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The Sun and Stars [electronic resource]

This video looks deep into space to learn how stars are born and how, eventually, they die. Each stage is covered: the formation of proto-stars, the nuclear ignition of main sequence stars, the cooling of red giants, the compaction of white dwarfs, and the final drama: death by burnout as a black dwarf or by supernova. Special attention is given to the Sun-its effect on the Earth, its projected life span, and its various levels, from corona to core, and their characteristics-as well as to spectrographic analysis of starlight and star classification with the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.

Just How Big Is Space? [electronic resource]

This video reveals the immensity of space by showing how its vast distances are measured and by examining the strange effects of Einstein's Theory of Relativity on space travel. Topics include the units of measure in astronomy; how scientists estimate distances through parallax calculations, the inverse square law of light brightness, and the Cepheid variable, Doppler shift, and supernova methods; and time dilation, space dilation, and the distorting effect of gravity on the space-time continuum-all things to take into account as we study the universe.

The Invisible Universe [electronic resource]

In the darkness of space, invisible energy fills the vast regions between the stars. This video sheds light on intergalactic radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, deadly gamma rays, and other forms of energy not visible to the naked eye. Information on technology for seeing the invisible universe such as the Very Large Array radio telescope, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Chandra and Newton X-ray Observatories will give students a new view of the "emptiness" of space.

Black Holes, Pulsars, and Other Odd Bodies [electronic resource]

This video introduces some of the oddest objects in space: black holes, bottomless gravity pits that can trap even light; neutron stars, more massive than our Sun but packed into spheres less than ten miles across; quasars, those beacons from the dawn of the universe; and, for an explosive finale, supernovas. Magnetars and the Local Bubble are also discussed, along with CHIPS, the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer.

Is Anybody Out There? [electronic resource]

What are the odds that life exists elsewhere in the universe, and what are we doing to find out? Topics in this video range from the meaning of the Drake Equation and assumptions being used to narrow the vast field of stars in which scientists are searching, to the Doppler and transit methods of discovering extrasolar planets, to three initiatives that will help pinpoint probable life-supporting worlds: the Kepler mission, the spectroscopic Life Finder mission, and the Terrestrial Planet Finder observatories.

Planets, Stars, and Galaxies [electronic resource]

Beginning with the history of astronomy (Ptolemy, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo), this program considers the mathematics of motion (velocity, acceleration); gravity (Kepler's discoveries, Newton's laws, center of gravity, astronomical units); the properties of stars (parallax, flux, luminosity, color, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram); relativity (Einstein's theories, speed of light, space-time); and the large-scale structure of the universe (Big Bang, Cosmological Principle, Hubble's law) Humankind has come a long way in our understanding of the cosmos-but we're still only scratching the surface of astrophysics, with discoveries of incalculable value still waiting to be made.
2009; 2010