Horizon: Secrets of the Solar System

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Horizon: Secrets of the Solar System

Series 51

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Review

You wouldn't have thought the solar system had many secrets left after Brian Cox's Wonders series finished with it. But, of course, as we peel away new layers of knowledge, further mysteries are unveiled. Up to now, astronomers thought the planets had been fixed in their orbits since they formed. The latest computer modelling doesn't agree. And so, in typical Horizon style, "It's time to rethink everything we thought we knew" about the solar system.

The key, it seems, is understanding how Jupiter formed. The observation of "hot Jupiters" in other solar systems suggests our gas giant might have changed orbit after bumping around in a game of planetary pinball.

Summary

Planets are now being discovered outside Earth's solar system on a regular basis, and these strange new worlds are forcing scientists to rewrite the history of how the Sun and the planets, satellites, dwarf planets, asteroids and comets that orbit it came into being. This programme reveals that far from a simple story of stable objects orbiting a star, the development of the solar system was a potent combination of hellfire, chaos and planetary pinball that makes it somewhat of a miracle that Earth was created at all.

Cast & Crew

Director Toby MacDonald
Producer Toby MacDonald
Series Editor Steve Crabtree
Series Producer Zoe Heron
Documentary Science