Heliocentric Model of the Solar System
Earth and Space

Astronomy and Space Videos

Teaching Guidance for 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

Models of the Solar System

Physics teacher and solar astronomer Simon Foster explores how we developed our understanding of the universe and uses our changing models of the Solar System to explain how science works. On location on top of a volcano in the Canary Islands, he visits state of the art telescopes to see how astronomers are pushing back the boundaries of our understanding of the cosmos.

Saturn and the Scale of the Solar System

Planetary scientist Sheila Kanani shows us the stunning images of Saturn and its moons taken from the Cassini spacecraft. She explains what we know about the planet, how far away it is and how it differs from the Earth.

Asteroids and Comets

Astronomer Jay Tate reveals the risks and dangers of an asteroid collision on the Earth and explains how our understanding of orbits allows us to track them. We also ask what we might do if we discover an asteroid or comet heading our way.

The Sun

Solar physicist Lucie Green reveals her lifelong fascination with our nearest star, and explains how space telescopes are allowing us to see it in greater detail than ever before. The latest solar missions reveal sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections, and Lucie explains exactly what effect such violent phenomena can have on our life on Earth.

The Life Cycle of Stars

Astronomer Tim O'Brien, from Jodrell Bank Observatory, explains how astronomers believe a star is born, lives and dies. He compares the life of stars like our Sun with much more massive stars, which can end their lives by creating supernovae, neutron stars and even black holes.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Tim O'Brien and astrophysicist Chris North explain how astronomers use light from across the electromagnetic spectrum. We see how Jodrell Bank and the Herschel Space Observatory use radio waves and infra-red to reveal the hidden secrets of our universe.


Don Pollacco introduces us to SuperWASP, one of the most successful exoplanet finding instruments in the world. He explains just how we find planets orbiting other stars and how one day, we may study them for signs of life.

How Big is the Universe?

It is almost impossible for the human mind to grasp just how big the universe is, but astronomer Pete Edwards gives it his best shot. Along the way, he explains how astronomers have learned to measure the distance to the stars, using concepts such as parallax and redshift.

The Expanding Universe and the Big Bang

Pete Edwards and cosmologist Carlos Frenk explain why we think the universe started with a Big Bang and how it grew from almost nothing into the vast web of stars and galaxies we see all around us. They also reveal how at Durham University they are creating their own universe inside a supercomputer.

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