This lecture series is interesting and fun. As a non-astronomer, with close to zero knowledge about stars and planets beyond our own solar system, I w..Show More »as curious to find out what could possibly be known about unimaginably distant planets, when the only data we have to inform us are tiny dots of light in the night sky. And those tiny dots of light aren’t even planets, they are stars, so how the heck can we know if these stars even have planets orbiting them, when these can't be seen by the most powerful telescopes.
But, quite a lot is known, or rather, has been deduced, by a bunch of extremely clever space geeks who have analysed the light emanating from distant stars and noticed that this light changes ever-so-slightly whenever a planet crosses in front of a star. This event, called a ‘transit’, is relatively rare, because the planet has to be positioned exactly between us and the star for this to occur. So it is roughly as rare as an eclipse would be in our solar system. But, fortunately for us, there are billions of stars out there - and so even a relatively rare event will occur enough times to supply the astronomers with lots of information about the size, orbit periods (‘years’) and composition of these planets.
So there’s lots of good stuff in this lecture series, narrated in an excellent and interesting style, and, unlike other lecture series I’ve listened to, this one is right up to date - recorded in 2015.
I learnt that the majority of solar systems in the universe have two or more suns orbiting around each other, rather than just the one as in our solar system. How come we can’t see these twin or triplet stars? Because, from a great distance they appear as just one blob of light.
And I also learnt that stars are classified by their luminosity according to this sequence of letters: o,b,f,g,k,m,l,t and y, in descending order of brightness where 'o' is the brightest and 'y' is the faintest (our sun is a 'g' star). This sequence is easily committed to memory using the mnemonic 'Old Bald Fat Guys Kiss More Ladies Than You'. This proves two things: Firstly, that space geeks have a sense of humour, and secondly, that the first sentence of my review is true.
This is a short course on the Universe by Neil de Grasse Tyson which I enjoyed but in some ways it wasn't as good as his television show on the same s..Show More »ubjects. Listening isn't as fun as seeing and hearing!
The 6 classes are as follows: 1.History's Mysteries This class talks about some things that were mysteries but can be explained now with our current knowledge. Examples are the course of Mercury and the mysteries "ether" that scientists believed the Universe was made of.
2.The Spooky Universe This class gives you examples of weird things that are ongoing within the Universe. The fact that in 1897 electrons were "discovered" but no one has still ever seen one. We learn about particle physics and thermonuclear fusion.
3. Inexplicable Life This course was one of the best to me. Professor Tyson talks about how life began, and why aren't there different ways life evolved on the earth. Would it be possible life evolved on Mars and then came to Earth? He also talks about how arrogant humans are in searching for intelligent life in the Universe.
4. Inexplicable Physics I never took Physics in High School so a lot of this was all new to me. He talks about string theory and what will happen if you go through a black hole!
5. Inexplicable Space This one focuses on dark matter and dark energy. Strange stuff!
6. Inexplicable Cosmology This class tells of quantum foam, the multiverse, antimatter, and tachyons. He also talks about the possibilities of how the earth and Universe will end. Is there anything else out there?
This was enjoyable, not as in depth as I would have liked, but it's a great course for piquing your interest in further studies.
easy to understand, however if you get distracted for a few minutes and tune back in you may get a little lost. As information is consistantly built w..Show More »ithin each lecture. This course is nice on a long boring drive through farmlands.