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Secrets Of The Sun with Dara Ó Briain | Preview (Channel 5)

In this two-part series, Dara Ó Briain embarks on another journey of discovery, this time exploring our relationship with the Sun.

Dara meets solar experts at the forefront of their fields – from medical researchers to biologists. He talks to physicists figuring out how to protect the Earth from solar superstorms and engineers actually building a sun on earth, in the form of the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor.

The Sun, a 4.5-billion-year-old star really does dominate our lives, because without it, we quite literally wouldn’t be here. Dara starts in the Lone Star state, Texas and is extremely excited, going to watch one of the rarest of solar events, a total eclipse. We join him – and thousands of others as they gather to share this amazing experience.

After he’s taken in the eclipse, Dara meets astronomer, Professor Stella Offner, whose research focuses on understanding how stars like the Sun form. Stella explains how the Sun was created and just how ferociously powerful our star is – but that without it there wouldn’t be life on Earth.

At Kew Gardens we meet molecular biologist Dr Caspar Chater, who reveals how energy from the Sun was harnessed by early life forms, allowing them to evolve into the species we see today and how their actions transformed the planet – ultimately making it suitable for humans.

For thousands of years humanity has worshipped the Sun – our ancestors even built monuments like Stonehenge to use it – and Dara next meets today’s modern equivalents - a family who live and farm totally off-grid relying on the Sun’s energy for all their power needs.

Although we have to be careful not to get sunburnt, the Sun is vital for human health. Dara visits a couple in Kent who have taken this to – some would say – the extreme, and meets medical doctor Professor Richard Weller, who explains just how important sunlight is to people.

For decades we’ve been using solar panels to harness the Sun’s clean energy – but the real dream is to copy the way the Sun works – fusion – and build a fusion reactor on earth. Dara visits ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in the South of France to meet the engineers and scientists doing just that.

Secrets Of The Sun with Dara Ó Briain begins Tuesday 16th July on Channel 5.


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