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The Best TV Documentaries About Astronomy

Updated March 10, 2020 72 votes 31 voters 3.0k views11 items

List RulesVote up the best TV shows about astronomy.

There's something captivating about non-fiction TV that allows even seemingly boring subjects to pull you in and hold your attention episode after episode. While most of us would've tuned out any teacher who tried to get us to learn astronomy, whenever an astronomy documentary series comes on TV there's few of us who can resist the temptation to tune in. The best astronomy shows are a mix of breathtaking visuals, awe-inspiring narration, and interviews with some of the smartest people on the planet. Simply put, astronomy documentary shows make us feel smart and the best ones are just plain old entertaining TV.

Whether you're flipping through the channels on a day off, burning hours at a time on Netflix, or actively seeking out and sharing clips of your favorite astronomy documentaries online, there's no denying that the top astronomy shows can pull us into their orbit and keep us there. So let's break out the telescope, venture into a black hole that sucks up all of our time, and rank the best astronomy documentary series. 

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  • Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Documentaries About Astronomy
    Video: YouTube
    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 2014 American science documentary television series. The show is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan on the Public Broadcasting Service and is considered a milestone for scientific documentaries. This series was developed to bring back the foundation of science to network television at the height of other scientific-based television series and films. The show is presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who, as a young college student, was inspired by Sagan. Among the executive producers are Seth MacFarlane, whose financial investment was instrumental in bringing the show to broadcast... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Stoney Emshwiller
    • Premiered: 2014
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  • How the Universe Works is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Documentaries About Astronomy
    Video: YouTube
    How the Universe Works is a mini-series that originally aired on the Discovery Channel April 25, 2010 to May 24, 2010. The first and third seasons were narrated by Mike Rowe and the second by Erik Todd Dellums. The first season was released on Blu-ray on February 28, 2012. The second season of the show moved to The Science Channel, consisting of 8 episodes. The second season aired between July 11, 2012 and August 29, 2012. The third season aired between July 9, 2014 and September 3, 2014.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Mike Rowe, Erik Todd Dellums
    • Premiered: 2010
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  • Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Documentaries About Astronomy
    Video: YouTube
    Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David Oyster, Richard Wells, Tom Weidlinger, and others. It covers a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980, and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until The Civil War. As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Carl Sagan
    • Premiered: 1980
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    Star Gazers

    Star Gazers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Documentaries About Astronomy
    Video: YouTube
    Star Gazers (formerly known as Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler and later Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer) is a five-minute astronomy show on American public television previously hosted by Jack Foley Horkheimer, executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium. After his death in 2010 from a respiratory illness from which he had suffered since childhood, a series of guest astronomers hosted until 2011, when Dean Regas, James Albury, and Marlene Hidalgo became permanent co-hosts. On the weekly program, the host informs the viewer of significant astronomical events for the upcoming week, including key constellations, stars and planets, lunar eclipses and conjunctions, as well as historical... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Jack Horkheimer
    • Premiered: 1976
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