Cosmos—the reboot of Carl Sagan’s 1980s documentary series—premiered on nine different channels on Sunday to critical acclaim. The new host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, honored the memory of the original series by making astronomy unbelievable and accessible at the same time. Often during the first episode, one couldn’t help but feel dwarfed by the subject at hand. Here, some of the most awe-inspiring moments.
Riding Along in Neil’s Ship of Imagination
A holdover from the original series, the Ship of Imagination is now captained by Tyson. The thing is part Enterprise and part DeLorean from Back to the Future. It would not be surprising to see it blow up the Death Star in later episodes.
Looking at Rogue Planets
Neil explains that a rogue planet is a planet without a sun—one that can be seen only with infrared light. When he lights up the galaxy to show billions of planets we didn’t know existed, it’s enough to make a guy feel pretty small.
During the Galaxy Zoom Out
Next we step back and see all of the other galaxies. Spoiler alert: There are a lot of them. And each galaxy contains “billions of suns and countless worlds.”
Watching the Multiverse Bubbles
In case you were thinking that someday, when we’re jumping from galaxy to galaxy, we’ll be able to explore everything around us, deGrasse pulled back one more time to explain that our observable universe doesn’t come close to capturing what’s really out there. It’s a real-life version of Men In Black.
Enduring the Terrifying Pope Cartoon
A big chunk of the episode animated the story of Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk who surmised, among other things, that the sun did not orbit the Earth—a belief for which he was not treated very well. While not exactly on a cosmic scale, the scary Sin City–version of the Pope who banishes Bruno to the hinterlands did makes us shrink up a little bit.
Absorbing the Number “13.8 Thousand Million Years”
This is the age of the Earth. He could have just said 13.8 billion, but this sounds way more intimidating.
Contemplating the Cosmic Year
For this experiment, deGrasse wanted us to imagine that the entire timeline of our universe as a single 12-month calendar. Got that? How much of that calendar do all human beings occupy? Just a few seconds of the last minute of the last day.
But don’t worry, that tweet you’re sending is still super important.