Netflix Academy: The best streaming videos on outer space

Note: This post is part of our series, "Netflix Academy: The best educational videos available for streaming." Be sure to check out our previous Netflix Academy posts on dinosaursaquatic lifeinsectsfrogs and other amphibiansreptilesbirdsmammalshuman evolutionearthquakes and volcanoesAncient Asian Culturesearly American civilizationsAncient GreeceAncient RomeNative American culturesChristopher Columbus and the Age of DiscoveryColonial America and the Revolutionary War; the American founders; the Lewis and Clark expeditionmovie adaptations of classic children’s books, and American folk heroes.

Understanding outer space is, quite literally, a huge undertaking. Thankfully, Netflix and the other streaming sites are here to help explorers young and old, with tons of great content about this fascinating subject. To infinity—and beyond!

Special thanks to research interns Andrew McDonnell, Elisabeth Hoyson, and Liz McInerney for helping to compile these lists.

Best videos on outer space

The Planets

1. The Planets

This documentary series examines cutting-edge discoveries about the planets, explores the origin of the sun, considers life on other worlds and more.

Length: Eight 50-minute episodes

Rating: TV-G

Provider: Netflix

How the Universe Works

2. How the Universe Works

Join host Mike Rowe for a journey through the cosmos that includes our own solar system and distant galaxies and travels back in time to the Big Bang.

Length: Eight 50-minute episodes

Rating: TV-PG

Provider: Netflix

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking

3. Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking

In this comprehensive cosmology series, Prof. Stephen Hawking looks at the entire universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time.

Length: Three 43-minute episodes

Rating: TV-PG

Provider: Netflix

The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space

4. The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space

A school teacher takes her class on educational field trips with the help of a magical school bus—this time, into outer space!

Length: 25 minutes

Rating: NR

Provider: PBS via YouTube

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Outer Space

5. Bill Nye the Science Guy: Outer Space

Each episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy teaches kids a specific topic in a natural science. In this episode, Bill goes way out there, way far away—to outer space, in fact. (Check out the episode guide, too, which provides some background information and follow-up book recommendations.)

Length: 23 minutes

Rating: NR

Provider: Disney via YouTube

An honorary mention goes to Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, an excellent show hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. This show is currently being broadcast on Fox and is in its first season, having premiered on March 9, 2014. We cannot include it in our list because it is not yet available on subscription websites, but the most recent episodes are available in full on the Cosmos website for free—and we recommend you and your kids check them out!

Michael J. Petrilli
Michael J. Petrilli is the President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.