Awesome Astronomy

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Synopsis

Awesome Astronomy explores the frontiers of science, space and our evolving understanding of the universe.Join Ralph, Paul & Jeni for informative and fun astronomy programmes dedicated to space and astronomy news and occasional podcast extras covering hot topics and special interviews in the world of science and astronomy.

Episodes

  • #95 - May 2020 Part 1

    #95 - May 2020 Part 1

    30/04/2020 Duration: 01h19min

    The Discussion: The live recording of our monthly astronomy show to provide a bit of extra entertainment and interactivity while people are cooped up at home sitting out the coronavirus. We discuss a burgeoning love-hate relationship with Starlink, Jeni being the BBC’s go to person for Starlink and meteor showers, and Apollo 13 filling up Twitter timelines and giving us a bit of a respite from coronavirus The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: A round up of astronomy-based April fools gags found in research papers Hubble marks its 30th birthday Fomalhaut b might not be a planet after all Centaurs might well be asteroids from other star systems And Pluto looks to have had a ‘hot start’ Main News story: Earth 2.0 found in old ignored data. The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Ursa Major with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round up of the solar system views on offer in May. Guide to the Electromagn

  • Live Lockdown QA Show

    Live Lockdown Q&A Show

    18/04/2020 Duration: 02h40min

    You can watch the video of this recording (and our live Episode 95 recording on 27th April) at https://www.youtube.com/user/AwesomeAstroPod/videos (midday PST, 3pm EST, 8pm UK, 9pm Central Europe)   This show is a response to the many requests we get to do an episode dedicated to answering listeners’ space & astronomy questions. Producer John thought lockdown would be the perfect time to do it, when we can try and help ease the stress, boredom and isolation.   The Guests: We invited some of our friends from the astronomy world to answer your questions too: University of Oxford Professor of Astronomy, Creator of the Zooniverse and BBC’s The Sky at Night Presenter, Chris Lintott. We asked him: Are there ways for an amateur astrophotographer to get involved in contributing to actual science? From David Schlaudt Square Kilometre Array or JWST. Which is going to generate the most exciting science? And if each one could answer just 1 question about the Universe, what would you like it to be?  From Mark De Vr

  • #94 - April 2020 Part 2

    #94 - April 2020 Part 2

    14/04/2020 Duration: 01h05min

    Don’t forget to join us for our live shows on 16th and 27th April at https://www.youtube.com/user/AwesomeAstroPod/videos (midday PST, 3pm EST, 8pm UK, 9pm Central Europe) The Discussion: Jen fangirling on The British Interplanetary Society and acing the Soyuz ISS docking simulator at the Student Space Conference; a ramble about Wales; the TV show For All Mankind, our live Q&A show, our poor etiquette and listener shout-outs. The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: The impact of coronavirus on current and future NASA missions Some research showing the impact of satellite constellations on astronomy The UK’s space spiders to explore the moon’s lava craters Lockheed Martin developing helicopters to catch spent rocket boosters Main news story: Is Europe’s ExoMars Rover on borrowed time? The Electromagnetic Spectrum: The microwave part of the spectrum. How it became so important for astronomy and by whom. Q&A: Where’s the Tesla Roadster? From @TJRobins

  • #94 - April 2020 Part 1

    #94 - April 2020 Part 1

    01/04/2020 Duration: 01h22min

    We're hosting a live Q&A on Thurs 16th April. Go to awesomeastronomy.com to see how to watch & get involved! The Discussion: Jeni’s sent the final proofs off for her research paper which is now on archive at https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.01727 and will soon be in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Sadly, we have to say goodbye to Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden. The Cradle of Aviation Museum cancel their Apollo 13 anniversary event, but you can relive Apollo 13 (recreating the launch from 11th April) as if you were in mission control with https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/. A shout out to Galaxy Zoo at a time when there are fewer thing more productive you could be doing with your time than adding to science and human knowledge: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects. A round up of listeners’ reviews and comments. A couple of Awesome Astronomy live-stream shows at 8pm on Thursday 16th and Monday 27th Because, let’s face it, you’re not going to be busy! The News: Round

  • #93 - March 2020 Part 2

    #93 - March 2020 Part 2

    14/03/2020 Duration: 53min

    (Warning: please skip this episode if you're offended by occasional Tesla-based puerile humour) The Discussion: Balancing the argument between love and hate of SpaceX and drawing a line under the argument over when the current decade starts and what constitutes a decade. The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: SpaceX is cleared for a crewed launch in April Further problems for Boeing Christina Koch takes the female spaceflight record. The dullest space news story ever (involving biscuits/cookies) A Japanese mission to return samples from Phobos! ESA’s launch & deployment of the Solar Orbiter. Main news story: The import of NASA’s 2021 FY Budget. The Electromagnetic Spectrum: The radio part of the spectrum. How it became so important for astronomy and by whom. Q&A: What do you think was the greatest astronomical/scientific advancement that came about due to a dubious past, and do you think it was worth it? By email from Alan Beech in the UK.

  • #93 - March 2020 Part 1

    #93 - March 2020 Part 1

    01/03/2020 Duration: 01h09min

    The Discussion: Paul’s favourite bit of the coronavirus, the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s upcoming Apollo 13 anniversary event, a @CunningCosmos space art exhibition and a talk from Jen in Bromsgrove for British Space Week, from the sublime to the ridiculous with the passing of Katherine Johnson and Mad Mike Hughes, and listeners’ emails. The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: Finding the remnants of the progenitor star after a Type 2b supernova Solving the puzzle of giant planets orbiting low mass stars More clues to Mercury’s oversized iron core A galaxy that has stopped producing stars after a period of prolific star birth Mars seems to be more active than we thought Debate over Mars’ very long formation history Main News story: ESO images of Betelgeuse and the more recent evidence for why the star’s dimmed so impressively. The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Cancer with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objec

  • #92 - February 2020 Part 2

    #92 - February 2020 Part 2

    14/02/2020 Duration: 59min

    The Discussion: The reason we have leap years; a look at Ad Astra, Lucy in the Sky and Picard; and the history of the Stonewall Riots (don’t think it’s just astronomy here – you get a fully rounded education, dear listener); and a look at your reviews and emails.   The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: Direct TV’s ticking timebomb in space DARPA’s XS-1 reusable spaceplane gets cancelled ESA’s Solar Obiter heads off to the sun NASA ask you to vote for the official name of their Mars 2020 rover (www.mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/participate/name-the-rover/) NASA’s costs for the 2024 moon landing are imminent Main news story: SpaceX gears up for crewed spaceflight following successful abort tests The Electromagnetic Spectrum: How parts of the EMS outside visible light were discovered, who discovered them and what that means for us today. Q&A: Have the crew of the ISS (or any other spaceflight with room to try it) propelled themselves through their craft using flatule

  • #92 - February 2020 Part 1

    #92 - February 2020 Part 1

    01/02/2020 Duration: 01h02min

    The Discussion: Ralph visits and records from The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, New York, we enjoyed some great skies with good weather in the UK, Betelgeuse still hasn’t gone pop – though we’re still watching, and NASA have an open day that you can attend. The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: An evidence based look at Starlink Tracking molecules from birth to arrival in our solar system An enigmatic Type 1a supernova An interesting 14 millisecond gravitational wave detection Goodbye Spitzer Space telescope The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Lynx with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round up of the solar system objects on offer in February. A Guide to the Electromagnetic Spectrum: In this series we’ll take a look at the electromagnetic spectrum, what, it is, what is shows us and why it’s so important to astronomers. This month we start with a quick and simple explanation.

  • From the Cradle to the Stars

    From the Cradle to the Stars

    22/01/2020 Duration: 01h12min

    This is the history of flight told from the perspective of the amateurs and hobbyists who allowed humankind to slip the surly bonds of Earth and set out towards the stars. To tell this story Ralph journeyed to the Cradle of Aviation museum in Garden City, New York, to get a tour of the early flight and exhibits from the museum’s curator and speak with an engineer who worked on the lunar modules before they flew. Our thanks in making this episode goes to the wonderful people at https://www.cradleofaviation.org/.

  • #91 - January 2020 Part 2

    #91 - January 2020 Part 2

    14/01/2020 Duration: 54min

    The Discussion: New Year resolutions, veganism, a little spoiler-free chat about the latest/last Skywalker movie and the new series of Dr Who, before some listeners’ emails. The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: Christina Koch racks up a flight time record on the ISS China’s moon rover breaks a lunar endurance record Ethiopia becomes the 10th African nation to send a satellite into orbit ESA launches their CHEOPS Exoplanet characterising spacecraft Space Force is go – and the world joins in NASA’s new (22nd!) intake and what skills are needed to become an astronaut OSIRIS-REx now has a target for return samples on asteroid Bennu Main news story: Boeing’s test of its Starliner space capsule Q&A: Why does NASA search for signs of life rather than directly looking for life? From Gavin Price in the UK on Twitter (@pilliarscreatio)

  • #91 - January 2020 Part 1

    #91 - January 2020 Part 1

    04/01/2020 Duration: 57min

    The Discussion: As we begin the new decade we struggle to find a consensus on whether it actually is a new decade. We discuss the busy Xmas period and thank any listeners who helped Dartmoor Skies reach their funding target for a new telescope. Then we take a look at a few listeners’ emails and tweets. The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: An old galaxy containing as much dust as one third the amount of its stars Mapping the magnetic fields around the Whale Galaxy An interstellar comet makes its way back out of the solar system A burst of supernovae in the Milky Way’s not-to-distant past Is Betelgeuse about to go supernova? The Sky Guide: Shaking up the format of the sky guide, we’re taking a look at the constellation of Monoceros with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round up of the solar system objects on offer in January. Q&A: If there are no plate tectonics on the moon, how did the lunar mountain regions form? from @gkt_wales on Twitte

  • The 2019 Xmas Special

    The 2019 Xmas Special

    24/12/2019 Duration: 01h12min

    A pantomime look back at the biggest and most exciting news and events from 2019; a look forward to the best astronomy and space exploration events of 2020; the science of Santa’s deliveries and the traditional outtakes.

  • #90 - December 2019 Part 2

    #90 - December 2019 Part 2

    14/12/2019 Duration: 56min

    The News: Sharing our news picks from the space exploration and astronomy world this month we have: A late risk of Exomars being cancelled Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft abort test and cost controversies Sierra Nevada’s Dreamchaser shuttle gets a trailer Main news story: Far from being unlikely, Tatooine worlds turn out to be very common   The Interview: This month Jeni has a sit down chat about the discovery of the collapsed neutron star from supernova 1987a with Dr Phil Cigan of Cardiff University.

  • #90 - December 2019 Part 1

    #90 - December 2019 Part 1

    01/12/2019 Duration: 58min

    The Discussion: A look at the BBC’s new Martian invasion documentary, The War of the Worlds; the recent transit of Mercury; Celestron’s new phone adapter; Jen’s upcoming talks in Wales, an update on Jen’s research paper, a new research project and a debate over the start and end of a decade. Then we take a look at a couple of listeners’ emails.   The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: Water vapour geysers on Europa Ultima Thule loses its Nazi moniker Locating the stellar remnant from the closest supernova to Earth Are Axions dark matter particles? (no) And a round up of spaceflight news from NASA, ESA, India, New Zealand & UK   The Sky Guide: Covering the solar system and deep sky objects on offer to amateur astronomers in December: Jen: A round up of the planets available to northern hemisphere observers in December, and a look at the Pleiades in Taurus. Paul: The best meteor shower of the year and naked eye visible open cluster Messier 35.   The Debate: A look back at the debat

  • #89 - November 2019 Part 2

    #89 - November 2019 Part 2

    14/11/2019 Duration: 49min

    The Discussion: Ralph’s been in Washington – which, of course, means a visit to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, we say goodbye to Russian cosmonaut, Alexi Leonov, and take a look at listeners’ emails. The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: James Webb Space Telescope inches ever closer The USAF’s autonomous space plane sets a new record SpaceX are back on the right path with its crew capsule NASA are sending a viper to the moon and an orbiter to Pluto Plans are revealed about Scotland’s new spaceport. Project Artemis technologies being funded by NASA The findings and recommendations of NASA’s Planetary Protection Review Main news story: NASA’s new moonsuit is revealed. The Debate: Now that we’ve whittled down the contenders for the greatest space mission of all time (the last fifty years anyway), it’s your time to crown the winner!.

  • #89 - November 2019 Part 1

    #89 - November 2019 Part 1

    01/11/2019 Duration: 01h05min

    The Discussion: Before we start the show proper, we discuss Jeni’s encounter with Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, her new research paper undergoing a painfully slow peer review and we take a look at Chris Lintott’s book, The Crowd and the Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse. Then it’s over to the listeners for a few emails suggesting cooler names for the phenomenon of the Pair Instability Supernova.   The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: An enigmatic radio burst opens up a new method of probing the universe Hubble takes a look at interstellar comet Hygiea becomes the latest candidate to be recategorized as a dwarf planet Spiral galaxies give more clues to discredit the MOND theory of dark matter Venus going pop and perhaps a 2 billion window of habitability More confusion over the age of Saturn’s rings The big news story: perhaps heavier elements in the Universe are not only forged in supernovae, but also from neutron star mergers.   The Sky Guide: Covering the solar system and deep sky

  • #88 - October 2019 Part 2

    #88 - October 2019 Part 2

    15/10/2019 Duration: 53min

    The Discussion: As a reward for good behavior, we’ve dispensed with wittering on about us and gone straight into the news.   The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: The last of the Delta IV mediums India’s Vikram lunar lander failure ESA move a satellite to avoid crashing with a SpaceX satellite NASA award funding for a Lunar Gateway pathfinding cubesat Australia & Japan commit to supporting NASA’s moonshot, Project Artemis NASA place orders for the first of possibly 12 Orion moon capsules. Main news stories: A roundup of Elon Musk’s Herculean benevolent/malevolent efforts to get giant phalluses on Mars.   The Debate: Court is in session for the fifth and final round of advocacy to get a winner from your top ten historic space missions. This month Judge Damien presides over arguments between the International Space Station and the Pioneer missions.   Q&A: With the news of a near collision between a SpaceX and an ESA satellite, does that mean more satellite collisions in

  • #88 - October 2019 Part 1

    #88 - October 2019 Part 1

    30/09/2019 Duration: 01h12min

    The Discussion: A look back at our 50th anniversary of the moon landings-themed dark sky star party, AstroCamp, and some wonderful suggestions as an alternative name for a ‘pair instability supernova’. The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: Discovery of an exoplanet stripped of its atmosphere Understanding more about the features you can observe in Jupiter’s storms Gaia tells us more about the evolution of open clusters Chandra probes black hole clusters Planet 9 (groan…) could be a tiny black hole (it couldn’t) Amateur astronomer discovery of an interstellar comet Understanding the evolution of globular clusters NASA’s Insight lander suggests weird magnetic chirping at midnight on Mars The main news story discussion: Water vapour in the atmosphere of an exoplanet in its habitable zone - leading to discussions on the importance of science journalism and the search for Earth 2.0 The Sky Guide: Covering the solar system and deep sky objects on offer to amateur astronomers in October: Pau

  • #87 - September 2019 Part 2

    #87 - September 2019 Part 2

    15/09/2019 Duration: 52min

    The Discussion: Nuking hurricanes and the lessons of Chernobyl.   The News: Rounding up the space exploration news this month we have: A new adaptor on the ISS making two emergency exits Russia sends a gunslinging robot into space (no, really!) ESA’s ExoMars mission is in hot water again NASA’s Europa Clipper on track to meet its mid-2020s launch window The companies being funded to develop tech for NASA’s moonshot Ramping up of commercial assistance to Project Artemis Main news stories: A NASA astronaut accused of a crime in space, issues of jurisdiction and what happens to sock dust in space.   The Debate: Court is in session for the fourth round of advocacy to get winner from your top ten historic space missions. This month we pit Mars against the Outer Limits as Spirit & Opportunity take on the Voyagers.  

  • #87 - September 2019 Part 1

    #87 - September 2019 Part 1

    01/09/2019 Duration: 01h07min

    The Discussion: A good old British whinge about the weather and looking forward to our biannual dark sky star party, AstoCamp. The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have: An experiment in an underground lab in London to understand dark energy Eight new repeating fast radio burst source Help us come up with a cooler name than a pair-instability supernova The late accretion phase of the formation of the solar system The discovery of interstellar radioactive iron in the Antarctica Spitzer reveals surprising exoplanetary details. A new exoplanet discovery of three rocky worlds in the same system Using oceanography to suggest greater exoplanet biodiversity The main news story discussion: The latest big Juno discovery at Jupiter. The Sky Guide: Covering the solar system and deep sky objects on offer to amateur astronomers in September: Jen: A tour of the planets on offer and the zodiacal light Ralph: Jupiter Saturn and two meteor showers in September. Then further afield, a doub

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