The BEST Episodes of How the Universe Works

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Network: Science Channel

A users' guide to the cosmos, from the Big Bang to galaxies, stars, planets and moons: where did it all come from and how does it all fit together? A primer for anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky and wondered.

The Interstellar Mysteries

#1 - The Interstellar Mysteries

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 22, 2019

Interstellar space is the space between the universe's stars and new discoveries reveal that it's not empty and unremarkable as previously thought, but filled with weird objects and strange phenomena that might hold the darkest secrets of our cosmos.

star 8.37
41 votes
Secret History of Pluto

#2 - Secret History of Pluto

Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 3, 2017

Pluto is the subject, with an investigation into whether the planet has an underground ocean. The first close-up images of Pluto revealed unimaginable secrets of this mysterious frozen world. Now, scientists investigate if Pluto is home to a warm ocean of liquid water beneath its surface, and whether this underground ocean could harbour life.

star 8.29
101 votes
Galaxies

#3 - Galaxies

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired May 10, 2010

Galaxies, home to stars, planets and us, come in all shapes and sizes. Witnesses the evolution of galaxies; from clouds of cold gas floating in the voids of space 13 billion years ago, to the magnificent spirals that fill our night sky.

star 8.23
616 votes
Directors: Louise Say
Writers:
The First Oceans

#4 - The First Oceans

Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired Aug 25, 2015

For years, scientists suspected that the oceans came from molecules delivered to Earth from distant stars by asteroids, but a new discovery suggests that their true origins may be more exotic.

star 8.23
133 votes
Hunt for Alien Life

#5 - Hunt for Alien Life

Season 7 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 26, 2019

The latest discoveries suggest life beyond this planet; scientists investigate if earth's life began elsewhere in the universe, and whether humans need to evolve to know for sure.

star 8.23
35 votes
When Supernovas Strike

#6 - When Supernovas Strike

Season 7 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 15, 2019

Supernovas are the violent death of giant stars, and new discoveries reveal that these cataclysmic events create the elements that are essential to all life in the universe.

star 8.21
52 votes
Did the Big Bang Really Happen?

#7 - Did the Big Bang Really Happen?

Season 7 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 12, 2019

New discoveries are causing astronomers to question if the Big Bang really happened, and using the latest science, they investigate if it wasn't just the start of our universe but many mysterious multiverses.

star 8.20
40 votes
Forces of Mass Construction

#8 - Forces of Mass Construction

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Sep 1, 2015

Scientists attempt to understand how this strange force of magnetism works.

star 8.15
137 votes
Birth of the Earth

#9 - Birth of the Earth

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Aug 29, 2012

The Earth was formed by a series of cataclysms without which we would not exist. Could the same events have created other earth-like planets elsewhere in the Universe inhabited by creatures like us?

star 8.14
177 votes
Directors: George Harris
Writers:
Secret History of the Moon

#10 - Secret History of the Moon

Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired Aug 18, 2015

Our Moon is stranger than you think, and we reveal its incredible secrets. Can we thank the Moon for life on Earth? What explains the mysterious tunnels beneath its surface? Is a lunar base the key to humanity's future in space?

star 8.14
144 votes
Edge of the Universe

#11 - Edge of the Universe

Season 8 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 13, 2020

We don't yet know where the edge of the universe is or what happens there; but thanks to cutting-edge technology and new discoveries, experts might finally reveal the secrets of the phenomena that can be found in deepest reaches of the cosmos.

star 8.13
31 votes
Big Bang

#12 - Big Bang

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Apr 25, 2010

This is the greatest story ever told, the creation of everything us. The programme investigates how the Universe came into existence out of nothing, and how it grew from a miniscule point, smaller than an atomic particle, to the vast cosmos we see today.

star 8.11
813 votes
Directors: Louise Say
Writers:
Battle of the Dark Universe

#13 - Battle of the Dark Universe

Season 7 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 19, 2019

Dark matter and dark energy are locked in an epic battle for control of the cosmos, and the winner will determine the fate of the universe. New discoveries might reveal which force will emerge victorious.

star 8.11
35 votes
Dawn of Life

#14 - Dawn of Life

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Aug 11, 2015

Discovering how life on Earth came to be; the possibility that life on Earth come from another planet.

star 8.05
150 votes
Monster Black Hole

#15 - Monster Black Hole

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 28, 2015

A look inside the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way to discover terrifying secrets about parallel universes, wormholes, and space-time.

star 8.02
198 votes
Solar Systems

#16 - Solar Systems

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired May 24, 2010

Is our solar system unique? Since the first discovery of a planet orbiting another star, some 280 alien solar systems have been identified. It's only by looking at solar systems far beyond our own, that we can understand how remarkable our universe is.

star 8.00
562 votes
Directors: Lorne Townend
Writers:
Nightmares of Neutron Stars

#17 - Nightmares of Neutron Stars

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 8, 2019

Neutron stars are strange and violent phenomena that defy the laws of physics, and new discoveries reveal that these bizarre nightmares are far more deadly than we ever thought, with the power to destroy planets and even other stars.

star 8.00
60 votes
When NASA Met Jupiter

#18 - When NASA Met Jupiter

Season 8 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 6, 2020

NASA's Juno spacecraft is part of a cutting-edge mission to explore the mysteries of Jupiter, and as this mighty probe is pummeled with deadly radiation, it gathers new data that could change everything we know about the solar system's biggest planet.

star 8.00
23 votes
Earth's Death Orbit

#19 - Earth's Death Orbit

Season 8 - Episode 9 - Aired Feb 27, 2020

Earth's journey through the universe is a perilous one, and new discoveries reveal that our planet is heading toward a mysterious area of the cosmos that could eject us out of the Milky Way and into oblivion.

star 8.00
23 votes
Black Holes

#20 - Black Holes

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired May 2, 2010

Black Holes,the most powerful destroyers in the Universe, the most mysterious phenomena in the heavens. For years they were only speculation, now modern astronomy is proving them frighteningly real and showing that they may well shape everything we see.

star 7.99
690 votes
Directors: Peter Chinn
Writers:
Asteroids - Worlds that Never Were

#21 - Asteroids - Worlds that Never Were

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Aug 22, 2012

From icy worlds with more fresh water than Earth to flying mountains of pure metal, asteroids shaped our past and promise much for the future. Could these enigmatic space rocks hold the key to how life in the Universe arises and is extinguished?

star 7.97
153 votes
Directors: George Harris
Writers:
Cassini's Final Secrets

#22 - Cassini's Final Secrets

Season 7 - Episode 10 - Aired Mar 12, 2019

For twenty years, NASA's Cassini spacecraft revealed the strange secrets of Saturn until it vaporized in its atmosphere in a blaze of glory. But today its legacy lives on, as fresh data from the probe helps scientists make brand-new discoveries.

star 7.97
37 votes
Edge of the Solar System

#23 - Edge of the Solar System

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired Aug 4, 2015

Huge magnetic bubbles millions of miles wide; strange invisible matter, and a death star tearing through bands of icy comets, flinging them into violent orbits.

star 7.97
179 votes
Stars That Kill

#24 - Stars That Kill

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Jan 10, 2017

Exploring the real-life Death Stars in the cosmos that could snuff out Earth without much effort; the science of the destructive power behind six of the deadliest star; vampire stars; supernovas; rogue stars.

star 7.93
88 votes
Finding the New Earth

#25 - Finding the New Earth

Season 7 - Episode 9 - Aired Mar 5, 2019

New discoveries have revealed thousands of exoplanets beyond our solar system. Some resemble earth enough that one could be a new home for humanity. Even with cutting-edge technology, finding the perfect one is the scientific challenge of the age.

star 7.92
39 votes