Entire Cosmos series is on Hulu

By Phil Plait | March 21, 2009 2:00 pm

I’m getting lots of emails that Hulu is now carrying the entire Cosmos series (though, as far as I know, Hulu is still only available in the US). That’s very cool; Cosmos was groundbreaking and still stands today as perhaps the greatest science/astronomy TV documentary ever made.

If you watch the standard astronomy documentary these days, it’s all fast cuts and tons of information thrown at you, and in my opinion the average viewer walks away with nothing. Cosmos is slower paced, but fascinating, and Sagan took care to make everything fit in such a way that by the end all this stuff makes sense. You have a more complete idea of how science works, and how all the puzzle pieces fit together.

I would strongly urge everyone to watch the series, especially if you have curious kids. Sagan influenced a whole generation of today’s astronomers — including me — and he can still inspire a new one, too.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Science, TV/Movies

Comments (110)

  1. But, isn’t HULU run by aliens (Alec Baldwin, Seth MacFarlane)??
    ;)

    J/P=?

  2. Mark K

    Finally.
    I wish I saw this series when I was 12.

  3. Hulu is a joke. Not available outside the US. That stinks.

  4. Thomas Kilgour

    Yeah.. I’ve just discovered the History Channel’s series “The Universe” and I was shocked by how much of an action film it was! Are there any good quality modern shows??

  5. IVAN3MAN

    Phil Plait: “… (though, as far as I know, Hulu is still only available in the US).”

    You’re damn right, Phil! D’oh!

  6. The Supreme Canuck

    Bloody Hulu. Can’t watch a darned thing on it.

  7. Matthew

    The intro music and his voice still sends chills. :D

  8. IVAN3MAN

    [Rant]
    Furthermore, the bloody BBC cannot be bothered to repeat the Cosmos: A Personal Voyage series! What the bloody hell am I paying my TV Licence for, then?!
    [/Rant]

  9. Wendy

    Everyone who can afford it should totally buy the Cosmos box set. 100% worth it!!!

  10. *perhaps* the greatest? IMO, Cosmos is positively the best such program ever produced. It inspired me to study science and major in physics. It may even have ultimately played a part in my deconversion.

  11. José

    Has anyone else noticed a similarity in talking styles between Carl Sagan and Martha Stewart?

  12. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    isn’t HULU run by aliens

    Perhaps you are thinking of the rival Cthulu Corp., broadcasting from somewhere in the Southeast Pacific Ocean.

  13. The series also inspired a lot of us humanists :)

  14. Ivan

    And if you can’t afford the box set: BitTorrent!

  15. semi

    The problem with current science shows like “The Universe” or “How the Earth Was Made” is that they are sloppily and cheaply put together. While the interviews with actual scientists in the show are frequently worthwhile, the graphics for the show are usually very unscientific, and the script inaccurate and rambling.

    It’s pretty obvious that the graphics for these shows are created by only loosely following the script. It’s almost as if the graphic house creates a bunch of shots, and they try to write the script around it.

    Also, the graphics frequently mess up the scale of objects and distances, the same footage is used repeatedly over different narration that is describing completely different things, and as Phil said, the producers attempt to cram too many concepts in one show so that there is only a shallow level of understanding before we are whisked off to the next segment.

    During segments where computer graphics could actually help explain things, they instead have research scientist Amy Mainzer mixing blue and yellow paint to try to explain how matter was distributed during the Big Bang. Now as much as I adore Amy, that segment in “The Universe” was crying out for better, more explanative graphics.

    Anyway, the point is that there is a reason why Cosmos was so expensive to make; every shot and every line of script is created to complement each other and bring a deeper understanding to the viewer. It truly illuminates the difference between a exceedingly well-crafted show and a hack job, and why some shows stand the test of time.

  16. Yeah, Hulu is still only in the US. So far now, it’s still only everyone in the US that can watch it, not absolutely everyone. Better than no one, and with some of the problems the US has with appreciating science, they could certainly use it.

  17. rumleech

    Dammit! Ah well – You Tube it is.

  18. killyosaur

    Actually, there are ways around the filters that prevent you from viewing hulu outside the U.S. There are proxy servers out on the net (I can’t think of any off hand) that will allow you access to the site. I am uncertain of the legalities surrounding going that route, so please be advised if you are going to try this.

  19. IVAN3MAN

    Wendy:

    Everyone who can afford it should totally buy the Cosmos box set. 100% worth it!!!

    [Rant]
    I would, but it’s only available from Amazon (UK) in bloody Region 1 [NTSC] format! Which means that I will have to buy a multi-region DVD player. Why the bloody hell is it not available in Region 2 [PAL] or Region 0 (multi-region)?
    [/Rant]

  20. John

    I certainly would not be in college for Astrophysics right now if it weren’t for this series.

  21. Elmar_M

    Cosmos was an awesome show, made with lots of care and attention to detail. The effects were groundbreaking at the time too. Carl Sagan of course was the best teacher ever! My old VHS recordings of Cosmos are showing their age… I recently burned them on DVD so they wont degrade so much (and my VHS recorder has been getting wonky lately also). However I am hesitating to buy the rerelease on DVD because I heard they changed the music, which was IMHO one part of the appeal the original show had (Vangelis, awesome!). Without it, I think I will always want to go back and watch the VHS version, which kinda annihilates the point of me buying the DVDs (which are not cheap).
    Aaaaargh!
    Anyway, if you have not seen that show, go get the DVDs, they are totally worth it!

  22. amz

    I don’t think that I would be exagerating to say that this is the best thing that has ever been shown on television. Just fantastic.

  23. chief

    Actually I watched the entire series (except for one 1/6th part of a chapter) from the YouTube site early feb. I have held off buying the DVD set as the show was producted almost 30 years ago and I was afraid that the series was dated. Upon watching however, Carl Sagan does appear on some chapters at the end to add additional information to bring it more up to date so this wasn’t as much of a issue as I thought. If the series goes on sale I would seriously think of buying it for the quality of graphics. Too bad there isn’t a high def version.

  24. semi

    I think the listing of the Cosmos DVD set on Amazon as a Region 1 DVD is an error.

    At Barnes & Noble’s (and other sites) it’s listed as Region 0:

    http://video.barnesandnoble.com/DVD/Cosmos/Dr-Carl-Sagan/e/804387101097

    There is no reason why this program should be region-controlled.

  25. Nick

    Elmar,
    The music is still the same on the DVDs.

  26. Grego

    Mark K:
    I wish I saw this series when I was 12.

    Thankfully, I *did* see it when I was 12 & it changed everything (reach ‘em while they’re young, it seems).

    I can’t think of a more important show of *any* kind.

  27. Paul F

    YES! It’s totally impossible to get at our local library – only one copy in the entire freaking city, and it’s always checked out!

    thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

  28. George

    That’s a neat old show, Phil. But there is current science television that would seem to garner your interest, comment and gimlet eye as well. The NOVA companion website for the March 31 episode concerning the North American terminal Pleistocene comet encounter is up and running. Check out the promo and fascinating new information here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/program.html. Phil, I have made repeated posts requesting your comment on this subject. It certainly would seem an astronomer, blogger, and author of a book called “Death from the Skies” would take notice and comment — supportive or skeptical — on these extraordinary findings.

  29. George

    My link was bad because it inadvertently included a period. Here is a good one: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/program.html

  30. George, I’m kind of a busy guy, and don’t have time to chase down every single story out there. It’s very difficult, since I have essentially three full time jobs. There are lots of other websites with info on it, so I haven’t felt the need to say much. Plus, there isn’t a whole lot of info on it; just enough to make people argue.

  31. IVAN3MAN, I have it in either region 4 (Australia) or region-free, let me check. Nope, 4, but at least that suggests that it isn’t all region 1.

    (Australian veiwers with cable: it’s currently showing on Ovation, Thursday evenings at 6 PM and repeated the next day at midday. It’s just showed episode nine, though, so it’s a good way through already.)

    And Phil, ‘perhaps’ the greatest? No, greatest, period. If it wasn’t for Cosmos, I wouldn’t be studying planetary science today. My entire career and future was influenced by Cosmos!

    Incidentally, has anyone ever heard anything about the special edition (linked in my name)? I haven’t been able to find anything about it ANYWHERE.

  32. Swede

    One of my favorite (duh) documentaries, others are BBC’s the Planets and pretty much everything with Brian Cox (he even was on the first LP my uncle gave me like 20 years ago)

    Too bad I am geographically challenged, I have already been denied South Park today, and don’t get me started on YouTube’s new restrictions..

  33. Stu Brown

    On iTunes(US at least), Cosmos is available for $2 an episode.
    In iTunes search Cosmos or Sagan.

  34. IVAN3MAN

    @ semi,

    Thanks for information link.

    @ Naomi: “And Phil,’perhaps’ the greatest? No, [THE] [G]reatest, period. If it wasn’t for Cosmos, I wouldn’t be studying planetary science today. My entire career and future was influenced by Cosmos!”

    Ditto!

  35. Knurl

    Excellent news. I still have it on VHS. I received it for a big PBS donation.

    Next to “Counting the Eons” by Isaac Asimov (his awesome 1981 book which is his response to creationists), my favorite book is the “Cosmos” hardcover edition. It is more than seriously worth the money.

  36. Dinky

    I just came to say:

    a) Cosmos was great
    b) if it hadn’t been for Ascent of Man with Bronowski, it probably wouldn’t have been made.
    c) the two series complement each other really rather well.

  37. IVAN3MAN

    Phil Plait:

    I’m kind of a busy guy, and don’t have time to chase down every single story out there. It’s very difficult, since I have essentially three full time jobs.

    Wow, Phil, I have “misunderestimated” your abilities(!).

  38. Sir Eccles

    I just want to speak up in favor of Hulu.

    I like it, they have done a pretty good job of getting the content out there usually with much less adverts than on regular TV (you sometimes get the option to watch one longer ad at the start and get the whole thing ad free).

    Yes, it is currently US only, but consider that for quite a while iTunes was US only. It takes time, not only to set up hardware infrastructure such as servers but to go through all the licensing red tape.

  39. baryogenesis

    For Cosmos, try Google Videos (here’s part 1 with Ann Druyan intro–http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2497938397749959211). Youtube has it in bits as well I believe. If not it can be found here and there on the tubes.

  40. Cindy

    I was fortunate enough to meet Carl Sagan about 7 months before he died and told him “It’s your fault I’m an astronomer!”. I remember seeing Cosmos when I was around 13 when it first came out. I also remember in 9th grade one teacher asking everyone what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said “astrophysicist” and when I got the blank stares, I said “like Carl Sagan”.

    Will probably ask for the Cosmos series on DVD one of these days for Xmas or my birthday.

  41. Elmar_M

    Nick, are you sure about that? I have read on several instances that the music had been changed. I thought I even read that on the website.

  42. Elaine

    I have the boxed set. I believe the sound was remastered for Dolby but is the original score.

  43. cqdx

    The music is the same as far as i remember.I never forgot those vangelis themes.I`m located in Scandinavia and Sagan also got me looking to the skies around 11-12 years of age,and i never stopped..Now my son enjoys it!Lucky you Cindy!Too bad mr Sagan isn`t around to see all the stuff happening these days.Great man and a wonderful series for sure.As for Hulu:proxy.But i really need that dvd boxset asap.

  44. Blaine

    Elmar, I have the boxed set, and have not noticed anything different from what I remember as a child – for what that’s worth :)

    The audio is part of what glued me to the TV the first time…that awesome sense of wonder; of something greater than myself. I can tell you I still get chills watching it now. And the best part is, so do my kids.

  45. But…Cosmos won’t turn your brains to mush! Isn’t that defeating their purpose? ;-)

  46. Conrad Chaffee

    My wife’s about to give birth to twin boys (our first children). I have a question for all Bad Astronomy readers: at what age do you think I should try showing them Cosmos?

  47. George

    Phil, I appreciate your comment. Surely, you are free to pick your subjects, but I am free to speculate on your reasoning. I suspected you were avoiding comment on what may be turn out to be a very, very inconvenient truth for strident critics of Creationism like you: These simple minded bible thumpers may turn out to have a far more accurate understanding of the fundamental truth of the human story than you do. To wit, a time of abundance and stability turned quickly to horror and a struggle to survive. Hundreds of religious “myths” tell this same tale. However, they have been universally dismissed by scientists as silly campfire talk and redneck foolishness. All the way back to Lyell and Cuvier science has been obsessed with shutting up and shutting down catastrophism because it too closely conformed with religious belief, and was therefore beneath contempt. But, inexcusably, in my opinion, that contempt has blinded scientists to some pretty obvious evidence; for instance, a black mat covering ET material and demarcating the time of change at dozens and dozens of archeological sites. Recent catastrophe could not be true — because the bible, particularly Genesis, had no historical truth — therefore evidence suggesting it should be ignored or explained away.

    Phil, not only did you feel a reason to not “say much” — you said nothing. If that is because you are too busy to report evidence of the ET impact story of all time, we must take you at your word. But the next time you rail at religion interfering with science, take a quiet moment to consider how the rednecks and fools had it right(er) this time. PS. I have never read the bible and don’t plan to — so don’t tar me with that brush you’re reaching for.

  48. For the Aussies, or anyone that can play region 4 PAL DVDs, I’ve seen the boxed set in Borders in Sydney and on-line at ezydvd.com.au – about AU$150.

  49. Conrad Chaffee, you could probably have a television set up for when they pop out. Mummy probably wouldn’t appreciate that though.

  50. @George
    For someone who claims to never have read the bible you seem to be espousing support for the creationists pretty stridently. And BTW, you’re drawing a pretty long bow trying to connect a catastrophe, where the evidence is very inconclusive to say the least, and biblical events.

  51. Charles Boyer

    I am sure it is here in the comments somewhere, but non-US folks should Google up US-based web proxy servers to route through.

    And I still love Isao Tomita’s soundtrack to Cosmos. Sure, it sounds cheesy by today’s standards, but it was quite avant-gard in its day.

  52. Reverend J

    Hey Phil, a better link might be http://www.hulu.com/cosmos it has a nice page and everything.

    Brings back childhood memories!

  53. IVAN3MAN

    Conrad Chaffee, I agree with Shane. Also, I’ll add that the sooner you immunize your children’s minds with science, against contamination from religious fundamentalist BS, the better!

  54. During Cosmos’ first run my high school physics teacher devoted an entire class each week to watching Cosmos.

  55. IVAN3MAN

    Charles Boyer:

    I am sure it is here in the comments somewhere, but non-US folks should Google up US-based web proxy servers to route through.

    I have tried that via HideMyAss.com, but to no avail! :|

  56. leg

    Conrad Chaffee,

    I have vivid memories of watching the show with my parents when I was very young, probably around four. I certainly couldn’t have understood what it was all about, but it made an impression that my parents were so taken with “a tv show about outer space.” I was eleven when I first watched the tapes and understood what was going on. I was very fortunate to have a fifth grade teacher who was adamant about teaching science and the scientific method, and Cosmos nicely complemented that. So my advice would be to show it early and often!

  57. Henry Holland

    I’m going to be pelted with verbal rocks for this, but oh well. Note: I’m 49 and spend hours each week on astronomy and physics sites learning stuff.

    I borrowed a friends box set and….I could only make it through 4 episodes. I had no problem with the cheesy parts where Sagan is sitting on a soundstage in front of a blue screen, pretending he’s flying around the Universe –if I still did LSD, those segments would rule– or the dated effects and music, but the science is outdated to the point where I was sitting here going “No, that’s not right, it’s…..” throughout all four episodes. I don’t need to watch a series to have a sense of awe at the Universe instilled in me, I *already am*. I got tired of being jabbed in the metaphorical ribs by Carl Sagan going “Look look look, isn’t this cool, look look look”. I can decide that for myself, thank you.

    The other part is that it takes forever to get to its points. I know, I know, the journey is half the fun, but frankly, I learned more than I need to know about the Library of Alexandria in this context. “Oh for fucks sake, talk about real ASTRONOMY now!” I shouted at my computer screen. Given my current knowledge level, I felt distinctly talked down to at several points. I also felt there was a bias towards “are we alone” speculations (which bore me stiff, it’s about the least interesting part of this discipline I can think of) in lieu of hard science. I realize, I’m not the target audience for these sorts of programs, but still.

    The other thing that drove me nuts is the way Sagan talked. He would [pause] talk in this [pause] really halting way that [pause] drove me nuts after a while.

    So, a C- with a “must try harder” notation.

  58. José

    @Conrad Chaffee
    You don’t have an in utero TV? Are you living in the stone age?

  59. T.E.L.

    Here’s a smidgen of trivia that some people may not be aware of these days: early-on Cosmos was offered at many colleges as a credit-granting course. A Cosmos study guide was published in paperback whilst Sagan’s book was the main text.

  60. Santoki

    Does anyone have a complete listing of the music of Cosmos?

    There were a lot of pieces missing from the official Cosmos Soundtrack. One of them, which sounds like a Russian orchestra melody plays during the alice in wonderland sequence of The Lives of Stars. Been trying to find that track!

  61. T.E.L.

    This website claims to document the original musical score:

    http://cosmic_voyager.tripod.com/cosmosindex.htm

  62. I found this…
    http://www.huluexposed.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/how-to-bypass-the-hulucom-location-check-using-a-socks5-proxy-2/

    Haven’t tried it yet.

    @Santoki
    Click on Naomi’s name up above somewhere. It links to a wiki that also lists the music.

  63. Jake

    So does this mean I don’t have to feel guilty about pirating the series a couple months ago?

  64. IVAN3MAN

    George:

    Phil, I appreciate your comment. Surely, you are free to pick your subjects, but I am free to speculate on your reasoning. [...] These simple minded bible thumpers may turn out to have a far more accurate understanding of the fundamental truth of the human story than you do.

    Like I am free to ROFLMAO! :lol:

    [...] in my opinion, that contempt has blinded scientists to some pretty obvious evidence; for instance, a black mat covering ET material and demarcating the time of change at dozens and dozens of archeological sites.

    If you’re referring to the K-T boundary, that occurred 65.5 ± 0.3 million years ago — yes, that long; deal with it!

    Recent catastrophe could not be true — because the bible, particularly Genesis, had no historical truth — therefore evidence suggesting it should be ignored or explained away.
    [...] But the next time you rail at religion interfering with science, take a quiet moment to consider how the rednecks and fools had it right(er) this time. [Oh Gordon Bennett! :roll: ] PS. I have never read the bible and don’t plan to — so don’t tar me with that brush you’re reaching for.

    Well, that figures! George, let me help you with that by pointing out a few of the many contradictions in the Bible:

    In Genesis 1:25-27 (Humans were created after the other animals) –

    And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image [...]

    However, in Genesis 2:18-19 ((Humans were created before the other animals) –

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    WTF?! Furthermore, in Genesis 1:27 (The first man and woman were created simultaneously) –

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    However, in Genesis 2:18-22 (The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man’s rib.)

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them [...] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

    Again, WTF?! George, there are lot more contradictions such as those in the Bible. The Old Testament was written not by “God”, but by primitive Hebrew sheep-shaggers, with bad copy-editing! Why, then, do you expect scientists to take such an irrational book seriously?

  65. IVAN3MAN

    Phil, who the hell let OIM in?!

  66. Spunk-Monkey

    A few years ago i purchased the Cosmos boxed set on eBay for around $30; perhaps that deal is still out there. Often you can find some better deals for owning DVDs if you region hack your player. Just an option, just sayin’.

    By the way, is Hulu showing the updated series that was released a couple years ago? And in the update, was much changed? I remember reading about that version, but never caught it.

  67. BGC

    Phil,
    Thanks for posting!!

    PS – in re: your discussion last year on pronunciation of kilometer (or -metre)… I noticed that Sagan pronounces it Kill-o-meter…

  68. Oded

    One of my favorite things about Cosmos is the incredible music. It complements wonderfully to the messages of the show, I remember I was completely overtaken by it when I first heard it, and still am when I rewatch certain scenes.

  69. CR

    A year or so ago, I saw that Cosmos was being shown in the US on (I think) The Science Channel. I started to watch an episode with my kids, trying to explain to them that it had been an influential series when I was a kid myself.
    Much to my shock, I noticed that bits of the episode were missing to make room for COMMERCIAL BREAKS! Even worse, some of the original artwork had been replaced by modern (and for that matter, not very good) CGI. WTF? I went to my bookshelf and got my old, worn copy of Cosmos (the book), and found some photos from the edited scenes, just to show them a hint of what they were missing. I vowed to get a REAL copy of the series on dvd and show them the show as it had been made.

    Thanks for the reminder that I still need to do this! (And a big BOOOO! to whatever channel was showing such a butchered version of the show. I’m not saying that Cosmos shouldn’t be updated with new info, like Sagan himself did a decade or so after the original broadcast using supplemental shorts added on. But it should NOT be dumbed down like the version my kids and I saw.)

  70. TEL,

    Ha! I knew I recognised SOMETHING (Rite of Spring) in episode nine! All that watching Fantasia as a kid really paid off ^_^

  71. AnAstronomer

    The problem with shows like the History Channel’s The Universe is that they are cheaply made and produced. The scientists aren’t paid, so that saves a lot of money. Carl Sagan actually made money off of Cosmos, both the book and the TV series. Also, Universe doesn’t pay to hire a science educator to edit the series (you can see this in the credits), so of course the graphics often make little sense.

    To their credit, the scientists who participate in The Universe are trying hard to work with what is made available to them. Most of them (with the exception of Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku) are full-time scientists who only do public outreach as an additional duty; they receive no personal benefit. If anything, they probably catch flack from their colleagues for wasting time on public outreach. Sagan certainly got plenty of it for doing Cosmos.

    The Universe certainly no replacement for Cosmos, but it’s made for a fraction of the cost and time. It’s better than nothing. As for the pacing, you have to remember that most of us reading this webpage are no longer in the target demographic: we’re too old, and almost all shows today for young adults use MTV-style editing. :( But you have to consider the upside: by being cheap and fast to make, shows like the Universe can afford to be flexible and talk about the most up-to-date results.

  72. Jennifer

    I watched Cosmos only recently, but I did read the book much earlier. It was shown on German TV only once I think, when I was about three, and then never again (as a rule, really good shows do tend to have that fate). I have yet to meet people who actually know who Sagan was, except my dad. I introduced my boyfriend to Sagan by giving him The Demon-Haunted World for his birthday and he said after reading it that it reminded him again why he became a scientist in the first place.

  73. Cosmos in the Classroom

    Curriculum resources for teachers hoping to use Cosmos with students.

  74. Pauline

    You can watch Carl Sagan’s 1976 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, and a lot of the other Christmas Lectures, online – see http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayContent&id=1882. There’s a tedious signup and shopping basket process, but the programmes are actually free to watch.

    I loved Cosmos, even my not-really-interested-in-science ex-husband was fascinated and never missed an episode.

  75. Carl Fields

    I saw only the original telecast, way back when. However, I have read that when the series was broadcast the second time, they used a re-edited version. I think the source I read mentioned at some of the scenes in the early epidodes where Sagan was cruising in the “spaceship of the mind” were shortened. Might be interesting to know which version is on Hulu. Not sure where I read this, but it MIGHT have been in a biograply of Sagan.

    Not sure about the music. I HAVE read that music rights are the primary issue holding up releasing the entire “Ally McBeal” TV series on DVD in the US (they used a non-original song in almost every episode). Something like that could have caused the music to be altered on later releases of “Cosmos”.

  76. Breaking news – off topic but hopefully of interest via Wikipedia :

    (Will Phil post on this later? If so, ok to please move or delete this.)

    The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is an ESA satellite that was launched on March 17, 2009.[1]

    GOCE data will have many uses, probing hazardous volcanic regions and bringing new insight into ocean behaviour. The latter, in particular, is a major driver for the mission. By combining the gravity data with information about sea surface height gathered by other satellite altimeters, scientists will be able to track the direction and speed of geostrophic ocean currents.

    Its arrow shape and fins help keep the satellite stable as it flies through the wisps of air still present at an altitude of 260 km. The low orbit and high accuracy will improve the known accuracy of the geoid and spatial resolution.”

    Click on my name for more.

  77. Thanks for the reminder! Popping in DVD #1 for my daughters this instant.

  78. Elmar_M

    Yeah, it ran once on our tv station here, when I was a kid. Of course our public tv- station should be “educational” (thats why they are allowed to ask fees). LOL. My parents not only let me stay up late to watch it, they also recorded it on VHS. The very tapes I was talking about earlier.
    I think I will get the DVDs then and let you guys know whether they changed anything. The original Cosmos series was not just science, but also a piece of art in the way it combined visual, audial and mental stimulation into a teaching masterpiece!

  79. Spectroscope

    @ Swede :


    March 21st, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    [Cosmos is] One of my favorite (duh) documentaries, others are BBC’s the Planets and pretty much everything with Brian Cox (he even was on the first LP my uncle gave me like 20 years ago)

    I second you on the Planets.

    I’d add :

    1. ‘Universe’,

    2. ‘Walking with Dinosuars / Beasts / Cavemen’

    &

    3. ‘Space Race’ – (mor ehistorical looking at the astronaust &cosmonaust in the Russian-US space programs fromSputnik toApollo but still fascinating & really well done even if they did make abit too much of Werner Von Braun’s brief nazi past. IMHO naturally.

    4. ‘The Sky at Night’ with Patrick Moore -the longest running popular science program (perhaps longest running of any program?) ever & now a magazine with accompanying CD as well!

    5.’Space Odyssey’ (Non-fiction docu-drama NOT the Arthur C. Clarke / Kubrick movie with the monolith think that was the right name – a Sf type “really-could-be like this” style fictional mission to the planets incl. Venus, Io, Mars, a comet, Pluto, etc .. if I recall right ..)

    Those are my faves which I’d recommend for everyone here. :-)

  80. Asimov Fan

    @ Brakimng new s& well everyone here :

    “By combining the gravity data with information about sea surface height gathered by other satellite altimeters, scientists will be able to track the direction and speed of geostrophic ocean currents.”

    Okay, afraid I have to plead ignorance here – Can anyone explain what “geostrophic ocean currents” are and how they differ from normal ocean currents? Do they include, say, the Gulfstream?

  81. Asimov Fan

    Correction & apology that’s Breaking News Sorry, I’m too tired tobe posting right now. :-(

    (Going to bed hoping for finding answers later ..)

  82. mocular

    I coincidentally stumbled on COSMOS this AM while browsing Hulu and watched the first episode. Very good in an inspirational and nostalgic way. I remember watching the series on BPS during it’s first run. Sagan literally showed me a different way to view the Cosmos, Earth and Humanity.

  83. T.E.L.

    Spectroscope,

    I think Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets is good, but I certainly wouldn’t call it “non-fiction”. I’d call it more like Disney’s “Man In Space” series from the 1950s.

  84. Mike

    I watched Cosmos on PBS as a young’n, and it inspired me.

    It’s still one of the best presented scientific documentaries out there.

    HOWEVER, it was filmed in the early 80s, and is astoundingly dated. All the stuff on cosmology, for instance, is pre-CDM, and predates any large 3D surveys of galaxies (e.g., CfA1). The field bears little relationship to that anymore; now there is a such thing as precision cosmology, and microwave background anisotropy has proven far more important than anyone imagined in 1980.

  85. I’ll have to see if I can find time for that. I found the first season of Firefly on Hulu. Never having seen any episodes or the movie. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Needless to say, it wiped out my entire work-week.

    Damn you Joss Whedon, your interesting plot-lines and compelling characters! Damn you! Now I’m busy trying to make up for wasted time. I just hope it stays on there long enough for me to get to it later.

  86. Beelzebud

    My love of science can be traced directly back to watching Cosmos on PBS when I was a kid.

  87. Cosmos was on the air at about the same time NPR was broadcasting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as a triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, a very bright apparition of Venus, the first Space Shuttle launches, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, and in the middle of the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a good time to be a kid.

  88. CR

    @ Harold
    What a great way to put things in perspective! (Sounds like ‘the good old days’ that grandparents always talk about.)

  89. ipgrunt

    I’m very happy to see all the interest in this article. I first learned of Dr. Sagan after reading his book (coauthored with Shklovskii) Intelligent Life in the Universe in college during the early 1970s, and was fascinated with his vast knowledge and incredible imagination. Perhaps the first Voyager mission brought him into the public eye, but he came at exactly the right time to rekindle the pop world’s interest in space with his Cosmos series on PBS.

    Coincidently, I was again a student when the series first aired c. 1980, studying engineering and computer science in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I remember the interest his programs generated in my group of fellow “techno-weenies” — how we discussed each program the following day, and looked forward hungrily to the next episode (I was always hungry in those days, living on $3.00 per diem spent on 25 cent cups of coffee, 1 pack of Merit cigarettes, and my usual chili dog, a very reasonable $1.25 that would be smothered with a double scoop of the red beans by empathetic classmates working behind the counter.)

    Last fall I saw a few reruns on one of Discovery’s channels, and the program was still relevant, the “New Age” music still melodically soothing, and Sagan’s famous tagline of “billions and billions” (made famous by Johnny Carson, I seem to recall), just as charming as always.

    Forgive me if my next sentiment offends dear reader, but the following is for Carl, wherever you may be in the cosmic web, happy trails and “thanks for all the fish.” You were here when we needed you and imho, we sorely miss your uniquely broad vision as we blunder through this new century.

  90. stu

    I didn’t watch the show when I was younger, but my Mum took out the book from the local library for me to read when I was 10. I loved it so much, and there is no way of knowing what I would be doing now if it wasn’t for my Mum and Mr Sagan.

    I now have the DVD boxed set and a first edition of the book, and I can’t wait untiy my daughter is old enough to understand them both!

  91. IVAN3MAN — No, I was not speaking of the KT Boundary. I was speaking of the Younger Dryas Boundary. As may be suspected from my earlier post, I find it extraordinary that this blog nor its regular discussions have never mentioned the YD event as far as I know. Just seems like it wold be up BA’s alley. Hundreds of other science blogs have discussed, sometimes in depth. You all are like sport’s blog and forum that has no mention of the NCAA Tounament. So here, let me give you some interesting links (that might even shed some light on the Velikovsky affair):

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/debate.html

    PBS NOVA promo next week:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/program.html

    Click here for other conference video and 2008 San Francisco AGU (pending publication):
    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list
    American Geophysical Union Press Conference, Acapulco, Mexico, May 23, 2007 – Part 1 of 7
    —————–
    Investigations of a buried layer at sites from California to Belgium reveal materials that include metallic microspherules, carbon spherules, nanodiamonds, fullerenes, charcoal, and soot. The layer’s composition may indicate that a massive body, possibly a comet, exploded in the atmosphere over the Laurentide Ice Sheet 12,900 years ago. The timing coincides with a great die-off of mammoths and other North American megafauna and the onset of a period of cooling in Northern Europe and elswhere known as the Younger Dryas Event. The American Clovis culture appears to have been dramatically affected at this same time. Speakers will discuss numerous lines of evidence contributing to the impact hypothesis. The nature and frequency of this new kind of impact event could have major implications for our understanding of extinctions and climate change.

  92. David Roach

    Phil,
    I realize you’re just a wee bit busy these days, but I had a question that you can probably answer in a sentence or two. In episode 4 or 5 there is a piece on how scientists have been able to confirm the slight wobbling of the moon (due to a medieval-era impact) by firing lasers at the mirrors left by one of the Apollo missions. How do they know where to aim the lasers? Since the mirrors must be quite a bit smaller than the lunar lander or other equipment left by astronauts (which apparently cannot be visually detected–even by the Hubble) how do the locate the mirrors?
    Thanks and keep up all the fine work.
    ~David

  93. @ Asimov fan :

    There’s a link to Geostrophic currents on the Wikipage I linked to – but I’ve added the link to my name here for you anyway.

    In essence :

    “A geostrophic current results from the balance between gravitational forces and the Coriolis effect. … Geostrophic currents are zero-frequency inertial waves in the oceans. They move water horizontally, and because both heat and salinity are involved, geostrophic circulation is a type of thermohaline circulation.”

    No probs about mispelling my “name”, I know how it gets sometime when you stay up that bit longer than you should! ;-)

  94. T.E.L.

    David Roach,

    The laser beams diverge as they speed through space. By the time a pulse reaches the Moon, it’s at least a couple of miles wide. This mitigates the problem to some extent, since it only has to be aimed within a ballpark, so to speak. And of course the locations of the landings are known to a certain accuracy anyway. An operator typically has to work at getting back signals just the same. Since the pulse is wide and the mirror narrow, only a very tiny amount of it gets reflected back to Earth. The return pulse, what there is of it, also spreads on its way back. An astronomer is lucky to register a handful of individual photons on a good night.

  95. Asimov Fan

    @ Breaking News : Thanks! :-)

  96. Jeff

    Cosmos absorbed about 3 years of Sagan’s life, travelling around the world and getting down the script and special effects. That is the best science series ever created in my opinion. They just don’t do those these days anymore.

    He also wrote an inspirational wonderful book when he was still young, probably in his thirties, entitled “The Cosmic Connection” that inspired me to major in physics.

  97. Winter Solstice Man

    Is the version being shown on Hulu the original Cosmos, or the one that was “updated” for the DVD?

    If at all possible, go with the original version that came out in 1989 on VHS (I know there are a few tape players left in the world). The revised version took away a lot of the beautiful original effects and replaced them with cheezy CGI versions.

    Most of the series remains accurate to this day, that is how good Sagan did with Cosmos. If you want to know the latest, just hop on the Internet. Cosmos should have been left as it was originally made and intended.

    And I hope the so-called Science Channel never shows Cosmos again as they did recently, with so much of the series cut out to make room for commercials, which were wonderfully avoided in the series PBS premiere in 1980.

  98. HAL's Dave

    I love Cosmos and it got me interested in astronomy. Other science shows I like are

    Connections by James Burke

    The Day the Universe Changed by James Burke

    The Ring of Truth by Philip Morrison

  99. This post was also posted over on http://richarddawkins.net/article,3679,Entire-Cosmos-series-is-on-Hulu,Phil-Plait
    One of the comments there suggested using Hotspot Shield I’m in the US so don’t know how that would work but it sounded promising

    12. Comment #355906 by Casa Addams on March 26, 2009 at 10:36 am
    May I suggest the Hotspot Shield Internet Security Add-on? It has the benefit of hiding your IP address so hulu and such can’t spot your location. It’s free. I tried it a couple of months ago and it worked well here in Germany with hulu… Hope it helps. (I don’t think this can be considerate as illegal…).

  100. Ivan

    If you’re not in the US (or even if you are):

    http://isohunt.com/torrent_details/43914100/

  101. From some of the comments over at RD’s site it seems that HotspotShield may just be some kind of proxy with adware built in. I can’t tell for sure because it’s only for Windows. The above link on isohunt or the following at a certain Swedish site may be more convenient if your local laws allow:
    http://thepiratebay.org/search/%5C%22carl%20sagan%20-%20cosmos%5C%22/0/99/0

  102. Paul Babcock

    I am quite computer iliterate but could someone tell me please what my problem is with this here. I get to ep.1 and it says that I need to load “adobe flash 9″. I do so. It says that it has downloaded sucesfuly. I go back to where I can start it up and It still says that I need to download “adobe flash 9″. And I still can not run it.

    I have sucsesfuly run this in t past. I belive a month ago.

  103. Charles

    Hmmm. Best astronomy show ever. Well. Best astronomy show ever by a really stoned guy. Pick any group of astronomers and Sagan will stand head and shoulders in regards to bong knowledge (ask anyone who knew him). Check out his pupils despite the studio lights.

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