In The Planets, Prof Brian Cox takes us on a poetic journey round the solar system

Prof Brian Cox told us about The Planets this week
Prof Brian Cox told us about The Planets this week
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A marvel of the universe, meandering gently through the cosmos, provoking awe and wonder, Brian Cox was back with a new series this week, The Planets (BBC2, Tuesdays, 9pm).

Strolling about on rocky precipices, floppy hair gently blowing in the wind, Brian whispered his sweet nothings and took us millions of kilometres away and billions of years ago, to the birth of our solar system.
The thing with Prof Cox is that, when you watch him confidently explaining what we know about the origins of the planets, and what recent discoveries mean for our understanding of the solar system, you think you have a grip of it.
All of a sudden, you and Brian could be sharing a pint and your theories on how Mercury was once an earth-like planet millions of miles from where it is now.
The problem comes when the programme has finished, and everything you heard and saw makes as much a sense as one of Donald Trump’s tweets.
The Planets is wonderful to look at, with computer imagery giving us an impression of the fiery, violent beginnings of the solar system, and the images sent back from Venus and Mercury are astonishing.
Meanwhile, Prof Cox uses wonderfully poetic language to describe this: “The young planetary embryo was ripped from its promising position long before it could mature.”
This is not dry Open University, brown corduroy science, this is important, epic, poetic – you can’t help thinking how amazing science is, and remarkable its discoveries. And, of course, what we discover on other worlds has an impact on our world too.
I may have forgotten everything I heard, but I do know The Planets is out of this world.

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