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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Special Alert: Go See Comet McNaught

There’s a big bright comet visible in the sky right now. Listen to this special alert, and then go outside right at sunset to see Comet McNaught with your very own eyes. You’ve got to move quickly, as it’ll be lost in the glare of the Sun. Don’t worry, it’ll reappear shortly, and could be […]




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Ep. 18: Black Holes Big and Small

We’re finally ready to deal with the topic you’ve all been waiting for: Schwarzschild swirlers, Chandrasekhar crushers, ol’ matter manglers, sucking singularities… you might know them as black holes. Join as as we examine how black holes form, what they consume, and just how massive they can get. Download Episode 18: Black Holes Big and […]




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Ep. 17: Where does the Moon Come From?

We take the Moon for granted, but its effect on the Earth is very important; possibly even critical for the formation of life. But where did it come from? Did the Earth and Moon form together? Or did the Earth capture a wayward Moon? Or was there a more catastrophic cause to this lunar mystery? […]




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Ep. 16: Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum

We see the Universe in visible light with our photon detecting eyes. We can feel infrared heat with our photon detecting hands, and we get sunburns with our ultraviolet photon detecting skin (ouch). But there’s a whole spectrum of photons out there, from radio waves to gamma rays that astronomers use to understand the Universe. […]




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Ep. 15: Questions Show #1

We finally get organized enough deal with several listener questions: isn’t dark matter just regular stuff we can’t see? how can parts of the Universe be expanding faster than the speed of light? what will Betelgeuse look like when it explodes as a supernova? what’s the speed of gravity? All these and more questions are […]




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Ep. 13: Where Do Stars Go When They Die?

We’ve celebrated the birth of new stars, but the stellar lifecycle doesn’t end there. Stars like our Sun will spend billions of years fusing together hydrogen and pumping out energy. And when the fuel runs out, their death is as interesting as their birth. This week Fraser and Pamela trace out this stellar evolution, and […]




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Ep. 12: Where Do Baby Stars Come From?

Most parents have had that uncomfortable conversation with their children at some point. Mommy, Daddy, where do stars come from? You hem and haw, mumble a few words about angular momentum and primordial hydrogen and then cleverly change the subject. Well, you don’t have to avoid the subject any longer. Pamela and Fraser describe formation […]




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Ep. 11: A Universe of Dark Energy

The discovery of dark energy was one of the biggest surprises in astronomy. Instead of a nice, predictable expanding Universe, acted on only by gravity, astronomers turned up a mysterious repulsive force accelerating the expansion of the Universe. Fraser and Pamela explain the evidence for a dark energy, and a few possible theories for what […]




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