Wonders of the Solar System - Order Out of Chaos

Taken as a whole, the solar system is a remarkable display of patterns and order: the sun sits at the center, planets rotate around it in regular and predictable orbits, and moons do the same around the planets. The very look of it superficially resembles the workings of a clock. So how did it all come to be arranged so nicely?

In the following breath-taking documentary, Professor Brian Cox explains how three key concepts are all we need to understand how all this order arose out of the chaos of what was once only an amorphous cloud of dust: gravity, the conservation of angular momentum and orbital resonance. In order to illustrate the importance of these concepts, Cox explores a natural small-scale solar system that still reveals these processes: Saturn and its beautiful rings, including a remarkable appearance by Enceladus.

Oh yeah, while trying to explain the conservation of angular momentum, he also goes hunting for tornadoes... and then has to run away because he may have gotten too close :)




Don't forget to watch the first episode of this series, which focuses on the sun.

For more, check out the incredible promise of Saturn's moon Titan.

Or learn more about how truly remarkable complexity (like you and me) can literally arise out of disorder in Jim Al-Khalili's The Secret Life of Chaos.
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