The Universe was inaccessible for most of human history, but the first tentative steps to space in the 20th century made humanity realize that science fiction was becoming science reality. New rules would have to be written to govern how we used this limitless expanse. Today we’ll talk about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
Light pollution is a big problem, and it’s only getting worse — not just near cities but everywhere thanks to increased satellite constellations. How bad is the problem, and how can we fix it?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
Funding for basic science has always been tricky business, coming mainly from universities, government, companies, or wealthy individuals, but who knows how many fascinating discoveries were never made because of a lack of funding? We now live in an era where regular people can come together to find scientific discoveries.
Astronomy Cast more than 600 episodes ago. Are there any updates? Does Pluto have a chance of regaining planethood again?
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three brilliant researchers who worked out some of the secrets of black holes. Today we’re going to talk about the chain of discoveries that led to this award.
Pamela and Fraser discuss the implications of COVID-19 and it’s changes on the world, and what we all can do during this time.
We lost a bright star here on planet Earth last week. NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson passed away at the age of 101, after an incredible career of helping humans land on the Moon. If you saw the movie Hidden Figures, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The other big issue at the AAS was the challenge that astronomy is going to face from all the new satellite constellations coming shortly. There are already 180 Starlinks in orbit, and thousands more are coming, not to mention the other constellations in the works. What will be the impact on astronomy, and what can we do about it?
This week we’re live at the American Astronomical Society’s 235th meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i. We learned about new planets, black holes and star formation, but the big issue hanging over the whole conference is the protests and politics over the new Thirty Meter Telescope due for construction on Mauna Kea.
Few sciences have been able to take advantage of the power of computers like astronomy. But with all this computing power, you might be surprised to learn how important a role humans still play in this science.
It's summertime, and time for our annual Astronomy Cast hiatus. But that doesn't mean that the astronomy adventure has to end. Today we'll give you some tips and tricks for astronomy summer adventures. In this episode we mentioned donations and tours. Click to learn...
Last week we talked about some ancient south African astronomy, so this week we'll talk about the state of modern astronomy in the southern part of Africa, which happens to be a great place with nice dark skies and a great view into the heart of the galaxy. In this...
Last week we talked about how well the indigenous Australians followed the night sky. Well, it turns out, Australia is still an amazing place for astronomy. There are so many powerful observatories in Australia, and even more in the works. In this episode we mentioned...
The Andes mountains in South America are a hotspot of astronomy today, but ancient peoples knew it was a great place for astronomy and lived their lives in tune with the night sky. Today we'll learn all about what they knew, and how they mapped the movements of the...
Last week we talked about the ancient astronomy of the American Southwest. But this is actually Pamela’s stomping grounds, and she’s spent many a night perched atop mountains in this region staring in the night sky with gigantic telescopes. How does astronomy get done in this region today?
Even though they might be scattered around our planet, astronomers have way to come together to work out issues that face their entire field of study. It’s called the International Astronomical Union, and they’re the ones who work out the new names for stars, and sometimes de-planet beloved Kuiper Belt Objects.
We always focus on the missions, but there’s an important glue that holds the whole system together. The Deep Space Network. Today we’re going to talk about how this system works and how it communicates with all the spacecraft out there in the Solar System.
One of the most influential astronomers in the 20th Century was Fritz Zwicky. He had his hand in the discovery of dark matter, gravitational lensing, supernovae and neutron stars. And he also worked on a few more controversial ideas like, uh, tired light. Let’s learn more about Zwicky.