Earth From Space
Part of the Series: NOVA

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Earthlike Planets
Begin your search for planets that may harbor life by studying the conditions that make Earth habitable, including its distance from the Sun, surface temperature, atmosphere, and oceans. Then examine strategies for finding earthlike planets and the progress to date.
Stars in Their Courses—Orbital Mechanics
Newton was the first to realize that objects could, in theory, be sent into orbit around Earth. Explore how this works in practice, using the ideas of energy and angular momentum to study how satellites, moons, planets, and stars move through space.
What Are Tides? Earth and Beyond
Trace the origin of tides to the simple fact that gravity varies from point to point in space. This leads not just to the rise and fall of the ocean, but to the gradual slowing of Earth's rotation, Saturn's spectacular ring system, volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, and many other…
Voyager: To the Final Frontier
This is the story of the most extraordinary journey in human exploration, the Voyager space mission. In 1977 two unmanned spacecraft were launched by Nasa, heading for distant worlds. It would be the first time any man-made object would ever visit the farthest planets of the solar system - Jupiter,…
Planets Circling Two Stars
See how data from the Kepler spacecraft confirms a scenario straight out of the movie Star Wars: a planet with two suns. Investigate the tricky orbital mechanics of these systems. A double star also complicates the heating and cooling cycle on a planet. However, the view is spectacular!
Living with a Giant Star
In billions of years, the Sun will expand into a red giant, possibly engulfing Earth. Learn how planet-finding techniques give astronomers insight into the processes inside giant stars. Then study the planets around these behemoths for clues about Earth's ultimate fate.
Part of the Series: The Planets
The Sun is boiling away frantically.Tongues of flame reach high above and crash back down onto the gaseous surface, and bubbles of solar matter erupt into space, rocking the planets as they sweep over them. Star tells the story of George Hale and how he discovered what was giving the…
Living with a Dwarf Star
The most common stars are class M dwarf stars, which are smaller and less luminous than the Sun (class G). Earth-sized planets are much easier to detect around M-dwarf stars, especially if the planets are within the relatively close-in habitable zone. Explore examples and the prospect for life on such…
Long-Term Future Planet-Finding Projects
Peer into the future at ambitious projects that may one day succeed in collecting light directly from an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a nearby star. Examine three different engineering approaches: the coronagraph, interferometer, and starshade.
The Crab Nebula: A Supernova's Aftermath
Episode 6 of Experiencing Hubble
Stars more than eight times as massive as the sun take a radically different path at the end of their lives, disintegrating in a colossal explosion known as a supernova. Hubble's image of the famous Crab Nebula shows the expanding cloud of material from a supernova that was witnessed on…
To the Moon
Part of the Series: Space Age
To the Moon investigates: to land a human being on another celestial body will be the first step to living beyond our planet. The breathless pace and daring of the Apollo program sees NASA master previously unimagined tasks in the attempt to achieve the most incredible acomplishment in the history…
The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know
As recently as 1990, it seemed plausible that the solar system was a unique phenomenon in our galaxy. Thanks to advances in technology and clever new uses of existing data, now we know that planetary systems and possibly even a new Earth can be found throughout galaxies near and far.…