Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

The first episode was actually live simulcast by FOX around the world. The problem is, prime time in the US means it aired early morning here. On a Sunday too! I was at church then, so I couldn't watch it on TV. We also don't have DVRs here, so I had to find a different way to watch the episode. Therefore, I didn't get to see President Obama's much talked about intro. Although, I'm not sure it was shown on TV here either.

The episode was like a summarization of the two Astrophysics courses I took in college, presented in a fun and beautiful way. My favorite part was when host Neil deGrasse Tyson walked through the "cosmic calendar." Telling us about the big bang, and how the universe evolved, the birth of galaxies, stars, planets, and everything else. "We are made of star stuff" is a great line.

Watching the episode did make me want to go back to school and study Astrophysics. There were a few moments back in college when I thought about switching majors. The observable universe is so vast, so mysterious, so scary. Yet, there's so much more beyond it.

The one thing that I didn't know, was the existence of orphan planets. From the Wikipedia article:
A rogue planet, also known as an interstellar planet, nomad planet, free-floating planet or orphan planet, is a planetary-mass object that orbits the galaxy directly. They have either been ejected from the planetary system in which they formed or were never gravitationally bound to any star or brown dwarf.[1][2][3] Astronomers agree that either way, the definition of planet should depend on its current observable state and not its origin.
I mean, now that I do, it just seems logical, that in this massive universe there are planets not attached to stars. I just assumed that solar systems are systems (hah!); one of the laws of the universe. Planets are attached to stars, and they, along with a bunch of other stuff, form the solar system.

The episode was very entertaining and fascinating. I'm definitely watching this one weekly! Hopefully on TV from now on.