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NOVA

Origins: Back to the Beginning (#3114)

Hour Four starts with a bang - the big bang in which everything began. "Origins: Back to the Beginning" explores how the colossal, mind-boggling forces of the early universe made it possible for habitable worlds to emerge. The clues begin with a race among scientists to capture lingering echoes of the big bang's ferocious energy in a microwave "whisper" from deep space. The race pits underdog astronomer Tony Readhead and his improvised detector in the high Andes against NASA scientists and their state-of-the-art satellite probe. Tyson shares his excitement with viewers as computer animation of the big bang's echo emerges on the screen. It's as close as we can get to a "photograph" of the primordial universe. Here we glimpse the seeds from which all the galaxies, stars, and planets eventually grew. In the search for answers to the many provocative questions the program raises, Tyson catches up with one of astronomy's most exciting recent findings: the discovery of the first planets outside our own solar system. Detecting more than 100 of these planets over the last few years, astronomers have developed an ingenious technique worthy of Sherlock Holmes for deducing whether or not they might be suitable for life. As for the ultimate question - whether we can contact an alien civilization - Tyson tells us to stay tuned, reminding us that the quest for origins has involved us in one incredible surprise after another.
[56 minutes] Closed Captioning

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Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
6-8, 9-12
Curricular Areas
Science & Technology
Series Length
421 episodes
Average Episode Length
61 minutes
Record Rights
Record and retain for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
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Series Description: PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA programs demystify science and technology and highlight the people involved in scientific pursuits.

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