Experiencing Hubble: Exploring the Milky Way

Hitch a ride on the Hubble Space Telescope and enjoy eye-opening and jaw-dropping views of the galaxy we call home.
Experiencing Hubble: Exploring the Milky Way is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 38.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular Professor Meyer has a rare ability to present technical details in an engaging manner and illustrate them with stunning images. I loved his previous two courses; I've re-watched them multiple times and shared them with friends. I was very excited to see that he has produced another course - and it certainly did not disappoint!
Date published: 2021-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can’t Get Enough of Dr. Myer’s videos My favorite videos of Great Courses. I heaved a sigh when each one came to an end. But I’m rewatching since A year has passed and just as good the second time around. Fantastic!
Date published: 2021-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! What a wonderful glimpse into our present and future space.
Date published: 2021-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course Excellent course. The pictures shown from the Hubble telescope are totally awesome (Video is needed to appreciate this course). The presenter is just right for this course and the course size is just right. What's amazing is how the human race has matured to be able to determine distances, luminosity, star/galaxy ages, etc. Highly recommend this to all.
Date published: 2021-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDERFUL IMAGES WITH GREAT KNOWLEDGE Really great images thru Hubble and other sources. Also the information provided is very interesting. This is a great short class well worth it!
Date published: 2021-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely interesting! This was my first effort to return to the studies of my youth. The photos and animation are light years beyond what was available when I was in college. An excellent reintroduction to astronomy during my retirement years.
Date published: 2021-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Very well structured course with beautiful images and explanatory schemas, but for me the most important feature was that the explanations are easy to understand. I am having a telescope and this course helped me to understand what I see on the sky.
Date published: 2021-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating This is a challenging course if you are not well versed in the topic (as I am not) but I found it to be very accessible and captivating. Beautiful images, excellent animations and a better understanding of the different types of stars and their life cycle was a huge part of my appreciation. It is also current, including information about the black hole Messier 87. I remember being disappointed when I first saw that picture but this course demonstrates the incredible feat of getting it. If I had to indicate one take away, it would be a better comprehension of the vastness of space and the infinite variety it offers. I now look forward to see the results of the James Webb Space Telescope when it launches at the end of 2021.
Date published: 2020-12-30
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Overview

Explore the Milky Way galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope and a prominent astronomer.

About

David M. Meyer
David M. Meyer

I have found no better way to communicate the joy of discovery in astronomy than through the beautiful cosmic images obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope.

INSTITUTION

Northwestern University

Dr. David M. Meyer is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University, where he is also Director of the Dearborn Observatory and Co-Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics. He earned his B.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles. He continued his studies as a Robert R. McCormick Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago's Enrico Fermi Institute before joining the Northwestern faculty. Professor Meyer's research focuses on the spectroscopic study of interstellar and extragalactic gas clouds-work carried out over the past 15 years with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope. Along with his collaborators, Professor Meyer has conducted 20 research projects with Hubble, resulting in 25 peer-reviewed publications. He has also served five times on the committee that annually selects the most deserving proposals for Hubble observing time. During his career at Northwestern, Professor Meyer has specialized in designing and teaching introductory undergraduate courses in astronomy, cosmology, and astro-biology for non-science majors. His many teaching awards include the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence, Northwestern's highest teaching honor. Beyond campus, Professor Meyer has delivered popular talks on Hubble to young and old in settings as far-flung as a transatlantic crossing.

By This Professor

Experiencing Hubble: Exploring the Milky Way

Trailer

The Unseen Face of Our Spiral Galaxy

01: The Unseen Face of Our Spiral Galaxy

Your Hubble Space Telescope tour of the Milky Way galaxy begins with an overview of the spectacular images you will encounter in the course. Dr. Meyer notes that our location in the disk of the Milky Way makes it difficult to discern the galaxy’s large-scale structure. But by studying clues both near and far, astronomers have identified another spiral galaxy that is a close match to ours.

30 min
Viewing the Galaxy through a Comet

02: Viewing the Galaxy through a Comet

Focus on Comet ISON as it passes inside the orbit of Jupiter, just a few light-minutes from Earth. In the same frame, Hubble reveals additional distant objects in our galaxy, but also galaxies billions of light years distant—a striking case of extreme depth of field. Discover that comets are icy leftovers from the formation of the solar system, and they populate the Oort Cloud, which extends partway to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri.

29 min
A Cloud of Stardust: The Horsehead Nebula

03: A Cloud of Stardust: The Horsehead Nebula

Your stop in this lecture is the famous Horsehead Nebula—a two-light-year appendage of a vast molecular cloud composed of gas and dust. Dr. Meyer discusses the physical processes that turn these clouds into stellar nurseries. The horsehead shape is the accidental outcome of ultraviolet radiation pouring from a nearby young star, which acts like a blowtorch on the dark nebular material.

30 min
A Star Awakens: The Jets of Herbig-Haro 24

04: A Star Awakens: The Jets of Herbig-Haro 24

Described in a Hubble press release as a “cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber,” Herbig-Haro 24 is a pair of energetic jets emerging from the polar regions of a newborn star. Such jets are a common feature in star-forming regions. Their high speed and tendency to form in pulses allow long-lived observatories like Hubble to show them in action via time-lapse movies made over several years.

28 min
A Star Cluster Blossoms: Westerlund 2

05: A Star Cluster Blossoms: Westerlund 2

Visit some of the hottest, most luminous stars in the galaxy, the young cluster known as Westerlund 2. Compare this group with other star clusters, using the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to grasp what color and luminosity say about stellar evolution. Drawing on this information, predict the future of Westerlund 2, and reflect on the cluster where the Sun probably formed 4.6 billion years ago.

29 min
An Interstellar Cavity: The Bubble Nebula

06: An Interstellar Cavity: The Bubble Nebula

Focus on the delicate Bubble Nebula, a sphere of gas 8 light-years across, which is being inflated by the strong wind from a hot, young star 45 times more massive than the Sun. Many such structures have been recorded by Hubble, vividly showing the process of mass loss by stars—sometimes gradually, sometimes explosively—which enriches space with elements heavier than helium.

28 min
The Interstellar Echo of a Variable Star

07: The Interstellar Echo of a Variable Star

In one of the most beautiful sequences ever photographed by Hubble, a ring of light radiates through a nebula—like ripples from a stone tossed in a pond. This view is the light echo of a Cepheid variable star, seen in time-lapse as it reverberates at light speed through the surrounding dust cloud. Learn how the properties of Cepheids are the key to measuring distances in our galactic neighborhood.

31 min
Tracing the Veil of a Prehistoric Supernova

08: Tracing the Veil of a Prehistoric Supernova

Thousands of years ago, light from a stellar explosion in the constellation Cygnus reached Earth. Ever since, remnants of that supernova event have been speeding apart, until they now form a ghostly feature called the Veil Nebula. View Hubble and other telescopic images to learn how supernovae shape the elemental composition of the galaxy, making possible rocky planets such as Earth.

30 min
The Stellar Vortex at the Galactic Center

09: The Stellar Vortex at the Galactic Center

Begin a new section of the course that investigates the large-scale structure of the Milky Way. In this lecture, journey to the galactic center, which Hubble shows to be populated by millions of densely packed stars, orbiting a black hole with the mass of 4 million suns. Study other examples of supermassive black holes in galactic cores and theories on how they form.

30 min
The Galactic Halo’s Largest Star Cluster

10: The Galactic Halo’s Largest Star Cluster

Over a hundred globular star clusters are scattered like sparkling snow globes in a halo around the Milky Way. Each is composed of hundreds of thousands to millions of stars. Explore Hubble’s views of the inner regions of these clusters, learning their connection to the early epoch of star formation in the universe. Some of the clusters are remnants of dwarf galaxies, captured by the Milky Way.

30 min
Satellite Galaxies: The Magellanic Clouds

11: Satellite Galaxies: The Magellanic Clouds

Zero in on the largest of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies: the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, known as LMC and SMC. View Hubble’s images of the Tarantula Nebula with its brilliant cluster R136 in the LMC, and NGC 602 in the SMC (often voted as one of the top 10 Hubble photos of all time). Trace the likely history of the Magellanic Clouds and their link to the origin of the Milky Way.

31 min
The Future of the Milky Way

12: The Future of the Milky Way

Finish your tour of the Milky Way by traveling to the nearest large galaxy, Andromeda, seeing it in a dazzling composite of 7,400 Hubble exposures in 411 star fields. Chart the fate of the Milky Way as Andromeda speeds toward it for a collision billions of years from now. Hubble’s views of other galactic collisions show what to expect from this surprisingly graceful merger of two giant galaxies.

30 min