The Edge of Forever

The focus of the tenth episode of Cosmos was cosmology. Dr. Sagan started off by keeping it rather simple as was his way but by the end of the show he was talking about the far reaches of the cosmos itself. To begin he told viewers that the sun, which is located on the outer portion of a spiral arm takes 250 million years to orbit the galaxy, and that it has gone around twenty times since the Milky Way was formed.

He then went on to explain doppler shift which he touched on previously when he was in Vinci in episode eight. This time however he used sound to explain the process of doppler shift which has been used many times since. He them made the link by saying that "colour is to light, what pitch is to sound".

A vignette was then presented regarding Mount Wilson observatory in California and how one of the men to helped construct it (Milton Hunmason) eventually became one of the primary observers and was credited along with Edwin Hubble with detecting the existence of the big bang (by using the doppler shifting of light).

Curved space was then tackled, and this was done by looking at the concept of flatland, and this was expanded upon to discuss three and four dimensional space.

The episode ended with an in depth discussion of the issues of cosmology and how certain cultures recognize it differently. He pointed out that the Hindu religion was the only one where the concept of the cosmological time scale is even close to what science considers probable. He also spoke about the expanding vs. the oscillating universe and how we may be able to detect which one we are in one day.



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