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Modeling a Comet Airburst

Modeling a Comet Airburst

See why an explosion three miles above Earth would act like a hot tornado on the surface.
Clip Length 03:20 Premiere: 2.9.11

Program Details

NOVA

About NOVA

NOVA brings you stories from the frontlines of science and engineering, answering the big questions of today and tomorrow, from how our ancestors lived, to whether parallel universes exist, to how technology will transform our lives. Visit the official website to watch full-length documentaries, or explore our world through short-form video, on our digital publication NOVA Next.

TV Schedules

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Upcoming

Saving Notre Dame - S47 E8

Engineers and scientists are racing to protect and ultimately rebuild France's Notre Dame cathedral.

  • Tuesday December 7, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday December 7, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2

Rise of the Mammals - S46 E17

A new trove of fossils reveals how mammals took over after an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

  • Wednesday December 8, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday December 8, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET
  • Thursday December 9, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday December 9, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 10, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
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  • Sunday December 12, 2021 7:00 pm ET on KET2
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  • Tuesday December 14, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday December 14, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2

Decoding da Vinci - S46 E21

Discover how Leonardo da Vinci used science, from human dissections to innovative painting techniques, to create his legendary artwork. Learn why Mona Lisa's smile is so captivating - and what it took to create it.

  • Wednesday December 15, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday December 15, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET
  • Thursday December 16, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday December 16, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 17, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
  • Friday December 17, 2021 1:00 am CT on KET
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 7:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 6:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Tuesday December 21, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday December 21, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2

Decoding the Great Pyramid - S46 E4

New archaeological evidence provides clues about the Egyptians who built the Great Pyramid of Giza - and how they did it.

  • Wednesday December 22, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday December 22, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET
  • Thursday December 23, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday December 23, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 24, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
  • Friday December 24, 2021 1:00 am CT on KET
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 7:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 6:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Tuesday December 28, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday December 28, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2

Secrets of the Forbidden City - S44 E15

Explore the ingenious engineering of Beijing's Forbidden City, the power center of imperial China.

  • Wednesday December 29, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday December 29, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET
  • Thursday December 30, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday December 30, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 31, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
  • Friday December 31, 2021 1:00 am CT on KET
  • Sunday January 2, 2022 7:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday January 2, 2022 6:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Tuesday January 4, 2022 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday January 4, 2022 2:00 am CT on KET2
Jump to Upcoming Airdates

Recent

Saving Notre Dame - S47 E8

  • Thursday December 2, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday December 2, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET

NOVA Universe Revealed: Big Bang - S48 E19

  • Friday November 26, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
  • Friday November 26, 2021 1:00 am CT on KET
  • Thursday November 25, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday November 25, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday November 24, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday November 24, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET

NOVA Universe Revealed: Black Holes - S48 E18

  • Tuesday November 23, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday November 23, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 7:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 6:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 19, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
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  • Thursday November 18, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday November 18, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday November 17, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday November 17, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET

NOVA Universe Revealed: Alien Worlds - S48 E17

  • Tuesday November 16, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday November 16, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 7:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 6:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 12, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
  • Friday November 12, 2021 1:00 am CT on KET
  • Thursday November 11, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday November 11, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday November 10, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday November 10, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET

NOVA Universe Revealed: Milky Way - S48 E16

  • Tuesday November 9, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday November 9, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 7:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 6:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 5, 2021 2:00 am ET on KET
  • Friday November 5, 2021 1:00 am CT on KET
  • Thursday November 4, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday November 4, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday November 3, 2021 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday November 3, 2021 8:00 pm CT on KET

NOVA Universe Revealed: Age of Stars - S48 E15

  • Tuesday November 2, 2021 3:00 am ET on KET2
  • Tuesday November 2, 2021 2:00 am CT on KET2
Top

Season Episodes

Search Engine Breakdown

S48 E101 Length 20:37 Premiere Date 4.14.21

NOVA Universe Revealed: Big Bang

S48 E19 Length 53:27 Premiere Date 11.24.21

NOVA Universe Revealed: Black Holes

S48 E18 Length 53:27 Premiere Date 11.17.21

NOVA Universe Revealed: Alien Worlds

S48 E17 Length 53:27 Premiere Date 11.10.21

NOVA Universe Revealed: Milky Way

S48 E16 Length 53:26 Premiere Date 11.3.21

NOVA Universe Revealed: Age of Stars

S48 E15 Length 53:27 Premiere Date 10.27.21

Edible Insects

S48 E14 Length 53:28 Premiere Date 10.20.21

Arctic Drift

S48 E13 Length 53:32 Premiere Date 10.13.21

Particles Unknown

S48 E12 Length 53:28 Premiere Date 10.6.21

The Cannabis Question

S48 E11 Length 53:32 Premiere Date 9.29.21

Bat Superpowers

S48 E10 Length 53:23 Premiere Date 9.15.21

Ship That Changed the World

S48 E9 Length 53:12 Premiere Date 6.2.21

Great Electric Airplane Race

S48 E7 Length 53:06 Premiere Date 5.26.21

Hindenburg: The New Evidence

S48 E6 Length 53:13 Premiere Date 5.19.21

Fighting for Fertility

S48 E5 Length 53:06 Premiere Date 5.12.21

Reef Rescue

S48 E4 Length 53:21 Premiere Date 4.21.21

Picture a Scientist

S48 E3 Length 1:33:06 Premiere Date 4.14.21

Looking for Life on Mars

S48 E2 Length 53:46 Premiere Date 2.24.21

Secrets in our DNA

S48 E1 Length 53:26 Premiere Date 1.13.21

Surviving an Elevator Fall

Clip Length 01:31 Premiere Date 8.23.10

Shabbat Elevator

Clip Length 02:42 Premiere Date 8.23.10

Six Questions with David Pogue

Clip Length 02:33 Premiere Date 1.4.11

A Mind for Music

Clip Length 04:05 Premiere Date 2.9.11

Modeling a Comet Airburst

Clip Length 03:20 Premiere Date 2.9.11

Green Energy in China

Clip Length 05:09 Premiere Date 4.12.11

A Strict Carbon Diet

Clip Length 02:58 Premiere Date 4.12.11

Brian Greene Answers Your Questions

Clip Length 01:07 Premiere Date 8.2.11

The 9/11 Memorial Mock-Up

Clip Length 01:54 Premiere Date 8.24.11

Solving an Engineering Problem

Clip Length 02:49 Premiere Date 8.24.11

Walls of Glass

Clip Length 02:29 Premiere Date 8.24.11

The Memorial Plaques

Clip Length 02:31 Premiere Date 8.24.11

Rebuilding 7 World Trade Center

Clip Length 01:48 Premiere Date 8.31.11

Specials

Picture a Scientist (with Audio Description)

Length 1:52:37 Premiere Date 4.14.21

Looking for Life on Mars (with Audio Description)

Length 53:46 Premiere Date 2.24.21

Beyond the Elements: Life (with Audio Description)

Length 53:17 Premiere Date 2.17.21

Secrets in our DNA (with Audio Description)

Length 53:26 Premiere Date 1.13.21

Treasures Metals Eiffel Tower

Length 02:09 Premiere Date 12.9.16

A Labyrinth of Lava

Length 01:13 Premiere Date 11.2.15

Driving Dinosaur Diversity

Length 01:47 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Pangea

Length 00:56 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Making Granite From Volcanic Rock

Length 02:16 Premiere Date 10.22.15

A Massive Volcanic Eruption

Length 01:14 Premiere Date 10.22.15

From Mud to Rock

Length 01:36 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Finding Stromatolites

Length 01:23 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Stromatolites Were Kings

Length 01:05 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Ancient Life

Length 00:28 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Millions of Years Captured in Chalk

Length 01:17 Premiere Date 10.22.15

A Fourteen-Foot Fish From Kansas

Length 01:38 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Hell Creek Formation

Length 01:10 Premiere Date 10.22.15

No Dinosaurs Above the Line

Length 02:00 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Mammal Survivors

Length 01:40 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Dinosaur Fossils

Length 01:53 Premiere Date 10.22.15

King of Gore

Length 02:00 Premiere Date 10.22.15

Manhattan Skyline

Length 00:52 Premiere Date 10.21.15

New York's Mountains

Length 01:13 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Rock Time Capsules

Length 01:18 Premiere Date 10.21.15

The Sandstone Top of the Canyon

Length 01:15 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Fossil-Filled Limestone

Length 00:54 Premiere Date 10.21.15

The Grand Canyon's Oldest Rocks

Length 00:19 Premiere Date 10.21.15

From Lava to Land

Length 02:14 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Semi-Precious Pebbles

Length 00:57 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Five Steps of Volcanic Rock

Length 00:26 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Tearing North America Apart

Length 01:01 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Fossilized Sand Dunes

Length 01:15 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Volcanoes of Sand

Length 01:33 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Rockies 2.0

Length 02:00 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Manhattan Schist

Length 01:13 Premiere Date 10.21.15

Grand Canyon 4

Length 00:19 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Mendenhall Glacier

Length 02:51 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Monument Rocks 1

Length 01:18 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Monument Rocks 2

Length 01:48 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Exuma Cays 1

Length 01:26 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Exuma Cays 3

Length 00:28 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Exuma Cays 4

Length 03:22 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Gooseberry Falls 1

Length 00:57 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Gooseberry Falls 2

Length 00:24 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Gooseberry Falls 3

Length 01:06 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Gooseberry Falls 4

Length 01:01 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Mount Kilauea

Length 01:30 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Grand Canyon 1

Length 01:19 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Grand Canyon 2

Length 01:05 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Grand Canyon 3

Length 00:58 Premiere Date 8.2.15

Lethal Seas Excerpt 1

Length 04:11 Premiere Date 5.12.15

Lethal Seas Excerpt 2

Length 01:00 Premiere Date 5.12.15

Lethal Seas Excerpt 3

Length 00:35 Premiere Date 5.12.15

Lethal Seas Excerpt 4

Length 00:51 Premiere Date 5.12.15

The Mother of Hubble

Length 02:28 Premiere Date 4.14.15

Formation of a Typhoon

Length 01:34 Premiere Date 6.25.14

Flatfish Larvae

Length 00:51 Premiere Date 5.6.14

RNAi Explained

Length 01:47 Premiere Date 4.22.14

Dolphin Mirror

Length 03:18 Premiere Date 4.22.14

Dogs' Sense of Time

Length 01:28 Premiere Date 4.13.14

Cockatoo Excerpt

Length 01:30 Premiere Date 4.8.14

How Solar Cells Work

Length 00:33 Premiere Date 2.26.14

Solar Power's Promise

Length 00:51 Premiere Date 2.26.14

Microneedle

Length 01:41 Premiere Date 12.30.13

Non-Newtonian Gel

Length 01:00 Premiere Date 11.15.13

GM Plants

Length 01:27 Premiere Date 11.15.13

Soft-Story Buildings

Length 07:36 Premiere Date 11.13.13

Levitation

Length 00:50 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Superconductor

Length 01:47 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Animal Robot 1

Length 02:35 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Animal Robot 2

Length 02:02 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Therapeutic Hypothermia

Length 01:11 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Therapeutic Hypothermia 2

Length 01:07 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Therapeutic Hypothermia 3

Length 01:43 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Therapeutic Hypothermia 4

Length 02:01 Premiere Date 10.24.13

Swarming Robots

Length 01:31 Premiere Date 10.21.13

Sneak Peek: Making Stuff Wilder

Length 06:14 Premiere Date 10.21.13

Sail Wing

Length 01:02 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Hydrofoil

Length 01:01 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Chicken Feathers

Length 01:56 Premiere Date 10.19.13

KillaCycle

Length 00:48 Premiere Date 10.19.13

How Batteries Work

Length 00:49 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Muon Detection

Length 01:52 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Muons

Length 01:25 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Plants White

Length 02:11 Premiere Date 10.19.13

DNA Patch

Length 01:19 Premiere Date 10.19.13

DNA Vaccine

Length 00:38 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Earthquake Test

Length 02:03 Premiere Date 10.19.13

David Drives

Length 01:27 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Virus Battery

Length 02:21 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Shelley

Length 02:07 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Robot Arm

Length 00:56 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Elephant Arm

Length 01:22 Premiere Date 10.19.13

FinGripper

Length 00:55 Premiere Date 10.19.13

Hagfish Defense

Length 01:36 Premiere Date 10.17.13

Slime Clothes

Length 01:00 Premiere Date 10.17.13

Pitcher Plant

Length 01:48 Premiere Date 10.17.13

SLIPS

Length 01:01 Premiere Date 10.17.13

Hagfish

Length 00:51 Premiere Date 10.17.13

New York City One Year Later: Telecommunications

Length 03:14 Premiere Date 10.16.13

Sneak Peek: Making Stuff Faster

Length 05:06 Premiere Date 10.15.13

David's Race

Length 01:28 Premiere Date 10.15.13

Steffen's Plan

Length 01:59 Premiere Date 10.15.13

Traveling Salesman

Length 01:21 Premiere Date 10.15.13

Eye Robot

Length 01:51 Premiere Date 10.10.13

Corkscrew Robot

Length 00:32 Premiere Date 10.10.13

Slow Goldfish

Length 01:39 Premiere Date 10.10.13

Bee Toxin

Length 01:31 Premiere Date 10.10.13

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Length 03:36 Premiere Date 10.7.13

Invisibility Cloak

Length 01:22 Premiere Date 9.24.13

Shape Memory Alloys

Length 00:32 Premiere Date 9.8.13

Jellyfish

Length 00:38 Premiere Date 9.8.13

Bird Wings

Length 01:56 Premiere Date 9.8.13

Shrinking Chips

Length 01:06 Premiere Date 9.5.13

Pizza Transistor

Length 01:34 Premiere Date 9.5.13

Graphene

Length 01:11 Premiere Date 9.5.13

Wheat Straw Plastic

Length 01:04 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Solar Leaves

Length 00:53 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Battle Jacket

Length 01:49 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Oobleck

Length 00:40 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Magnetic Oobleck

Length 00:54 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Life-Saving Non-Newtonian Fluids

Length 01:43 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Silicon Transistors

Length 00:50 Premiere Date 8.29.13

Starling 8

Length 00:44 Premiere Date 7.15.13

sandy-raw-1-2

Length 00:04 Premiere Date 7.8.13

sandy-raw-5-1

Length 01:02 Premiere Date 7.8.13

Chemotherapy Goes Small

Length 01:17 Premiere Date 7.1.13

The Making of a Cloud Old

Length 03:10 Premiere Date 6.30.13

Why So Many Cloud Types?

Length 03:35 Premiere Date 6.30.13

Clouds and Weather

Length 03:21 Premiere Date 6.30.13

Severe Storms

Length 03:37 Premiere Date 6.30.13

The Climate Wild Card

Length 03:02 Premiere Date 6.30.13

Life on Europa?

Length 02:25 Premiere Date 6.9.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_03

Length 01:41 Premiere Date 5.29.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_04

Length 01:43 Premiere Date 5.29.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_05

Length 01:04 Premiere Date 5.29.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_06

Length 00:40 Premiere Date 5.29.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_07

Length 03:07 Premiere Date 5.29.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_01

Length 00:35 Premiere Date 5.28.13

CloudLab_Megastorm_02

Length 00:31 Premiere Date 5.28.13

What Made the 1918 Flu So Deadly?

Length 01:28 Premiere Date 5.13.13

How the 1918 Flu Infected People

Length 00:25 Premiere Date 5.13.13

Fertilizing the Amazon

Length 03:27 Premiere Date 4.21.13

Flu Probabilities

Length 01:53 Premiere Date 4.16.13

Rare Earth Elements

Length 04:17 Premiere Date 4.1.13

CHNOPS: Ingredients for Life

Length 02:36 Premiere Date 3.12.13

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Length 00:44 Premiere Date 2.28.13

MODIS Sensor

Length 00:26 Premiere Date 2.28.13

Solving the Storage Problem

Length 02:26 Premiere Date 10.25.12

Putting Energy to Use Old

Length 02:14 Premiere Date 10.8.12

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