Archive | Planets

Ep. 52: Mars

Today we consider Mars, the next planet in our journey through the Solar System. Apart from the Earth, it’s the most explored planet in our Solar System. Even now there are rovers crawling the surface, orbiters overhead, and a lander on its way. It’s a cold, dry desert, so why does this planet hold such […]




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Ep. 51: Earth

Another week, another planet. This time we talk about our own home world: Earth. You might think you know the planet beneath your feet, but it’s actually one of the most interesting and dynamic places in the Solar System. Learn about our planet’s formation, weather, its changing climate, and life. (more…)

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Ep. 50: Venus

Last week we talked about Mercury, so this week our planetary parade proceeds to Venus. It’s the brightest object in the sky, the hottest object in the solar system, and it’s probably one of the most deadly places to go and visit. Episode 50: Venus (13.4MB) 




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Ep. 49: Mercury

We’re still digging through the thousands of comments and suggestions from the listener survey but we hear your requests and suggestions, and now you get to start reaping the benefits. Today we start our survey of the solar system with Mercury. What mysteries is it hiding from us? How similar is Mercury to the other […]




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Ep. 34: Discovering Another Earth

What a week! Astronomers announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearby star Gliese 581. We talk about the technique used to discover the planet, the possibilities of finding even smaller planets, and what the future holds for finding another Earth. Correction: At the beginning of the show, Pamela says that Gliese 581c […]




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Ep. 30: The Sun, Spots and All

It’s Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means the Sun is back. But it’s more than just a free heat lamp for your garden, it’s an incredible, dynamic nuclear reaction complete with flares, coronal mass ejections, twisting magnetic fields and the solar wind. Put in your headphones, head outside and enjoy the sunshine while […]




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Ep. 29: Asteroids Make Bad Neighbors

This week we’re talking about asteroids. And not just any asteroids, but Near Earth Objects. How do astronomers find these things, why are they buzzing around the Earth, what are the chances we’ll actually get hit, and what would happen if we did get hit? How could we stop them? Episode 29: Asteroids Make Bad […]




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Ep. 24: The Fermi Paradox: Where Are All the Aliens?

We live in a mind bogglingly big Universe filled with countless stars. We know intelligent life evolved here on Earth. It must be common across the Universe, right? But if there’s life out there, how come we haven’t been visited by aliens yet? Why haven’t we even picked up signals from alien television stations? Where’s […]




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Ep. 23: Counting Aliens With the Drake Equation

If you’re wondering how many extraterrestrials there are in our galaxy, you just have to use a simple equation developed by astronomer Frank Drake in 1961. Just find out how many stars there are, how many support life, how many advanced societies form, and a few other details and we’ll be set. Episode 23: Drake […]




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Ep. 19: Comets, Our Icy Friends from the Outer Solar System

The sudden brightening of Comet McNaught has reminded us what a treat it can be to see a comet with the unaided eye. A diffuse ball with a long tail stretching across the sky. There’s nothing else in the night sky that can compare to a bright comet. But what are these objects, where do […]




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