The Great Courses: Astronomy

3 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 319 ratings

The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know Summary

As recently as 1990, it seemed plausible that the solar system was a unique phenomenon in our galaxy. Thanks to advances in technology and clever new uses of existing data, now we know that planetary systems and possibly even a new Earth can be found throughout galaxies near and far.

We are living during a new golden age of planetary discovery, with the prospect of finding many worlds like Earth. Most of the thousands of planets we've detected can't be imaged directly, but researchers are able to use subtle clues obtained in ingenious ways to assemble an astonishing picture of planetary systems far different from our own. We are in the midst of an astronomical revolution, comparable to the Copernican revolution that established our current view of the solar system - and we invite you to take part.

Embark on this unrivaled adventure in 24 lectures by a veteran planet hunter. Designed for everyone from armchair explorers to serious skywatchers, The Search for Exoplanets follows the numerous twists and turns in the hunt for exoplanets - the false starts, the sudden breakthroughs, and the extraordinary discoveries. Explore systems containing super-Earths, mini-Neptunes, lava worlds, and even stranger worlds. You also get behind-the-scenes information on the techniques astronomers used to find evidence of planets at mind-boggling distances from our home base. Learn how astronomers determine how many planets are in a system as well as how large they are and the characteristics of their atmospheres. You will feel like Dr. Watson in the presence of Sherlock Holmes as Professor Winn extracts a wealth of information from a spectrum, a light graph, a diffraction pattern, and other subtle clues.

©2015 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2015 The Great Courses
Show More Show Less
    • The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know

    • By: The Great Courses, Joshua N. Winn
    • Narrated by: Professor Joshua N. Winn
    • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 65
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 54
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 54

    As recently as 1990, it seemed plausible that the solar system was a unique phenomenon in our galaxy. Thanks to advances in technology and clever new uses of existing data, now we know that planetary systems and possibly even a new Earth can be found throughout galaxies near and far.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • A wonderful listen. Highly recommended!

    • By Diwotti on 10-05-16

    Regular price: £32.79

    • The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries

    • By: Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 205
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 183
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 182

    Everything we now know about the universe - from the behavior of quarks to the birth of galaxies - has come from people who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. And with the advent of modern science, great minds have turned to testing and experimentation rather than mere thought as a way of grappling with some of the universe's most vexing dilemmas. So what is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered and explored by today's scientists?

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great!

    • By paul on 04-01-15

    Regular price: £9.39

    • My Favorite Universe

    • By: Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 49
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 45
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 44

    What forces molded the universe? Are those forces still at work, removing, changing, or adding heavenly bodies even as we gaze upward? Will humanity, and Earth itself, one day be gone? Are we alone? In an era when science journalism is perhaps more thorough and ambitious than ever before, fascinating explorations of questions like these seem available to us almost every day - provided we have a working understanding of the scientific theories on which they're based.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • entertaining

    • By a addison on 23-11-16

    Regular price: £11.29