Wonders of the Solar System [Blu-ray]
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As it was written in 2009, it takes into account all the probes that we have sent into the Solar System (over the last 30+ years). What was of particular interest, to me, is all the moons in the Solar System, all 145+ of them, Saturn alone has 61 moons. Titan has liquid methane lakes instead of water and it has an atmosphere, Enceladus has geyser like events. With Jupiter's 63 moons, IO has active volcanoes, and Europa is an Ice moon with some evidence of water below the surface. With Mars there is evidence of water and an atmosphere in the distant past, and there is methane on Mars now. He goes into some detail about Saturn's rings, which was fascinating, to me as a physicist. The only problem I have is it is only 5 episodes and I wanted more, the next series will be on Wonders of the Universe. It is fascinating stuff. The SFX were good too.
The series is a good example of the Anthropic principle, Cox calls it the Goldilocks principle, "everything was just right" to produce life (on Earth).Read more ›
Professor Cox injects a measure of genuine excitement into this series that is seldom seen. He is truly marveled at all these wonders as he explains them, and it is extremely contagious. The topics feel close at hand, and it does a great job transporting you to these places that are 'just around the corner'. Not having to deal with the great distances and unknowns of the universe, but instead focusing on our solar system, the series goes into great detail about our cosmic neighborhood. You will have gained knowledge as never before by the time you're done.
I can't wait for the bluray release to experience this in the best quality possible with my family. Needless to say, i am now a fan of professor Cox' work and can't wait for his follow-up (which is already being filmed!!).
My only complaint is that 5 episodes is not nearly enough, I could have watched another 20!
Wonders of the Solar System (or Universe) serves as an introductory course. The series does a great job of explaining concepts but tends not to go into great detail regarding the math/physics behind the concepts. This is great for introducing newcomers not just to astronomy or physics, but to science and the importance of it in our understanding of life/existence, etc.
Advantages over How the Universe Works:
1) The location shots can be pretty interesting
2) Brian Cox (assuming you like his style, delivery, etc)
3) The series offers a bit more human personality then How the Universe Works
4) Avoids going into great (sometimes boring) detail into the concepts
5) Features more real life images, as opposed to CGI models (which are fantastic when done in both series)
Reasons to consider How the Universe Works:
1) HTUW goes into far greater detail
2) HTUW features numerous big names in astronomy/physics. In addition to the narrator, these people share in explaining the concepts
3) Fantastic special effects which do justice to the events they are recreating
If you're a fan of astronomy/science, then I'd recommend picking up both series as they work well together and do not overlap much. For example, HTUW goes into great detail regarding the Big Bang, while this is not touched on in Wonders of the Solar System (for obvious reasons). Although, now that I think of it, it might be just as well having Wonder of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe instead of WOTSS + HTUW as I do. But you cant go wrong with any of them.
Professor Brian Cox is an excellent presenter. As many have said before me, he puts everything in language that's easy to understand, without being the least bit condescending. He's genuinely, contagiously excited about the material he's presenting, almost always with a nearly childlike grin plastered onto his face. On top of this, he's charismatic, and often quite funny. This makes the program feel less like a classroom than it does a journey of discovery.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the third disk contains Prof. Cox's two HORIZON specials, "What on Earth is Wrong With Gravity?" and "Do You Know What Time It Is?" Though there are no other special features on the disks (No behind-the scenes or deleted footage to be found), these specials bring the amount of material on the disks to about 7 hours. I'm definitely not complaining, as this is quite a bit of footage for the price. (Edit: I had miscalculated, originally.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the first disc skipped in a couple of places - although it looked perfectly clean and without scratches.Published 5 months ago by tapehead/2
Tedious and not what I expected. This is perhaps more geared to a much younger audience.Published 12 months ago by William E. Ives
After the gravitas and utter professional presentations of David Attenborough in previous BBC Earth documentaries, the adolescent-like and goofy Brian Cox is a tremendous letdown. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Ingles
I've seen a lot of the reviews of Brian Cox, saying he is so 'excellent'. I'm not sure what the fuss is about. For me, he's BORING!! Read morePublished 13 months ago by CRiley65