Meteor Showers, Comets, Eclipses, and More

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Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter
Episode 2 of Experiencing Hubble
Shortly after its optics were repaired, Hubble had the opportunity to observe the solar system event of the century: the collision of a string of comets with Jupiter in 1994. Examine Hubble's stunning image of the aftermath of this crash.
Comet Encounter
PBS
Comets have fascinated, even terrified us for thousands of years. This year, a particularly massive chunk of ice and rock is hurtling our way, an object that will fascinate billions and should create the space show of the century. Right now Comet Ison, somewhere between 1 and 10 kilometers in…
Comet – Visitors from Space
Comets have been causing fear in the minds of humans for millennia. Now spacecraft are helping us to understand what they are made of and how they behave. The time it takes for a comet to make one complete orbit around another object is known as the orbital period. The…
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.…
Chasing Shadows - A Photographer Captures Solar Eclipses Around the World
For most people, total solar eclipses are once in a lifetime occurrences. Not for Geoff Sims, a professional photographer and astronomer who has captured many eclipses on many continents. He has travelled the globe in pursuit of solar eclipses, resulting in a stunning portfolio of unique images. This stunning doc…
Gravitomagnetism and Gravitational Waves
The general theory of relativity predicts new phenomena of gravity analogous to those of electromagnetism. Discover how ultra-sensitive experiments have detected the gravitomagnetism of the Earth, and follow the search for elusive gravitational waves that travel through space.
Inexplicable Space
Shoot off into the stars for an investigation of some perplexing aspects of space that science has uncovered in the last half-century. Learn about the mysterious trajectory of the Pioneer spacecraft (known as the "Pioneer anomaly"). Explore two of the longest-standing problems in modern astrophysics: dark matter and dark energy.…
Resonance—Surprises in the Intricate Dance
Resonance happens whenever a small periodic force produces a large effect on a periodic motion--for example, when you push a child on a swing. Learn how resonance due to gravitational interactions between three bodies can lead to amazing phenomena with planets, asteroids, and rings of planets.
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…
From Forces to Fields
For the rest of the course, focus on the revolutionary view of gravitation launched by Albert Einstein. Review new ideas about fields that allowed physics to extend beyond Newtonian mechanics. Then see how Einstein modified Newton's laws and created the special theory of relativity.
Coming Soon: Biosignatures, Moons, and More!
Explore the distinctive biosignatures that show the presence of life of any kind on an exoplanet. Then close with Professor Winn's tip sheet on exoplanetary discoveries likely in the near future--from evidence of moons to planets being destroyed by giant stars.
Finding Planets with Direct Imaging
Turn to the most obvious way to find exoplanets: direct imaging. Explore the optics of telescopes to learn why spotting an exoplanet next to its parent star is so difficult. Then see how this limitation has been overcome in a handful of cases.