Segments in this Video

Space Blasts (03:28)


Blasts of all kinds have one thing in common: they are huge liberations of energy. In 1994, comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 released 21 discernible fragments on Jupiter, some with diameters estimated at up to 2 kilometers.

Blast that Demolished the Dinosaurs (04:21)

The tenth largest blast occurred about 65 million years ago when the Chicxulub space rock the size of Mt. Everest crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula. The energy in every blast is released in several ways: light, heat, and kinetic energy.

Martian Impact: Ninth Largest Blast (01:56)

The Martian asteroid was 200 times the size of the Chicxulub asteroid that crashed into Earth. It occurred 3.9 million years ago, leaving destruction on 40% of Mars. The crater is called the Borealis basin.

Earth: Eighth Largest Blast (04:23)

Long before life appeared, an asteroid the size of Mars crashed into Earth about 4.6 billion years ago. The crusts of both the asteroid and Earth were blasted loose and ultimately coalesced into the Earth's moon.

Seventh Largest Blast: When Worlds Collide (02:31)

Some researchers think that a massive blast rocked the cosmos in the last thousand years in a binary star system 300 light years away. Two planets collided, and both turned to dust.

Sixth Largest Blast: Magnetar Flares (06:50)

Magnetars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that form when stars many times the size of the sun begin to die. A magnetar blast in 2004, in the constellation Sagittarius, shut down satellite communication in Earth's orbit.

Fifth Largest Blast: The Hundred Million Year Blast (03:11)

A super-massive black hole billions of times the mass of the sun wreaks havoc in the center of a cluster of galaxies 2.6 billion light years from Earth.

Fourth Largest Blast: Short Gamma Ray Bursts (04:54)

Gamma ray bursts are more concentrated than magnetar flares. Energy shoots out in the form of jets traveling almost at the speed of light. One blast contains the energy that the sun releases in one million years.

Third Largest Blast: Supernovas (04:51)

Two kinds of supernovas exist--those that occur for a single massive star and those that occur because of mass transfer onto a white dwarf in a binary system. These blasts, observed from Earth, are billions of light years away.

Second Largest Blast: Long Gamma Ray Bursts (04:42)

Long gamma ray bursts can last from 2 seconds to one-half hour, and they release more than 10,000 times the energy of short gamma ray bursts. These bursts are evidence of the creation of a black hole. In 2008, the largest of these blasts on record was seen from Earth.

Most Powerful Blast: The Big Bang (03:23)

The Big Bang is more accurately an expansion rather than a blast. It contained all of space, the fabric of space-time itself. Researchers calculate to within a fraction of a second of the Big Bang explosion. This explosion was a creative force.

Credits: Biggest Blasts (00:26)

Credits: Biggest Blasts

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Biggest Blasts

Part of the Series : The Universe
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



This program catalogues the most powerful blasts in the universe, working its way up from massive meteor strikes, to supernova explosions and gamma ray bursts, to the detonation that started it all: the Big Bang. Distributed by A&E Television Networks. A part of the series The Universe. (45 minutes)

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL43138

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

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