Cosmic Collisions on TV today

By Phil Plait | January 28, 2009 4:00 pm

TV Alert!

Tonight, the Discovery Channel is airing a show called "Cosmic Collisions", about, well, things that go smack in the night. Asteroid impacts, galaxies colliding, gamma-ray bursts… this three-part series should be of interest to anyone who read my book and wondered what this stuff looks like.

DC has more info here, and Dave Mosher has more on his Space Disco Blog.

Check your local listings for times.

Comments (22)

  1. There is also a planetarium show called Cosmic Collisions, produced by the fine folks at the AMNH. SEE IT IF YOU CAN, it’s a fantastic show. They really pulled out all the stops.

    Support your local planetarium!

  2. Grand Lunar

    Glad to see GOOD stuff like this on Discovery Channel again.
    Makes up for their airing of “A Haunting”, which I find yucky.

    Of course, there’s also “Mythbusters”, “How it’s Made” and others that also add to the goodness.

  3. I sincerely hope there are no Billy Mays commercials aired during this show. As soon as I see that, I know it has jumped the Ginglymostoma cirratum, and gone off into sensationalism. Anyone else ever notice how Billy Mays is a sort of “Woo barometer”?

    Sadly, AFN doesn’t carry a lot of Discovery Channel programing, so enjoy the show.

  4. It also happens to be on right after Mythbusters so even more goodness on Discovery tonight.

    A Haunting makes me cringe, worst show they have by far.

  5. Bill Roberts

    “A Haunting” aside (although I don’t think it’s too bad so long as you take it for what it is — fiction), it seems to me like the Discovery Channel is starting to moderately rawk again.

    Now if only the History Channel would abandon it’s tirade about UFOs (insert your own “It Came from Uranus” joke here, folks), all would be right with the world.

  6. I saw the program listing in the paper and I set the DVR to pick up all new episodes.

  7. Jack Mitcham

    Was a decent show. Then, I stumbled upon Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Daily Show right after! Wasn’t expecting that. He’s really pimping “The Pluto Files” hard.

  8. Quiet Desperation

    I was discussing at work just today how much computers have impacted science.

    They weren’t simulating colliding galaxies on vacuum tubes and difference engines, you know. ;-)

    The ghost shows are good if they give enough information to deduce the alternative (read: correct) explanation. That’s pretty rare, though.

  9. I am watching The Daily Show, Neil deGrasse Tyson is on, and as usual, amazing!

  10. He is my favorite Astronomer…. AFTER the BA! Phil, you will always be #1! :)

  11. Phil, seriously… you gotta get an agent that will kick the doors in of Stewart and Colbert! Every time I have heard you speak, I have thoroughly enjoyed your humor and enthusiasm. Every bit as awesome as Neil! :) :)

  12. Charles Boyer

    I have gotten to the point of over-saturation with the asteroid/comet smashing into Earth causing apocalypse scenario.

  13. dre

    I have to admit that I avoided the show because the promos and intro really pushed the “WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE KILLED IN A HORRIBLE CRASH!! DESTRUCTION!! APOCALYPSE!!” angle on the story. There was no indication in the ads that the show would have real science in it. I assumed it was another psuedoscience hoo-hah time-waster. Oh well.

  14. Thanks for the plug(s), Phil! Unfortunately for me, the cable went out at 8:30p. No Lost, no Top Chef, no Cosmic Collisions… *tears*

  15. Cheyenne

    Did you see how much Stewart was laughing last night? At one point he reached over the desk and grabbed Tyson! I think that’s awesome because 1- Stewart is well respected among the younger crowd of this country (yeah, he’s a comedian, and trust me – everybody under 30 loves the guy) and 2- Neil is fantastic about spreading a love of science around.

    Neil talks about a love for science that is a bit infectious. He doesn’t talk about politics or religion to muddy the waters. Just straight up science. No wonder the guy is on tv and making the rounds. And he is so right about the Pluto stuff!

  16. Gary Ansorge

    Pluto,,,such a dog,,,

    Cheyenne: “,,,everybody under 30,,,”
    Gee, I guess that means I’m under 30.

    Neil is certainly a dynamic speaker, uninhibitedly funny and engaging. I expect even Joe six pack could enjoy a beer with him,,,

    Phil: if you have a choice on one of those shows, go for Jon Stewart. He, at least, plays it straight in his interviews. Discussing anything with Steven Colbert requires one to squeeze in your comments between his satirical back beat,,,not so easy when you’re trying to be kinda, sorta, serious,,,

    Gary 7

  17. Tyson is all wrong about Pluto. People’s affinity for Pluto has nothing to do with the dog. It has to do with their interest in astronomy and the solar system. And it is not limited only to Americans. How can he write a book about Pluto and never mention hydrostatic equilibrium–the one feature, besides orbiting a star and not being a star itself, that characterizes a planet? Pluto has not “fallen”; only four percent of the IAU voted on its demotion, and there are efforts underway by both scientists and lay people to get Pluto–and all dwarf planets–reinstated as planets.

  18. The Discovery Channel used the program “Universe Sandbox” to generate several of the galaxy collision animations on the show.

    Download the app and load the simulation “Galaxy Collision – Milky Way & Andromeda” to experiment with the collisions yourself.

    Click on the “Dan Dixon Says:” link above to visit the Universe Sandbox website.

    And for the record:
    I like the new classification of Pluto as a dwarf planet. We’ve already got 5 dwarf planets and I expect we’ll find many more. Pluto’s not a planet and that’s okay. :)

  19. Dan Dixon, saying a dwarf planet is not a planet at all makes no sense. These objects are round, meaning they are shaped by gravity, not chemical bonds–a hallmark of planets and not shapeless asteroids. They are simply smaller versions of the larger planets. Also, note that the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, it would not clear that orbit and therefore would be a dwarf planet. Taking the same object and making it a planet in one location and not a planet in another makes no sense.

    Pluto is a planet, of the dwarf planet subcategory. That gives our solar system 13 planets and counting: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

  20. i`m intrested in science of space

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