Hunting the Edge of Space

TV Program Description
Premiere Broadcast on PBS: April 6 and April 13, 2010

In this two-hour special, NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe. What began as a curiosity—two spectacle lenses held a foot apart—ultimately revolutionized human thought across science, philosophy, and religion. "Hunting the Edge of Space" takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery, dramatizing the innovations in technology and the achievements in science that have marked the rich history of the telescope. This tale of human ingenuity involves some of the most colorful figures of the scientific world—Galileo, Kepler, Newton, William Herschel, George Hale, and Edwin Hubble—leading up to today's colossal telescopes, housed in space-age cathedrals or orbiting high above the Earth. Now, at the center of an international space race, a new generation of ever-larger telescopes is poised to reveal answers to longstanding questions about our universe—and, in turn, to raise new questions.

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Telescopes continue to greatly expand our view of the universe. Here, the Keck Observatory's laser guide beams out into the Hawaiian night sky. Courtesy Laurie Hatch/Swinburne University of Technology

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