Monday, March 10, 2014

NatGeo and Fox kick start Neil deGrasse Tyson's remake of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" with "Standing Up in the Milky Way"

On Sunday night, the National Geographic Channel premiered its new series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” with an pilot episode entitled “Standing Up in the Milky Way”.
The episode also premiered on Fox.
NatGeo prepared the day by airing many episodes from Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” filmed back in the 1990s.  On a high definition channel, the aspect of the older series was narrow, at 4:3.  It has that wonderful slow movement theme from an unspecified late 19th Century piano concerto (is it Eugen d’Albert’s sprawling B Minor concerto, composed in his teenage years?) 
Then Natgeo re-aired “Journey to the Edge of the Universe” with its images of Titan and the atmosphere of Jupiter and many other places.  (It’s on my Movie Reviews blog Dec. 8, 2008). 
The new series, introduced briefly by President Obama, with Columbia University professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, starts by summarizing the previous series, taking us on a snapshot of the journey, and then lays out a timeline.  If the Big Bang happened at midnight on Jan. 1, then all of known human history occurred in the last fourteen seconds on Dec. 31.  In fact, life first appeared on Earth on Aug. 31. 
Tyson explains how in earlier eras the political and religious establishments tried to control who could have knowledge.  He talks about the inquisitions and the church heresy trials and executions in the middle ages.  Even some of the ancient Greeks thought that the insights into mathematics should be kept from common people. 
The link for the NatGeo site for the series is here.

It’s going to get interesting when he takes a detailed look at other planets, especially extrasolar planets, and then looks at what happens to black holes (they can possibly be portals to creating multiverses – which he says our universe could live inside of).  Dark energy and dark matter could be the “cost” of creating space-time.
At the end, Typson explains how the late Carl Sagan inspired him to become a scientist as he grew up in New York City.  Sagan grew up in Brooklyn.   If you can do science, you don’t have to become a huckster.  You can be better than that. 

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