[Extreme] Planets

Season 1
DVD box set
8 episodes
See below for purchasing options
DVD & Blu-ray
"How the Universe Works" episode no. 5 (season 1)
  • Script Editor Ed Fields
  • directed by Lorne Townend
  • edited by Melanie McDonald and Roy Gilbert
  • science consultant Nigel Henbest

  • narrated by Mike Rowe
  • Music by Richard Blair-Oliphant
  • Pioneer Productions, (c) 2010 Discovery Communications, LLC
  • 1 documentary @ 43 minutes

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

The DVD packaging and menus label this episode as "Extreme Planets", but the on-screen title is just "Planets".

Just plain "Planets" is more appropriate, because the episode mostly covers planetary formation in a solar system by detailing the example of the eight planets of our solar system. It also shows how a planet can generate a magnetic field that protects it from solar winds - arguably the most fascinating part of the show.

Also fascinating are the discoveries made by a probe that descended into Jupiter's atmosphere. Find out what it found out, and what its ultimate fate was.

Most of our time is spent on Mercury, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter, with contributions from asteroids, comets, and the moon Io.

As this program was made, the year was 2010, and the exoplanet count had gone over 400. No specific exoplanet or its conditions were discussed, although the "Hot Jupiter" type is certainly mentioned.

Buried on the inside disc cover:

There are just eight planets in our solar system, but there could be a hundred billion planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone. This show follows the journey of planets as they grow from grains of dust to the magnificently diverse worlds we see today.

Participants include:

Geoff Marcy

Astronomer, Exoplanet Locator
University of California, Berkeley

As of the first 300 exoplanets discovered by 2009, he and colleague Paul Butler had been credited with finding more extra-solar planets than anyone else.

Dr. Claudia Alexander

Planetary Scientist

Prof. Dan Lathrop

Geophysicist. Built a model of planetary magnetic field using metal core and rotating liquid sodium shell.

Prof. Steve Squyres


Dr. Phil Plait


Stanley Love


Dr. Gilbert Collins


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Read the data capsule review for another episode: "[Alien] Solar Systems"

Or, get an overview of all episodes of this series from our
"How the Universe Works" Episode Guide Catalogue.

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