can get a bit dense, technically speaking, by and large The Universe will be readily accessible to most viewers. --Sam Graham How the Earth was Made: There's a lot of information in How the Earth Was Made, but perhaps the most interesting relates to time. Quite often, the numbers are so staggering that scientists refer to it as "deep time," an appropriate term when one grapples with the notion that our planet is 4.5 billion years old, or that the oceans were formed by rainfall that lasted literally millions of years, or that 700 million years ago, Earth was completely covered by ice that was a mile thick, with surface temperatures reaching minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other end of the scale are numbers that seem surprisingly small: for instance, it wasn't until 220 years ago that the accepted church doctrine regarding the planet's age (no more than 6000 years, according to the Bible) was seriously challenged and that the key to its past was found in rocks, not scripture, while the discovery that dinosaurs once ruled the Earth came considerably later than that. Using a combination of computer graphics and animation, various drawings and diagrams, photos, location footage, and expert commentary, this fascinating, 94-minute History Channel production takes us from the very beginning, when the planet was formed by meteors colliding in space, through numerous major events (including the appearance of water, granite, and oxygen) and mind-boggling catastrophes (such as mass extinctions caused by volcanic eruptions or the enormous meteor that wiped out 75% of all living things, including the dinosaurs, some 65 million years ago), right up to the present; there's even a glimpse into the future, when Earth will likely end up as barren and lifeless as Mars (no need to hit the panic button yet, though--a few billion more years will pass before that happens). Bonus features include additional scenes and a documentary entitled "Inside the Volcano." --Sam Graham
Review for The Planets:
Where did it all begin? How did the universe give birth to the sun and its family of planets that form our solar system? How is a bubbling atomic reactor in space the source of warmth and light for life as we know it? Why will Mars be the first planet we colonize? What is the long-term fate of the planets in our solar system? Are we alone? The Planets is an entertaining, comprehensive, and informative A&E documentary series that sets out to answer many of life's most physically existential questions. This series combines scientific history of early scientists, rich knowledge from the leading minds in modern astronomy, and extraordinary image technology to tell the story of our solar system, from its beginnings to the present and beyond. The topics of the eight-volumes are: "Different Worlds," "Terra Firma," "Giants," Moon," "Star," "Atmosphere," "Life Beyond the Sun," and "Destiny." From the sweltering rocky surface of Mercury to the violent stormy skies of Jupiter to the cold, mysterious land of Pluto, The Planets is a fascinating exploration of discovery and adventure for anyone who has looked up into space on a starry night in total amazement. --Rob Bracco