How the Universe Works
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.
Where to Watch How the Universe Works
Where to stream every episode from all 6 seasons of How the Universe Works. Filter these episodes by what's available to watch free or on your streaming services using the tabs above.
Season 1Prime Video | Science | Rent or Buy
S01 E01Apr 26, 2010
Big Bang Apr 26, 2010 The programme investigates how the Universe came into existence out of nothing, and how it grew from a minuscule point, smaller than an atomic particle, to the vast cosmos we see today.
S01 E02May 3, 2010
Black Holes May 3, 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.
S01 E03May 11, 2010
Galaxies May 11, 2010 The evolution of galaxies, from clouds of cold gas floating in space 13 billion years ago, to the vast gravitationally bound systems of today.
S01 E04May 11, 2010
Stars May 11, 2010 Examining the birth of stars, and how their creation changed the cosmos for ever, leading to planets and life itself.
S01 E05May 18, 2010
Extreme Planets May 18, 2010 There are just eight planets in our solar system, but there could be a hundred billion planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone. This show follows the journey of planets as they grow from grains of dust to the magnificently diverse worlds we see today.
S01 E06May 18, 2010
Supernovas May 18, 2010 Stars are not eternal; they are dying in unimaginably large explosions called supernovas. Second only to the Big Bang, these explosions are where creation and destruction meet. Only now have we begun to understand how these wonders in our sky work.
S01 E07May 25, 2010
Solar Systems May 25, 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.
Season 2Prime Video | Science | Rent or Buy
S02 E01Jul 12, 2012
Volcanoes - The Furnaces of Life Jul 12, 2012 Are we alone in the Universe? What makes Earth so different? Part of the answer is our volcanoes. without them we would not be here either. Today we are discovering volcanoes on alien worlds. Are these worlds where, tomorrow, we might find life?
S02 E02Jul 19, 2012
Megastorms - The Winds of Creation Jul 19, 2012 Destructive weather forces are symptoms of Earth's creative energy. In our quest to discover if we are alone in the universe, we shouldn't just look for worlds, we should look for weather; find that megastorm, and maybe we will find alien life.
S02 E03Jul 26, 2012
Exoplanets - Planets from Hell Jul 26, 2012 We once thought that the only planets were in our solar system. We have found many other planets but they are nothing like we expected, from deep-frozen, toxic snowballs, to scorched and boiling nightmares. Is every planet out there a planet fom Hell?
S02 E04Aug 2, 2012
Megaflares - Cosmic Firestorms Aug 2, 2012 The Universe is a magnetic minefield. Spinning star systems crackle and explode, magnetic monsters rip worlds apart, star-quakes shoot beams of devastating energy, and galactic flamethrowers fire gamma-rays half way across the Universe. Will we find Earth in the firing line?
S02 E05Aug 9, 2012
Extreme Orbits - Clockwork and Creation Aug 9, 2012 We owe our existence to the stability of earth's orbit. But we are the freaks: everywhere else we look we find orbits are chaotic, unstable, and violent. Yet on the very largest scale, orbits are also a creative force, even constructing the fabric of the universe itself.
S02 E06Aug 16, 2012
Comets - Frozen Wanderers Aug 16, 2012 As time machines from the early universe, comets could hold the key to unlock the secrets of the cosmos, and may even be the origin of life itself. In this episode, we learn that comets are even more mysterious and fascinating than we had ever imagined.
S02 E07Aug 23, 2012
Asteroids - Worlds That Never Were Aug 23, 2012 Asteroids wiped out the dinosaurs and may be back for us but they also built the Earth and may have brought life to its barren surface. Asteroids will shape our future as much as our past and scientists are striving to unlock their secrets.
Season 3Science | Rent or Buy
S03 E01Jul 10, 2014
Journey from the Center of the Sun Jul 10, 2014 How does light escape from the sun? We take a journey from the centre of the sun, following the path of light. We witness its fiery birth from in the core, its 430,000 mile battle against gravity and magnetism, and its escape from the solar surface.
S03 E02Jul 17, 2014
The End of the Universe Jul 17, 2014 How and when will the Universe end? Gravity and dark matter are poised to annihilate the Universe in a big crunch. Expansion and dark energy may tear it apart. Or, a phase transition could kill us tomorrow in a cosmic death bubble.
S03 E03Jul 24, 2014
Jupiter: Destroyer or Savior? Jul 24, 2014 Beneath Jupiter's clouds lie our solar system's deepest secrets: from its violent youth, through the birth of life to the death of the sun. Scientists are discovering that the solar system, the Earth and every living thing exists because of Jupiter.
S03 E04Jul 31, 2014
First Second of the Big Bang Jul 31, 2014 The first second of the Universe, the creation of everything when space, time, matter and energy burst into existence. It is the most important second in history, which seals the Universe’s fate and defines everything that comes after - including us.
S03 E05Aug 7, 2014
Is Saturn Alive? Aug 7, 2014 Saturn’s secrets are out. The ferocious weather, the evolving ring system and the discovery of active geology on Saturn’s moons has rewritten the textbooks. Scientists are looking for life on Saturn’s moons and they may have found it on Titan.
S03 E06Aug 14, 2014
Weapons of Mass Extinction Aug 14, 2014 Asteroids strike, planets collide, black holes blast out death rays, volcanoes erupt and ice engulfs the planet. These are the universe’s weapons of extinction. They’ve happened before - wiping out entire species, and they will happen again. Are we next?
S03 E07Aug 21, 2014
Did a Black Hole Build the Milky Way? Aug 21, 2014 What built the Milky Way? New research might now have the answer, revealing an unlikely hero. At the heart of our galaxy sits a super massive black hole, one of the most destructive objects in the Universe. Could it be our creator?
Season 4Science | Rent or Buy
S04 E01Jul 15, 2015
How the Universe Built Your Car Jul 15, 2015 Beneath the hood of your car lies the history of the Universe. The iron in your chassis, the gold in your stereo and the copper in your electronics all owe their existence to violent cosmic events that took place billions of years ago.
S04 E02Jul 22, 2015
Earth, Venus's Evil Twin Jul 22, 2015 An examination of Venus; and what it may indicate about Earth's future.
S04 E03Jul 29, 2015
Monster Black Hole Jul 29, 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.
S04 E04Aug 5, 2015
Edge of the Solar System Aug 5, 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.
S04 E05Aug 12, 2015
Dawn Of Life Aug 12, 2015 Discovering how life on Earth came to be; the possibility that life on Earth come from another planet.
S04 E06Aug 19, 2015
Secret History of the Moon Aug 19, 2015 The incredible secrets of the moon are revealed; the moon might be responsible for life on Earth.
Season 5Science | Rent or Buy
S05 E01Nov 23, 2016
Most Amazing Discoveries Nov 23, 2016 From the furthest reaches of space to our own cosmic backyard, we count down the discoveries that changed everything we know about our universe.
S05 E02Nov 30, 2016
Mystery of Planet 9 Nov 30, 2016 Scientists have discovered a mysterious ninth planet on the very edge of our solar system. Ten times the size of Earth, this strange world could have moons with extraterrestrial life.
S05 E02Dec 6, 2016
Black Holes: The Secret Origin Dec 6, 2016 Recent discoveries could explain how supermassive black holes grow so big, one of the universe's most mysterious questions. Neither dark matter nor cannibalism can fully explain these monsters, but the latest science might finally provide an answer.
S05 E03Dec 7, 2016
Black Holes: The Secret Origin Dec 7, 2016 Recent discoveries could explain how supermassive black holes grow so big, one of the universe's most mysterious questions. Neither dark matter nor cannibalism can fully explain these monsters, but the latest science might finally provide an answer.
S05 E04Jan 4, 2017
Secret History of Pluto Jan 4, 2017 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 harbor life.
S05 E05Jan 11, 2017
Stars That Kill Jan 11, 2017 The universe is home to real-life Death Stars that could destroy planet Earth. The latest science reveals the terrifying secrets of NASA's six deadliest: vampire stars, supernovas that can vaporize a planet, and unpredictable stars gone rogue.
Season 6Science | Rent or Buy
S06 E01Jan 10, 2018
Are Black Holes Real? Jan 10, 2018 New discoveries are challenging everything we know about black holes, and astronomers are beginning to question if they even exist. The latest science tries to explain how they work and what they look like, despite the fact we've never actually seen one.
S06 E02Jan 17, 2018
Twin Suns: The Alien Mysteries Jan 17, 2018 Planets that orbit two suns instead of one might be deadly hell worlds, but new discoveries reveal that sci-fi star systems with binary stars might be optimal places for alien life.
S06 E03Jan 24, 2018
Dark History of the Solar System Jan 24, 2018 Our solar system hides a dark and violent past, and new discoveries reveal that Earth and the planets were formed from the destruction of strange alien worlds that came before us.
S06 E04Jan 31, 2018
Death of the Milky Way Jan 31, 2018 The Milky Way is dying, and using the latest science and discoveries, experts are investigating what's killing it.
S06 E05Feb 7, 2018
Uranus & Neptune: Rise of the Ice Giants Feb 7, 2018 Uranus and Neptune are mysterious, icy worlds at the edge of our solar system, and new discoveries reveal that these strange planets might have helped start life on Earth.
S06 E06Feb 14, 2018
Secret History of Mercury Feb 14, 2018 Mercury is a deadly world, facing attacks from the Sun, comets, and other planets, and even though it's the smallest planet in our solar system, it has a dangerous secret a dangerous secret that might one day threaten life on Earth.