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Life Beyond the Sun: Saturn

Series 1 - Episode 4 Life Beyond the Sun: Saturn

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Review

It’s quite something that this series has outperformed BBC1’s star-studded drama serial on Tuesday nights, as Brian Cox mesmerises two million or so viewers with his leisurely life stories of planets.

Leisurely might be a polite word for it; at times things get properly slow as we wallow in another grand CGI re-creation of something that happened on a Tuesday four billion years ago. But adjust your mental rhythms: it’s worth it. The way Cox tells his story is extraordinary – at its best magically fascinating and full of vast, weird drama.

Here, he looks at the loveliest of planets, Saturn, where it rains diamonds (probably) and those LP-like rings are slowly falling apart.

Summary

Professor Brian Cox examines Saturn, a planet raised in the freezing outer reaches of the solar system that began life as a strange combination of rock and ice. Born outside the snow line, with an abundance of building materials, it soon grew to dwarf Earth, drawing in colossal amounts of the hydrogen and helium that permeated the early solar system. As Nasa's Cassini probe has discovered, the planet remained ring-less most of its life, until a fateful encounter changed everything. Less than a hundred million years ago, one of Saturn's ice moons was drawn too close to the planet. In a truly cataclysmic event, the entire moon was destroyed and the rings were born.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Professor Brian Cox
Director Nic Stacey
Editor Ged Murphy
Executive Producer Andrew Cohen
Series Director Stephen Cooter
Series Producer Gideon Bradshaw
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Education