Tune In Tonight: 'NOVA' special shows Earth from space

Sometimes you have to leave this world to get a good look at yourself. That’s the lesson of “Earth From Space” (8 p.m., PBS), a “NOVA” special.

During the last five-plus decades, satellite imagery has revolutionized our view of the planet. “Earth From Space” offers remarkable animation that makes use of more than 125,000 images taken from space.

The perspectives offered show how desert winds from the Sahara send dust across the Atlantic and help fertilize the Amazon, and how water from the arctic region creates the ocean currents that affect climate the world over. From tiny plankton to the birth of vast storm systems, “Earth” offers a gorgeous lesson about the interconnected nature of life.

• For something less cosmic, but just as beautiful and often moving, “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS) presents “Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo.” Wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner spent several seasons documenting both species in Wood Buffalo National Park. Straddling the border of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Wood Buffalo is five times the size of Yellowstone National Park and was created in 1922 specifically to protect the free-roaming buffalo herds that were hunted to near-extinction in the 19th century.

Those who have always wanted to see buffalo in the wild should not miss this. It’s hard to describe just how big they are — or how powerful. Buffalo can weigh up to 2 tons, yet gallop for hours at a time. And that’s a good thing, because wolves, the “co-stars” of this production, are just as hardy, and much more cunning. That helps when you’re chasing something 10 times your size.

Tonight’s other highlights:

• The Hollywood round continues on “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Oliver needs Felicity’s help on “Arrow” (7 p.m., CW).

• A 25-year-old case rings familiar on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (8 p.m., NBC).

• A Valentine’s Day romp results in bruises on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).

• Intent on burning bridges, Rayna confides in an old friend on “Nashville” (9 p.m., ABC).

“Southland” (9 p.m., TNT) returns for a new 10-episode winter season.

• A murdered colleague appears to have left a family behind on “The Americans” (9 p.m., FX).


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