Total Eclipse

The Universe
Season 5
8 episodes
See below for purchasing options
DVD & Blu-ray
"The Universe" episode no. 63 (season 5)
  • written and directed by Darryl Rehr
  • edited by Kyle Yaskin, Dion Labriola, & Kevin Browne
  • science consultant Alex Filippenko

  • narrated by Erik Thompson
  • Main Title Theme and Original Music by Eric Amdahl
  • Flight 33 Productions, (c) 2010 A & E TV Networks
  • 1 documentary @ 44 minutes

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

This episode explores solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, planet/moon shadows elsewhere in our solar system, and the transit technique for detecting extrasolar planets.

The episode introduces the Saros Cycle of the moon's orbit, repeating a pattern every 223 months. Middle sections demonstrate the discoveries made surrounding the sun's corona by satellites using an artificial eclipse-making device called a coronagraph, and further the season's obsession with Mass Coronal Ejections and their associated possible disasters to Earthly civilization.

The final section is the best, however, as we get the earliest report in "The Universe" of results from the exoplanet-hunting Kepler Mission.

Natalie Batalha:
"We looked at our very first light curves. We could see transits immediately. Some of them just popped right out at us! ...Right out of the gate we were reaching the precision levels very close to what we expected at the beginning."

Exoplanets discussed include:

  • Kepler 5b
  • Kepler 6b
  • Kepler 7b
  • Kepler 8b
  • Kepler 4b
As of June 2010, Kepler presented 700 new planet candidates, waiting to be analyzed and confirmed by ground telescopes and a consensus of scientists.

from the disc sleeve:

Total Eclipse:
Explore the complex movements of Earth, Moon, and Sun that produce total solar eclipses - one of the most spectacular phenomena in the heavens. Then, go into deep space, where the tiny eclipses caused by planets circling distant stars may soon reveal exoplanets, perhaps in habitable zones like the Earth.

Chapter List:

  • Vanishing Sun
  • Learning from Eclipses
  • Coronagraph
  • Solar Maximum
  • Light Curves (Kepler Mission!)

And the "Ask the Universe" question for this episode is... "What is the current temperature of the universe, and why is it so cold?"
- Carlo, Boulder, Colorado.

Participants include:

Alex Filippenko

Astronomer, supernova hunter
University of California, Berkeley

regular science consultant to
"The Universe" series.

Greg Laughlin

University of California, Santa Cruz

creates computer models of solar systems such as Alpha Centauri

Natalie Batalha

Kepler Mission Co-Investigator
& Deputy Science Lead.
Astronomy Professor at
San Jose State University

Holly Gilbert

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Adam Frank

University of Rochester

Glenn Schneider

University of Arizona

globe-hopping eclipse-chaser

This documentary has become available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Click on the amazon symbol for your area to open amazon's page in a new window and see additional product information before purchasing.

The Universe
Season 5 Box Set
8 episodes



Blu-ray U.S.

Blu-ray Canada

Blu-ray U.K.

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