The Wonder of Cosmos

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There are umpteen channels on TV and usually you have a hard time finding something that you want to watch. Sunday night at nine seems to be the great exception. It makes sense that Sunday night at nine would be considered prime, prime time. It’s a time when the whole world sits down to watch TV. At the present time there are six shows on at Sunday night at nine that I would like to watch. Thank Goodness for the DVR and the Internet or I would have a hard time choosing what to watch. The shows are:

  1. Da Vinci’s Demons
  2. The Good Wife
  3. Resurrection
  4. Cosmos
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. Turn

If I were are a conspiracy character, I would say that they were trying to get me upgrade to a cable plan with a DVR that can record six shows at once.  I’m not buying that.  I record one, watch one, and see the others on the Internet.  I’ll connect my TV to my computer with my HDMI cable, see my post, “How to Watch Netflix and other Internet Movies on Your TV Without Buying a Device Box,” for details on making that work.

I enjoy all of these shows but Cosmos fascinates me.  I watched the first series with Carl Sagan and I even bought to book for my kids.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson is equally good at making the universe come alive and simplifying the details so a character like me can understand them.  Like the first series, it touches not just Astronomy; it is Astronomy, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and even history. It is presented in a story form that is entertaining and definitely educational.  It is not afraid to shatter myths and tell about the fight for the survival of science over superstition.

I had mentioned yesterday that there is so much that public schools can’t teach, even in the basic subjects.  If you don’t go to college, and even if you do, there are so many simple facts out there that we just never learn.  This show fills in a lot of the gaps. 

At one time or another we all have learned that an atom in composed of a nucleus of protons and neutrons, surrounded by orbiting electrons that form a sphere with their paths.  We have all seen the classic picture of the atom.  What I didn’t know, until this last episode was how tiny the nucleus was.  Dr. Tyson stood in a great cathedral with its huge open area and pointed to a speck of dust in the air and said that would be about the size of a nucleus if the walls of the cathedral were the electron sphere.

I could go on about all of the revelations.  I’ll just do two more.  First we don’t see anyone or anything for real.  We see everything in the past.  We see the reflected light from them and it takes time for that light to reach our eye.  For most things it is the tiniest part of a second but for the sun it is over eight minutes.  If the sun were to explode, you wouldn’t see it happen for eight minutes.  We see the stars the way they looked tens, hundreds, thousands, and more years ago.  That’s why the better the telescope, the further back in time we see.  Despite claims that the universe in only six thousand years old; our own eyes tell us that it is much older.


Dr. Tyson talked about an animal called a Tardigrade.  The creature is smaller than the head of a pin but it is the true dominate creature on the planet.  It’s been around for five hundred million years, it has easily survived the three great extinctions.  It can live in the ice of Antarctica, in the caldron of an erupting volcano, and in the vacuum of space.  It is almost indestructible.

If you want to open your mind to something real and amazing, watch Cosmos and get an education.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Entertaiment, Science, TV

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