Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

Season 1 Episode 4

A Sky Full of Ghosts

4
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 30, 2014 on FOX
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
23 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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A Sky Full of Ghosts
AIRED:
A journey back to 1809 features astronomer William Herschel's observations on the effects of light on time and gravity. Also: Tyson travels to the event horizon of a black hole.
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • disappointingly unhelpful and unclear

    7.0
    Raised more questions than it answered. For example:

    1. If the universe is expanding outward from the Big Bang, and we can see things almost as old as the Big Bang, how can it be that there's more to the universe than the observable universe? Google: That's not how the universe expands; the Big Bang happened everywhere at once, not like an explosion. So there's who-knows-how-much universe beyond the observable universe.

    2. What is space expanding into? Google: Somewhere with no answers. Lucretius's analogy from a few episodes ago of shooting an arrow off the edge of the universe doesn't work, because the arrow would curve around and hit you in the ass. Ay, but if the universe be an expanding balloon, and we and our arrow travelers along the balloon's interior surface, what would happen if you could stand on the other side of the balloon? Unknown.

    3. Doesn't light travel at less than light-speed as it tries to escape a black hole pulling it back? Google: Black holes NEVER pull light. Anyone who says otherwise is either thoughtless or wrong. In fact, no gravity pulls light, because light is massless, mysteriously. Rather, black holes suck up the fabric of space-time like a vacuum cleaner on a rug. Therefore light within an event horizon either travels infinitely up and down the wrinkles of space-time, or follows the curve of space-time toward the singularity, like a penny in one of those donation funnel things. It likely never changes speed or even its basic properties.



    I just spent three hours trying to avoid that rabbit hole's event horizon and infinitely deep headache, so now I'm just tired and annoyed that NDT sidestepped those questions. (And more: Why is light-speed unbreakable? Isn't "black hole" a misnomer since there's no actual hole?)



    But this wasn't such a bad episode, just disappointing. The revisit of the Ithaca bus moment worries me that that'll be NDT's only personal anecdote. And I couldn't understand why they kept returning to Herschel and his son on the beach. Was there any organization to the points here, or was the whole thing just filler? I sound like an intellectual ass, which probably means I liked the episode more in the moment than I do now. So I'll stop thinking. Hope next week is an improvement.moreless

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