Science Night 4/25

Nature “Radioactive Wolves” at 7 pm
The historic nuclear accident at Chernobyl is now 25 years old. Filmmakers and scientists set out to document the lives of the packs of wolves and other wildlife thriving in the “dead zone” that still surrounds the remains of the reactor.

Nova “Secrets of the Sun” at 8 pm
It contains 99.9 percent of all the matter in our solar system and sheds hot plasma at nearly a million miles an hour. The temperature at its core is a staggering 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. It convulses, it blazes, it sings. You know it as the sun. Scientists know it as one of the most amazing physics laboratories in the universe. Now, with the help of new spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes, scientists are seeing the Sun as they never have before and even re-creating what happens at the very center of the Sun in labs here on Earth. Their work will help us understand aspects of the sun that have puzzled scientists for decades. But more critically, it may help us predict and track solar storms that have the power to zap our power grid, shut down telecommunications, and ground global air travel for days, weeks, or even longer. Such storms have happened before-but never in the modern era of satellite communication. SECRETS OF THE SUN reveals a bright new dawn in our understanding of our nearest star-one that might help keep our planet from going dark.

America Revealed “Electric Nation” at 9 pm
Our modern electric power grid has been called the biggest and most complex machine in the world – delivering electricity over 200,000 miles of high-tension transmission lines. Travel around the country with host Yul Kwon to understand its intricacies, its vulnerabilities and the remarkable ingenuity required to keep the electricity on, every day of the year. At New York State’s governing grid control room, learn how a massive blackout cut power to 40 million Americans; to understand how we can protect against this type of colossal failure, join a team who makes daring repairs from the side of a helicopter in flight. Visit the country’s largest coal mine, rappel down the side of a wind turbine, take a rare tour of a nuclear plant and travel on a massive tanker – as Kwon reflects on the challenges and opportunities to keep the power flowing.