SEASON NINE

THE UNIVERSE

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OMENS OF DOOM

EPISODE 1

STORYLINE
To our ancestors, the appearance of certain astronomical events meant something big and something bad was coming. They were portends of death, plague, famine, or war. But what were they really seeing? And how did fear of these objects in the sky actually change the course of history?


THE EYE OF GOD

EPISODE 2

STORYLINE
Could the strange shapes of the universe solve the mysteries that have haunted mankind since ancient times? Is the eye of God peering at us from the heavens? What is the strange hexagon at the pole of Saturn, or the face on the Moon? Each shape tells its own story of an object's origin, and how physical forces shaped the Universe, and each is a chapter in the greater saga of existence.


APOCALYPTIC VISIONS

EPISODE 3

STORYLINE
Hell fires, endless winters, or a planet wracked by earthquakes are a few versions of Armageddon visualized by the Vikings, Aztecs, and the rest of our ancient ancestors. But which does modern science think will be closest to the truth? Celestial phenomena--the aging of our sun, the expansion of our universe, and other potentially cataclysmic events--could trigger the kind of Armageddon the ancients feared. Which ancient prophecy do scientists believe actually foretells our doom? And how close are we to the end of the world?


ALIEN WORLDS

EPISODE 4

STORYLINE
The ancients believed that the universe consisted of countless worlds we could not see, and argued endlessly over the nature of these distant, invisible planets and whether they might be inhabited. Until recently many scientists thought we would never discover the truth, believing that extra-solar planets were simply too far, too small and too dim to detect. But new technologies have suddenly revealed thousands of distant planets, opening up the most exciting period in astronomy in decades. Some believe we're on the verge of answering the ancient question: are we alone in the universe?


PREDICTING THE FUTURE

EPISODE 5

STORYLINE
Many believe that the celestial movement of the Sun, planets and moon gives us the blueprint for life, and governs our future. From Roman emperors, to kings and queens, to modern politicians, knowledgeable and powerful people have consulted an ancient system of predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. But is there proof that this system of tracking astronomical phenomena can actually predict our future?


ROMAN ENGINEERING

EPISODE 6

STORYLINE
Do Rome's ancient monuments have secret connections to the Sun? New archaeological evidence, confirmed by NASA data and recreated in state-of-the-art virtual reality, suggests that early Roman emperors mastered architecture and astronomy to make the Sun create strange special effects for reasons both political and personal. One set up an obelisk and altar that blocked the Sun on the anniversary of Julius Caesar's murder, another built a domed room that bathed him in sunlight on certain days, and the Emperor Hadrian designed the Pantheon to mark cosmic events like equinoxes, and turned the central "oculus" of the temple dome into his own personal spotlight, but for what nefarious purposes? We uncover the last great mysteries of the ancient world's greatest empire. The answers are hidden in ancient ruins...and among the stars.


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Season Nine