Our Night Sky Series

The Great Courses
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12 episodes in this series

Episode 1 The Constellations and Their Stars
Begin your study of the night sky by investigating the origin of the constellations: the traditional groupings of stars that mostly date to antiquity. The well-known constellation Orion illustrates the…
Episode 2 Seeing and Navigating the Sky
The naked eye is a powerful instrument: if you know how to use it. Learn the best times and conditions for observing, how to identify the positions and magnitudes of…
Episode 3 Using Binoculars and Backyard Telescopes
There are many choices when selecting binoculars or a telescope. Learn what to look for in light-gathering power, optical design, magnification, mounts, and other features. Professor Murphy also suggests several…
Episode 4 Observing the Moon and the Sun
Charting the motions and changes of the sun and moon may be humankind's oldest astronomical activity. Discover how both objects offer rich opportunities for study. Also learn the precautions to…
Episode 5 Observing the Planets with a Telescope
The rings of Saturn, the bands of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, the polar caps of Mars: these and other planetary features are visible through a small telescope. Learn when…
Episode 6 Meteor Showers, Comets, Eclipses, and More
Explore a variety of special phenomena that are among the wonders of the sky. Some, like bright meteors, aurora, and many comets, are largely unpredictable. Others, like eclipses and annual…
Episode 7 The Northern Sky and the North Celestial Pole
Embarking on the second half of the course in which you systematically tour the entire sky, study two constellations that are continuously in view from the Northern Hemisphere: Ursa Major…
Episode 8 The Fall Sky
Navigate your way around the autumn sky from the Northern Hemisphere, discovering how the classical myth of Andromeda ties together the stories of the nearby constellations of Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus,…
Episode 9 The Winter Sky
Continuing your focus on the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, survey the magnificent winter sky, dominated by Orion. Star hop around the region, which includes a wealth of interesting stars,…
Episode 10 The Spring Sky
The spring sky opens the view into intergalactic space perpendicular to the plane of the Milky Way. Among the objects visible are the immensely rich galaxy clusters in Virgo and…
Episode 11 The Summer Sky
Arching high overhead in the summer sky is the Milky Way, which is the plane of our galaxy seen from the inside. Tour this densely packed region of stars of…
Episode 12 The Southern Sky and the Milky Way
In this final episode, travel to the Southern Hemisphere for sky views inaccessible from northern latitudes. Discover the famous Southern Cross, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and a spectacular…

Related videos

The Southern Sky and the Milky Way
Episode 12 of Our Night Sky Series
In this final episode, travel to the Southern Hemisphere for sky views inaccessible from northern latitudes. Discover the famous Southern Cross, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and a spectacular panorama of the Milky Way: along with new myths and stories that add a human dimension to our marvelous night…
The Constellations and Their Stars
Episode 1 of Our Night Sky Series
Begin your study of the night sky by investigating the origin of the constellations: the traditional groupings of stars that mostly date to antiquity. The well-known constellation Orion illustrates the fascinating mix of beauty, mythology, and scientific knowledge to be found wherever you look in the heavens.
Seeing and Navigating the Sky
Episode 2 of Our Night Sky Series
The naked eye is a powerful instrument: if you know how to use it. Learn the best times and conditions for observing, how to identify the positions and magnitudes of stars and planets, how the sky changes over the course of a night, how to use astronomical maps such as…
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…
The Fall Sky
Episode 8 of Our Night Sky Series
Navigate your way around the autumn sky from the Northern Hemisphere, discovering how the classical myth of Andromeda ties together the stories of the nearby constellations of Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Pegasus, and Cetus. The sights include the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest large galaxy to our own.
The Summer Sky
Episode 11 of Our Night Sky Series
Arching high overhead in the summer sky is the Milky Way, which is the plane of our galaxy seen from the inside. Tour this densely packed region of stars of all types, from dusty regions of star birth to the exquisite shells of dying stars. Here, a useful orienting feature…
The Northern Sky and the North Celestial Pole
Episode 7 of Our Night Sky Series
Embarking on the second half of the course in which you systematically tour the entire sky, study two constellations that are continuously in view from the Northern Hemisphere: Ursa Major and Cassiopeia. Also explore the slowly shifting position of true north in the sky.
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.…
The Winter Sky
Episode 9 of Our Night Sky Series
Continuing your focus on the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, survey the magnificent winter sky, dominated by Orion. Star hop around the region, which includes a wealth of interesting stars, globular clusters, nebulae, and other features, especially the Orion Nebula: the finest nebula in the northern sky: and the Pleiades…
Experiencing Hubble - Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe Course
For more than 20 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been amassing discoveries that rival those of history's greatest scientists and explorers, making it the most important scientific instrument ever built. This program is a visual feast of images taken by Hubble. Go on a dazzling voyage of discovery that…
Which Universe Is Ours?
Investigate what Einstein called his "greatest mistake"--his rejection of his own theory's prediction that spacetime should be dynamic and evolving. Chart the work of a group of scientists, including Alexander Friedman, Georges Lemaitre, and Edwin Hubble, who advanced the realization that our universe is expanding from an apparent big bang.
Warbirds Over the Trenches
This is the story of the beginning of war in the sky! Discover the legendary aircrafts and thrilling aerial battles that marked many historic achievements and advances for pilots, engineers and our military. Through captivating final interviews with some of the men who flew in the Great War, incredible archival…