The Sunday night premier of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey began with presidential flair as President Barack Obama opened the show with the following statement:
“America has always been a nation of fearless explorers ho dream bigger and reach farther than others imagine. That’s the spirit of discovery that Carl Sagan captured with the original Cosmos. Today, we’re doing everything we can to bring that same sense of possibility to a new generation because there are new frontiers to explore, and we need Americans that are eager to explore them. There are no limits, so open your eyes and open your imagination. The next great discovery could be yours.”
Hosted by the world’s most popular physicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series began with ‘Standing Up to the Milky Way’, a compressed timeline of the origins of the universe.
“If you want to see the future, look up” says Tyson in the opening portion of the show. It’s a refresher course in science for some, and a completely new introduction to the sun, the planets, and gravity for others. Finally, some substantial and educational television!
Computer graphics take Tyson and his audience through the Milky Way to visit planets like Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (the last two only discovered after the invention of the telescope). He explains that the sun’s gravitational pull exerts its influence “onto a trillion frozen comets; leftovers from the formation of the solar system nearly five billion years ago.” This gravity field is called the Oort Cloud named after Dutch Astronomer Jan Oort. It encloses the solar system.
Viewers learned about rogue planets that are molten at their cores, but frozen on their surfaces, possibly harboring vast oceans that could be teaming with life unlike anything we’ve witnessed so far. Another awesome fact, the earth sits approximately 30,000 light years away from the center of the Milky Way.
And this is just the beginning! If you missed the premier, which, by the way, drew 8.5 million viewers, you can catch full episodes here and get caught up. Fact: as large as that number of viewers happens to be, it still doesn’t even begin to cover the number of individual galaxies in Andromeda.
Cosmos seeks to both educate and entertain, and is a show the whole family can enjoy together. Tune in Sunday nights at 8 p.m. CST on Fox and FoxHD.
Michele Gwynn in a freelance journalist in San Antonio, Texas, an author, and contributing writer for Examiner.com, Yahoo Voices, and several online magazines and websites.