Who would have predicted that a hot spot left over from the Big Bang would eventually lead to the earth, the cosmos – and to us? Origins is presented by astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and one of the worlds’ most popular lecturers on astronomy.
Back to the Beginning turns back the clock to the beginning of time to understand how a universe conducive to life materialised from the cataclysm know as the Big Bang.
For centuries most astronomers assumed that the universe was eternal. Then, just forty years ago, two researchers stumbled on the cosmic echo of the Big Bang, the event that started it all. Scientists are still gleaning data from this all-pervasive microwave “whisper” from deep space. Back to the Beginning focuses on two teams racing to measure the echo in order to discern what actually happened during the Big Bang and how it was that the first stars, galaxies, and ultimately the universe we inhabit now, came to be.
Where are the Aliens? explores the latest news in the search for extraterrestrial life and examines where rudimentary life might be hiding out in our solar system.
Though scientists have been scanning the skies for radio traffic from extraterrestrial beings they have not yet found any signals. That’s not to say there aren’t alien civilisations or that simpler life forms such as bacteria don’t exist beyond earth. But so far, nothing has turned up. And Tyson catches up with one of astronomy’s most exciting recent breakthroughs: the discovery of the first planets to be found outside our solar system and the development of an ingenious technique for deciding whether or not they might be suitable for life.
“The history of exploration of our own world and the universe beyond has been full of surprises” says Tyson. “There is nothing special about our sun; there doesn’t seem to be anything magical about our solar system or our planet. And the chemicals of life are abundant in the universe. “Are we alone?” he asks. “Are we rare? Are we common? We still don’t know. But we will”.