We’re recording this episode on Halloween, so how could we resist but take advantage of this opportunity. Space is already terrifying enough, you know, with the vast endless emptiness, incomprehensible mysteries, and uncaring coldness. But here are some scary stories to spook it up a notch.
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Ep. 657: Astronomical Naming Schemes
Space is a big place, with a lot of galaxies, stars, planets and moons, and that means a lot of names. How do astronomers name stuff, like comets, asteroids, exoplanets, craters?
Ep. 656: Smashing Asteroids for Science!
This week we saw the incredible image of DART smashing into asteroid Dimorphos. Beyond avenging the dinosaurs, what can we learn scientifically from this and other asteroid/comet impact missions?
Ep. 655: 65 Years of Space: Sputnik 1 Anniversary
It’s been about 65 years since the Soviets launched the first orbital satellite into low Earth orbit: Sputnik 1. Now there are thousands of satellites in orbit, with tens of thousands on the way. Let’s look at the impact that Sputnik had on the history of spaceflight.
Ep. 654: Side Effects of Clean Energy
To battle climate change, we’ll need to rapidly move to carbon-free sources of energy. But this technology isn’t a free lunch. They require metals, generate waste and deplete the environment. What’s the best way to balance this shift?
Ep. 653: Climate Change: Looking at the Variables
Climate change is on our minds these days, with increasing wildfires, droughts and floods. What are the variables that play into a planet’s changing climate, and what can this teach us about the search for habitable planets across the Milky Way?
Ep. 652: The Rocket Race Toward Reusability
Last week we talked about how single-use rocketry has changed over time, and the role it still plays in launching payloads into orbit and beyond. Today, we’ll address the stainless steel elephant in the room and talk about the shift to reusability.
Ep. 651: Artemis and the Decline of Single Use Rockets
On the day that we’re recording this, NASA’s Space Launch System is about to blast off. But everyone is expecting it’ll be delayed to October. When it does launch, it’ll be the most powerful rocket on Earth. Well, until Starship blasts off. Are we about to see the end of single-use rockets and enter the era of reusable rocketry?
Ep. 650: First Light for JWST
Well, this is it, we’re finally going to talk about the James Webb Space Telescope. After decades of development, delays and budget creep, the powerful infrared observatory is at its final home at the L2 Lagrange Point. Yesterday we saw the first scientific images from the telescope, and according to Pamela’s rules, we’re finally allowed to talk about it.
Ep. 649: Why Does Everything Happen on Holidays?
Have you ever noticed that significant space and astronomy events seem to happen during holidays? It’s not a coincidence, there’s actually a reason why. Today we’ll talk about some of the key events that happened during holidays.
Ep. 648: Summer Observing
Summer is officially, astronomically here. And for folks in the Northern Hemisphere, that means it’s the perfect time to head outside and see what’s happening in the sky. Today we’ll give you a good list of things to keep an eye out for, with or without a telescope.
Ep. 647: Best Sci-Fi Beach Reading
Summer is here and that means finally tackling your huge list of books piled up on your bedside table and filling up your Kindle. What books do we recommend for some fun reads?
Ep. 646: Long Term Future in Space
We always say that we’re living in golden age of space and astronomy, but it feels like things are just accelerating. What does the long-term future hold for our place in the Universe?
Ep. 645: The Future of the ISS
The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited for over 20 years now, serving as a peaceful collaboration between space-faring nations. But it’s a machine, and it’s getting old. In addition, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made things complicated. What’s the future for the ISS?
Ep. 644: Is Earth… Normal?
Now that we’ve discovered thousands of exoplanets, we’re learning more and more about what kinds of planetary systems there are out there across the Universe. Are planets like Earth unique or totally rare?
Ep. 643: Sagittarius A*
All the waiting is over, we’ve finally seen the image of the event horizon from the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. Today we’re going to explain the picture, and what’s next for the Event Horizon Telescope.
Ep. 642: Is the Sun… Normal?
We’ve always assumed that we lived in a perfectly normal system with a normal star and normal planets. It’s all… normal. But with our modern understanding of billions of stars, just how normal is our Sun, anyway?
Ep. 641: Are Planets Alive?
The Earth is teeming with life, both in the upper atmosphere to kilometers underground. There’s no question that our planet has life. But is our planet itself alive? This is a question posed back in the 1970s as the Gaia hypothesis, and it got its share of criticism. Some new ideas have been proposed to bring this hypothesis to the modern era.
Ep. 640: Survey Science: Newest Projects and Results
There are general-purpose telescopes and missions that astronomers can use to study specific objects. And there are survey missions that look at the entire sky, which astronomers can use to answer questions about the Universe. We’ve talked about surveys in the past, but the landscape is changing fast so it’s time for an update.
Ep. 639: Big Questions Update: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Hubble Constant
Knowledge moves forward, and so, we must move with it. Today we’ll give you an update on some of the most fascinating, and fast-changing topics in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.
Ep. 638: Simulating Space Missions
Although humans have never actually been to Mars, explorers have simulated many aspects of Mars missions here on Earth. There are missions under the ocean, on the tops of volcanoes, in the harsh Canadian north, and even in bed that simulate the limitations of spaceflight, and teach us many of the lessons to prepare us for the real thing.
Ep. 637: Machine Learning in Astronomy
Computers are a big part of astronomy, but mostly they’ve been relegated to doing calculations. Recent developments in machine learning have changed everything, giving computers the ability to do jobs that humans could only do in the past.
Ep. 636: Blowing Bubbles
We think of space as a vacuum, but there are regions of different density. There are winds blowing from stars and other objects that clear out vast bubbles in space, and look absolutely fantastic in pictures. And might have been critical for Earth to even exist in the first place.
Ep. 635: Jets: When Magnetic Fields Fling Things
As astronomers look out across the Universe, they see various objects spewing jets of material light years into space. What causes these jets, and what impact do they have on the Universe.
Ep. 634: Milky Way’s Mergers & Acquisitions
The Milky Way is a vast grand spiral today, but how did it get this way? Astronomers are starting to unravel the history of our galaxy, revealing the ancient collisions with dwarf galaxies, and how they came together to build the Milky Way.