Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.
The astronomy world is all a-twitter this morning over the discovery of a new supernova in M82, a galaxy that's in our astronomical backyard, "only" 12 million light-years away. And early word is that it appears to be a Type Ia supernova, the kind that's used as a standard candle to measure the expansion of the universe.
This episode highlights the other big idea in Cosmos: that we are profoundly connected with the universe around us. Our constituent parts are forged in the bellies of massive stars; we exist through their deaths.
The world's great telescopes capture stunning photographs of stars, nebulae, and other sky phenomena. In Europe to the Stars, authors Govert Schilling and Lars Lindberg Christensen share many such photos. But the real stars of this book are the great telescopes of the European Southern Observatory.