The Star Spot

Featured Guest: Cameron Smith

One of the challenges in building a future where humans are able to explore other worlds are the massive, clumsy and expensive spacesuits currently in use. Now enter into the picture Pacific Spaceflight. They’re a grassroots team with a do-it-yourself attitude and they’re busy perfecting the next generation space suit technology. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by their leader, Professor Cameron Smith, an anthropologist and archeologist who’s research on humanity’s deep past now fuels his determination to take us into the future.

Current in Space

Could we have missed one of our closest galactic neighbours, asks Dave. Then Tony explains how humans aren’t the only animals effected by a solar eclipse. Simon freaks us out with news that worms are being sent to the International Space Station. And finally, in her big debut, Amelia reports first views of supermassive black holes colliding in galaxy mergers.

About Our Guest

Cameron Smith is a Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Portland State University, author of the book Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space colonization, and founder of the thinktank Pacific Spaceflight.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_156_The_Do-It-Yourself_Spacesuit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15pm EST

Featured Guest: Katharina Brinkert

On Earth, we can thank the sun for making life possible. Now what if we could harness the power of the sun to make life possible on long duration space missions. Introducing the concept of artificial photosynthesis. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by chemist Katharina Brinkert, whose pioneering experiments on the International Space Station turning sunlight into fuel and breathable air might just pave the way for human exploration of the solar system.

Current in Space

Water World. No, not the awful movie, but according to Dave, the most common kind of exoplanet in our galaxy. Then Tony and Simon share tributes to NASA missions which ended within days of one another. Tony reflects on Dawn, the first mission to orbit two bodies in the asteroid belt. And Simon discusses the triumphs and legacy of the Kepler Space Telescope.

About Our Guest

Katharina Brinkert is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.



Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_155_Artificial_Photosynthesis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: Cosette Gilmour

The proper relationship between science and faith is a core question for the modern age. At the centre of this debate has often been the Vatican observatory. The fascinating history of the Vatican Observatory stretches from the 18th century up to today, controversially combining scientific scholarship and religious tradition. In the last few decades the Observatory hosted a conference exploring the search for alien life and another aimed at a scientific understanding of divine action.

Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Cosette Gilmour, an alumni of the Vatican Observatory Summer School program, to find out what goes on in this unique institution and whether the Vatican Observatory still has relevance in the modern world.

Current in Space

Simon says we've found the oldest (so far) massive galaxy supercluster in our universe.

About Our Guest

Cosette Gilmour is a PhD student in Earth and Space Science at York University. Her research interests include the physical and chemical analysis of meteorites, remote sensing of asteroids, and in-situ resource utilization. In 2016 she participated in the Vatican Observatory Summer School program, on the them of water in the solar system and beyond.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_154.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: Bruce Jakosky

Don’t shoot the messenger. The terraforming of Mars has been the dream for many of us who long for a future where humanity has colonized the Red Planet. But is it time to rethink those plans? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Bruce Jakosky, Principal Investigator of the Martian MAVEN Mission, and he’s got some bad news.

Current in Space

Dave spotlights the first confirmed detection of an extrasolar moon, and its a whopper. Then Tony shares new research suggesting that a key component of life may have originated in space before landing on Earth. And Simon delivers a tribute to NASA in honour of the agency's 60th anniversary.

About Our Guest

Bruce Jakosky is Principal Investigator for NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission, which has been studying the Martian atmosphere from orbit. He is Professor of Geological Sciences and Associate Director for Science at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_153_A_Reality_Check_on_Terraforming_Mars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: Ken Stedman

They aren’t pleasant, but viruses are the most common form life on our planet. So why aren’t the world’s space agencies taking viruses seriously in their search for alien life. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by astrobiologist and astrovirologist Ken Stedman who has a plan to change and that and put viruses front and centre as we explore our solar system and beyond.  

Current in Space

We’re roving around our first asteroid, reports Simon. And if its heading into oblivion, just why is matter falling into a black hole in such a big hurry, asks Dave.

About Our Guest

Ken Stedman is Professor of Biology at Portland State University and a self-described “extreme virologist” because of his passion for studying viruses in extreme environments. He received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley and is the recipient of the Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. His outstanding teaching has been recognized with a John Eliot Allen Teaching Award.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_152.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: Scott Sheppard

On the hunt for the solar system’s elusive Planet X, a team of astronomers accidentally stumbled upon the discovery of 12 new moons of Jupiter. Oops. But it gets even better, because one of these things is not like the others and the way that moon just doesn’t belong might just solve the mystery of lunar origins. To help us understand how one very happy accident is shedding light on the formation of our solar system, today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the discovery team leader Scott Sheppard.

Current in Space

Is the universe just a simulation? Simon says maybe. Then Tony settles the question of the habitability of potential water worlds. And speaking of water, Dave ponders the origin of our own planet’s H20.

About Our Guest

Scott Sheppard is faculty member in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He received his PhD from the University of Hawaii. A Hubble Fellow, Sheppard is credited with the discovery of many small moons of the gas giant planets. He has also been part of teams that have discovered comets, asteroids and Kuiper belt objects.

 

Direct download: Star_Spot_Episode_151_Scott_Sheppard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: André Müller

Astronomers have taken their first image of an infant planet still developing around a newly formed star. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by André Müller, whose team is busy studying this baby world and has already discovered evidence of an atmosphere and possibly even moons, astounding knowledge of such a tiny speck 370 light years from Earth.

On a personal note, I want to dedicate this special 150th episode of The Star Spot to my amazing wife Denise and to our own newborn wonder, Lara Fong Trottier. Thank you for being the stars in my universe.

Current in Space

What secrets are hiding in the darkness on the moon? Tony sheds some light. And have you ever wondered just how we arrive at the mass of those thousands of extrasolar planets astronomers are busy studying?

About Our Guest

André Müller is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He has also conducted research at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. His interests revolve around young stellar objects and extrasolar planets.

Direct download: Star_Spot_episode_150_Andre_Muller_revised.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: David Hamilton

The recent discovery of a lake of liquid water beneath the Martian south pole culminates a series of stunning discoveries that are forcing us to rethink the question of habitability on the Red Planet. Now two space missions are underway aimed at sites on Mars that may be the best candidates yet for life and boasting the most advanced bio detection instruments ever sent into space. To help us prepare, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by space physicist David Hamilton.

Join us at Solar System Social this Thursday, August 23rd

The Star Spot will be live on location at an upcoming event hosted by Solar System Social, a prominent Toronto speaker series. Join us for a provocative discussion entitled Who Deserves to Explore Space on Thursday, August 23rd at 6pm at Burdock pub. Visit 
solarsystemsocial.com for details.

Current in Space

Our solar system has been playing host to a foreign tourist and now something is scaring it off. Then great ball of fire! Simon prepares us for a revolutionary new spacecraft that will shine new light on everyone’s favourite star.

About Our Guest

David Hamilton is a professor at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His research background is in the detection of life signs on Mars. He is also the leading force behind Social System Social, a series of public events aimed at connecting the dots between science, entertainment and storytelling.

Direct download: Star_Spot_Episode_149_The_Question_of_Life_on_Mars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Featured Guest: Chuck Black

The Canadian Space Advisory Board was tasked with developing a plan to rejuvenate Canada’s declining world standing in space exploration. In 2017 the Board made a bold proposal that Canada designate space a national strategic asset and increase funding necessary for the “revitalization of Canada’s space capacity.”

But when in March 2018 the federal government released its annual budget, these calls were entirely ignored. The chair of the Canadian Space Advisory Board was so disappointed that she took the unusual move of publicly critiquing a government which seemed to be neglecting Canada’s space sector.

With little progress following years of industry consultation, where do we go from here? To help us understand how we got to this point and what can be done to reestablish Canada’s vision for space exploration, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Chuck Black, the Editor of the Commercial Space Blog.

Current in Space

After the most extreme test yet of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, Dave reports on the amazing results that will not surprise you in the least. Then Maya dazzles with news that a long-held theory about black holes has been disproved, leaving a black hole in our understanding of black holes. And Tony shares his joy at the birth of an endearing infant planet.


About Our Guest

Chuck Black is a journalist, technology advocate, public speaker and activist. He edits and contributes articles to the Commercial Space Blog, the Canadian Aerospace News, and the Space Conference News. He organizes events focused on the commercialization of space-derived technologies which bring together industry experts for detailed in-person discussion, collaboration and networking.

Direct download: Start_Spot_Episode_148.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Today we turn our telescopes back around to study ourself. Our own solar system is undergoing a conceptual revolution. From its chaotic birth to its fiery end, our solar system is no longer seen as static and isolated. It is now understood to change and evolve, to offer great environmental diversity across its many worlds, and it now seems our solar system even interacts with the rest of the galaxy. In this special interregnum here at The Star Spot, today our news team of Tony, Maya and Dave take us on a journey across the history and the destiny of our solar system.

 

Current in Space

We’ve had interstellar asteroid tourists, but Tony wonders if we just found the first interstellar immigrant. Then Maya tackles the existential question of the sun’s ultimate demise. And finally Dave explores how the Earth-Moon love affair has profoundly changed us during our long years together.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_147_Postcards_From_Home.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Brian Thomas

We have this impression of our planet as isolated from the rest of the universe, our lives cut off from the drama unfolding elsewhere in our galaxy. But what if the course of life’s evolution on Earth was intimately connected to events well beyond our solar system. It now seems likely that supernovae hundreds of light-years away have profoundly affected our history and may even account for climatic changes just as our species was emerging. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by astrophysicist Brian Thomas to explore this fascinating discovery.

 

About Our Guest

Brian Thomas is Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Washburn University where he leads the Washburn Astrobiophysics research group. His research focuses on the role of high energy astronomical events, in particular supernova and gamma ray bursts, on the atmosphere and biosphere of Earth. He is the principal investigator on a 3-year NASA grant to explore the terrestrial impacts of nearby supernovae.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_146_Supernovae_and_the_Evolution_of_Life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Stuart Ryder

When a massive star explodes in a supernova, it tends to gobble up all the attention. But what happens when that star has a binary companion with its own story to tell? That’s exactly what happened last month when the Hubble Telescope captured the first image of the surviving stellar companion to a supernova, and it turned out to be more than just a passive observer. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team leader Stuart Ryder to tell us how sibling rivalry might account for the origin of one unusual type of supernova. 

Current in Space

Tony details the launch of a new space telescope that will take planet hunting to the next stage. Then Maya shares a tantalizing discovery from Jupiter's largest moon. And finally while we have trouble seeing individual stars in the galaxy next door, Dave reports on a star called Icarus that we just image despite it being 9 billion light-years away!

About Our Guest

Stuart Ryder is Head of International Telescopes Support at the Australian Astronomical Observatory and is responsible for coordinating Australia's usage of large telescopes around the world. His research interests include core-collapse supernovae and star formation in nuclear rings of galaxies.


Feature Guest: Farhad Yusef-Zadeh

The gravity, radiation and tidal forces at the very core of the Milky Way is kind of intense. That’s why astronomers have long doubted the possibility of star formation in such a hostile environment. And then everything changed with the discovery last fall of 11 sun-like stars living closer to the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy then the distance between our sun and its closest neighbour. What does this breakthrough mean for our understanding of star formation and the possibility of life in what we once imagined were impossibly extreme environments? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the discovery team’s leader Farhad Yusef-zadeh.

Current in Space

On behalf of The Star Spot, Tony says "Thank you, Stephen."

About Our Guest

Farhad Yusef-Zadeh received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at STony Brook then performed his PhD work at Columbia University. He worked as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center before joining the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University. He enjoys performing public lectures on the history of astronomy, science and pseudoscience and how science affects our lives.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_144_A_Rough_Upbringing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Xinyu Dai

Last month astronomers announced the first ever discovery of extrasolar planets… in another galaxy! We’ve already confirmed almost 4000 planets beyond our solar system, but these have all been in a single galaxy, the Milky Way. But then last month a serendipitous discovery opened the door to a galaxy 3.8 billion light years away and it turns out it’s home to thousands upon thousands of planets. Today we're joined here at The Star Spot by co-discoverer Xinyu Dai to describe the unplanned discovery and whether this is the beginning of a new era in extrasolar extragalactic planetary astronomy.

Current in Space

The Andromeda Galaxy has tried hard to hide its past, but Dave exposes its dirty secrets. Then Maya numbers our minds with the discovery of the most distant supernova yet. And when psychologists studied the likely ramifications of first contact Tony found the results surprising.

About Our Guest

Xinyu Dai is assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Department of Physics and Astronomy. He performed undergraduate studies at Beijing University before receiving his PhD from Penn State. He is an expert in gravitational lensing, galaxy clusters, active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts.

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_143_Planet_Hunting_Goes_Extragalactic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Scott Bolton

It’s our cosmic backyard, and yet our own solar system is still full of surprises. Now it turns out we were “totally wrong” when it comes to just about everything we thought we knew about Jupiter. That’s not me speaking, it’s Scott Bolton, principal investigator for the NASA Juno mission to Jupiter. From its magnetic field and atmosphere down to its very core, Jupiter is being rediscovered and transformed. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Dr. Bolton to discuss the rewriting of our textbook on the solar system’s biggest world.

Current in Space

We've discovered a new family of extrasolar planets, and they're in a galaxy far, far away! Dave provides a trailer for the next episode of The Star Spot.

About Our Guest

Scott Bolton is the Director of the Space Science and Engineering Division at the Southwest Research Institute and Principal Investigator of NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter. In his 24 year career with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he has worked on many of its leading missions, including Cassini, Galileo, Voyager and Magellan He presently leads an international research group focused on modeling Jupiter and Saturn's radiation belts. He is an author of over 60 scientific papers. He has received over twenty NASA Group Achievement Awards including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_142_Jupiter_Transformed_with_Scott_Bolton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Jason Hessels

The one thing we thought we knew about fast radio blasts was that these mysterious one-off phenomena must be associated with some of the most cataclysmic events in the universe. Then everything changed with last month’s announcement of the first ever detection of a source of repeating fast radio bursts. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by co-discover Jason Hessels to rule on an important question: are scientists back to the drawing board or did they just achieve a breakthrough in our efforts to unlock this puzzle.

Current in Space

Europa is a tantalizing destination for exploration, but Dave worries that if we visit we might quickly find ourselves on thin ice. Then Maya reports on a windy conundrum surrounding hot Jupiters. And Tony brings new insights into the most powerful explosions in our Universe. Care to make your very own gamma ray burst?

About Our Guest

Jason Hessels is an astronomer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. He received his PhD from McGill University where he was the recipient of an NSERC Doctoral Fellowship. His research interests include pulsars and neutron stars, globular clusters and radio transients. His hobbies include hiking, camping, sailing and guitar.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Susan Strahan

While human activity is what created the ozone hole, scientists just announced direct evidence that human activity is now responsible for healing that damage. That makes the Montreal Protocol, which banned the emission of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, along with other ozone depleting substances, the most successful international environmental agreement to date. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Dr. Susan Strahan, who lead a team that studied the reduction of CFCs, to discuss the fall and rise of the ozone layer and what this means for future efforts to achieve international cooperation on critical environmental issues like climate change.

Current in Space

Tabby's star may no longer be the megastructure of another species, but as Tony explains, the way in which we figured that out says quite a lot about this one. 

About Our Guest

Susan E. Strahan is atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where she works in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California Berkeley. Her research involves making stratospheric trace gas measurements and studying chemistry-climate models. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Arjun Berera

Many of you are familiar with the idea of panspermia, the theory that life spreads itself throughout the galaxy by travelling from one world to another. We often think of big objects like asteroids, comets or spacecraft. But a new idea has emerged, and it’s must smaller: dust. Astronomer Arjun Berera joins me here at The Star Spot to discuss his new study, which considers whether alien life can hitchhike between planets on streams of space dust and if life on Earth might have just such an origin.

Current in Space

The solar system's first extrasolar asteroid visitor, Oumuamua, is even stranger than we thought, explains Tony.

About Our Guest

Arjun Berera is Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. He received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley studying aspects of string perturbation theory. His research interests include quantum field theory, statistical physics, early universe cosmology theory and turbulence.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_139.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!

The Star Spot will be off for the next 2 weeks while our team enjoys some rest and relaxation over the holidays. 2017 has witnessed a remarkable year in space and we've enjoyed bringing you news and interviews on the latest developments. We'll be returning Sunday, January 7th, 2018 and looking forward to another exciting year at the final frontier!

The Team at The Star Spot

Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EST

Feature Guest: Jill Tarter

Alien hunting pioneer Jill Tarter often says the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a way for us to hold a mirror to ourselves. Now in a recently released biography, that statement takes on personal significance and reveals the intimate connection between SETI and the life of its most famous icon.

Today we’re honoured to have Jill Tarter return to The Star Spot to discuss her life; the tragedies and triumphs of youth, the moment when the alien question became a science question, her pioneering role as a woman in science and as a human searching for non-human contact, and her tireless positive energy to reach an elusive goal that would be the biggest discovery of all time.

Current in Space

What if dark matter and dark energy do not exist? Maya explains why that might not be as crazy as it sounds. And 40 years after humanity sent a beacon into space with the launch of the twin Voyager space probes, Tony reviews a new documentary aptly named The Farthest, which is now available on Netflix.

About Our Guest

Jill Tarter, the real life inspiration behind the protagonist in Carl Sagan’s story Contact, is the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI and the former Director of the Center for SETI Research. Tarter graduated with degrees from Cornell and the University of California at Berkeley and she’s won many awards, including two public service medals from NASA and a fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was named one of the 100 Most influential People of the World of the Year by Time Magazine in 2004 and she won the Wonderfest Carl Sagan prize for science popularization in 2005. She is the subject of a recently released biography, Making Contact: Jill Tarter and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_138_Making_Contact_with_Jill_Tarter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Alan Stern

There’s an intruder in our solar system. This fall we were invaded by the first interstellar space traveller, an elongated, cigar shaped alien asteroid. The mysterious object was ejected from its distant and unknown home, travelling for millions or billions of years before coming to pass between the Earth and the sun. On today’s episode of The Star Spot we’re joined by Dr. Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons mission to Pluto, to explain how the detection of an interstellar asteroid named Oumuamua is likely the first of many such strange and bizarre objects, and heralds the dawn of a new era in astronomy.

Current in Space

Proxima b may be the closer exoplanet, but Tony explains why it now has competition for closest Earth twin. And Maya reports how improved technology is helping us find galaxies that are dimmer, further and older than any before. 

About Our Guest

Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist with an illustrious career. He was principal investigator for eight planetary science missions and is the current PI for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. He was previously Executive Director of the Southwest Research Institute’s Space Science and Engineering Division and past Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. He is currently Chief Scientist at Moon Express, a private enterprise dedicated to mining the moon for natural resources. In 2007, Stern was listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_137_An_Alien_Asteroid_in_Our_Solar_System.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Cordell Grant

On June 17, 2016, the Canadian Space Agency launched the nation’s fourth astronaut recruitment campaign. 3,772 applications were received. One year later only two were chosen. Candidates have described the grueling selection process as the greatest challenge of their lives. To understand how we identify the best of the best, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Cordell Grant, who neared the finish line and was among the top 72 candidates to become Canada’s next space explorer.

Current in Space

We like to think we know our solar system well, but Tony warns us to beware intruders.

About Our Guest

Cordell Grant is Chief Operating Officer at Sinclair Interplanetary where he designs and builds communications and attitude determination hardware for spacecraft. He holds a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. In 2016 Cordell applied to become Canada’s next astronaut.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_136.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm EST

Feature Guest: Michael Landry

The alchemists never did succeed in turning elements into gold and silver, and now we know why. It takes the merger of two neutron stars to produce these and other precious metals. That was the headline just two weeks ago when astronomers reported the first ever detection of gravitational waves from this so-called kilonova event. With this discovery we enter a new era. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Dr. Michael Landry, head of the LIGO observatory at Hanford where this landmark discovery was made, to discuss the dawn of  multi-messenger astronomy.

Current in Space

The original of high energy cosmic rays is still a mystery, but now Tony reports that the answer may be more far out - literally - than we imagined. Then Maya  has an important lesson for us: don’t judge a book by its cover, or a planetary interior by its surface. And as we gaze up at the moon in our sky, Dave wonders if the moon once had skies of its own.

About Our Guest

Dr. Michael Landry is Detection Lead Scientist at the LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in Hanford, Washington. The LIGO observatories have been responsible for the first ever discoveries of gravitational waves, for which the Nobel prize in physics was recently awarded. Landy is also a physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He earned his PhD at the University of Manitoba in strange quark physics and performed graduate work at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, as well as Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States.


Feature Guest: Bill Diamond

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, is undergoing a revolution. There was once a time when the search for alien signals involved an exhausting and painstaking point by point search of each and every possible location in the sky, one at a time. Now with a new project called Laser SETI we have the first-ever all-sky all-the-time search. And today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by SETI Institute President Bill Diamond to discuss the promise and challenge of SETI’s paradigm-shifting new effort to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.

Current in Space

About Our Guest

Bill Diamond is President and CEO of the SETI Institute. Prior to joining SETI, he was a technology executive and Silicon Valley veteran, with over 20 years of experience in the photonics and optical communications industry, and a decade in X-ray and semiconductor processing technologies.  He holds a B.A. in physics from Holy Cross College and a masters in business administration from Georgetown University.

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_134_Searching_for_Aliens_All-Sky_All-the-Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Marco Delbo

The main belt asteroids are among the most ancient of all bodies in the solar system. This summer astronomers announced the discovery of what’s being called a primordial asteroid family. These asteroids are so old that their formation predates the migration of Jupiter, which may have passed through the asteroid belt while travelling to its current location in the solar system. Today the discovery team leader Marco Delbo joins us here at The Star Spot to explain how we can learn about the biggest objects in the solar system by studying some of the smallest.

Current in Space

Tony goes a little apocalyptic when he discovers that a barrage of comets are heading toward the inner solar system… in a little over a million years. Then Maya reports on the exotic and diverse names now officially assigned to Pluto’s recently discovered surface features. Here’s a hint: the underworld is a popular destination on this little world.

About Our Guest

Marco Delbo is an Astronomer with the Observatory of Cote d'Azur and with France’s National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy, located at the University of Nice-Sophia.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_133.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Ravi Desai

It was recently reported that Saturn’s moon Titan harbours complex chemistry the likes of which we’ve never before seen in our solar system. On today’s episode of The Star Spot, the leader of the discovery Ravi Desai explains the implication of discovering these building blocks of life on a world that many are now calling the most habitable location beyond Earth.

Current in Space

Good news from Tony. The ocean worlds of Europa and Enceladus will be prime targets for the James Webb Space Telescope. Then Dave tells us how we finally mapped the surface of a second star - only to learn how little we know about our own sun’s fate. And finally Maya with the weather report: it’s raining diamonds in the outer solar system!

About Our Guest

Ravi Desai is PhD Candidate in Space Physics at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London. He is a member of the Cassini Science Team and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Feature Guest: Matt Nicholl

If you thought a supernova was powerful, time to meet its bigger brother, the superluminous supernova. They’ve been described as the rockstars of the supernova world and if one were to go off in our galaxy it would outshine the full moon. Yes, you heard that right. Now until recently we thought such stupendous events were confined to fantastically distant dwarf galaxies, far off and unusual parts of our universe. But now a remarkable new discovery has changed everything, bringing superluminous supernovae much much closer to home.  

On today’s episode we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Matt Nicholl whose team was responsible for discovering and characterizing the newest member of this extraordinary family, SN 2017egm

Current in Space

Tony reminds us that if you’re listening to this on the night of our broadcast, Sunday, August 20th, then you still have the chance to prepare yourself for the 2017 solar eclipse. Tomorrow all of North America will be treated to this remarkable spectacle as the moon completely or partially covers the sun. In order to find out when the eclipse will visit you go to https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/. And remember never look directly at the sun except during the moment of totality. Tell us about your experience by emailing info@thestarspot.ca.

About Our Guest

Matt Nicholl is an astronomer and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He received his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast.  His interest in the dynamic sky are particularly focused on supernovae. He can be found on instagram and twitter @mattnicholl56

Direct download: ep131.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: James Bauer

A team of astronomers studying long-period comets has just reached a startling conclusion. The solar system is home to seven times more of these large icy bodies than we previously thought. This according to team lead James Bauer, who joins us here at The Star Spot. How does this discovery affect our understanding of solar system formation? Were there once supermassive ancient comets which broke apart? And did we just massively increase the chance of a cometary collision with Earth.

Current in Space

Let Tony introduce you to the universe's most powerful explosion since the Big Bang: Gamma Ray Bursts!

About Our Guest

James Bauer is Astronomer at the University of Maryland. He is the Deputy Principal Investigator for the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) Mission. Dr. Bauer was the first to quantify seasonal surface changes on Triton, one of Neptune’s moons. He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and is Honorary Officer of NASA’s First Planetary Defense Squadron. The asteroid 16232 Chijagerbs is named after him and his wife.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_130_There_Are_How_Many_More_Comets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Danny Steeghs 

Gravitational wave astronomy was born less than 2 years ago when scientists made the first ever detection of gravitational waves coming from the merger of two distant massive black holes.

To build on the emergence of this revolutionary new science, a new project has just come online. Meet the Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer, or GOTO. This array of intelligent autonomous telescopes is now standing by and at the first sign of gravitational waves they are ready to spring into action, to zero in on some of the most cataclysmic events in our universe.

Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by GOTO Principal Investigator Dr. Danny Steeghs.

Current in Space

For many people a perfect day would involve cruising upon calm and beautiful seas. As Dave explains, that could actually happen - on Titan! Then Tony shares the discovery of an exciting surprise left over from a supernova explosion.  

About Our Guest

Danny Steeghs is an astrophysicist within the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick. He is the Principal Investigator for the University of Warwick in a collaborative project known as GOTO, or Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer. He is also involved in a survey of the Kepler field and a survey of the Northern Milky Way. An observational astronomer, his interests include the formation and evolution of interacting binary stars and gravitational wave astrophysics.


Feature Guest: Dan Falk

What if everything we see in our universe is not all that there is. The concept of the multiverse has captured the imagination of both physicists and cosmologists, but for very different reasons. According to the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every quantum event triggers the creation of new parallel universes. Meanwhile many cosmologists studying the beginning of the universe have come to believe that inflation is an eternal process forever creating new universes.

The quantum mechanical wave-function and cosmological inflation seem worlds apart. But what if these two dramatically different models were pointing to one and the same multiverse? In this second of our two part conversation, science reporter Dan Falk rejoins us here at The Star Spot to discuss this startling possibility.

Current in Space

Today Tony and Dave treat us to a special black hole double bill. First up, black holes were recently tested to determine if they really are every bit as exotic as we thought. And then, what happens to the supermassive black hole at the centres of merging galaxies?

About Our Guest

Dan Falk is an award winning science journalist and broadcaster. He’s been published very broadly, including in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Cosmos magazine, and New Scientist, and has contributed to CBC and TV Ontario science programming. Dan Falk is also the author of three books, including In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension, Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything, and The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. He co-hosts the BookLab podcast

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_128.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Dan Falk 

They once portended the collapse of civilization. Well the solar eclipse visiting North America this summer probably won’t spell the end of days. But as our guest Dan Falk will explain astronomers and lay people alike are in for an unforgettable experience on August 21st, when day literally turns to night.

Current in Space

Data dump? Oh yes just another 200 or so alien worlds discovered by Kepler.

About Our Guest

Dan Falk is an award winning science journalist and broadcaster. He’s been published very broadly, including in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Cosmos magazine, and New Scientist, and has contributed to CBC and TV Ontario science programming. Dan Falk is also the author of three books, including In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension, Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything, and The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. He co-hosts the BookLab podcast

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_127_When_Day_Turns_to_Night_with_Dan_Falk.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Chris Prophet

SpaceX has blasted into the aerospace world, seemingly overnight, bringing with it a new low cost model for accessing space. But this paradigm shifting company has set its sights much higher, with a promise to send humans to Mars, to live, colonize and even terraform the red planet. And behind it all stands Elon Musk. The visionary futurist claims he will not stop until he’s broken through the government inertia and overwhelming technological challenge in his bid to revolutionize space exploration as we know it.

Now a new book is providing a behind the scenes look at Space X and today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Chris Prophet, the author of SpaceX: From the Ground Up.

About Our Guest

Chris Prophet is a writer of science and science fiction, including the book New Space: Our Shiny Future, and the science fiction series Euphoria. He is trained as an engineer.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_126_SpaceX.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Jason Dittmann

Just last month, April 2017, astronomers announced the discovery of an extrasolar planet that has the best shot at harbouring life outside our solar system. To find out what makes LHS 1140b so special and what steps are planned to learn more about this potential alien home, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team’s leader Dr. Jason Dittmann.

Current in Space

The famous nearby star Epsilon Eridani harbours a solar system eerily similar to ours, explains Dave. Then Tony shares what we're learning from the clearest image yet taken of the Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud.

About Our Guest

Jason Dittmann is Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT where he is working with a team led by world famous planetary scientist Sara Seager. Dittmann holds one of the four inaugural 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellowships, which are provided to scientists studying theoretical, observational, and experimental research in planetary astronomy. Dittmann received his PhD from Harvard University and his research interests are in exoplanets and low-mass stars

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_124_-_The_Best_Candidate_for_Life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Michael Hudson

If you’re like most people you probably think of galaxies as islands of stars, separate and isolated cities of our universe. But it turns out these cities are connected through a vast web of highways known as dark matter bridges. To help us understand the origin and role of this cosmic scaffolding today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Michael Hudson.

Current in Space

Astronomers have discovered a pulsar that’s coming back from near death, explains Dave. And could the technology for astronaut hibernation be closer than you think? Tony reports.

About Our Guest

Michael Hudson is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Waterloo. His team was the first to capture images of dark matter bridges using a technique called weak gravitational lensing. Hudson holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge. He received an Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo and  a Premier’s Research Excellence Award.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_123_Dark_Matter_Bridging_the_Galaxies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Quinn Konopacky

The 14th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontiers symposium was hosted on January 27th, 2017 by the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto. This year’s unique theme was “What Ifs: Is the Impossible, Possible?”! In this special three episode series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the event’s keynote speakers as we explore three provocative questions at the cutting edge of astronomy.

How would things be different if our sun wasn’t an only child? This isn’t a simple exercise in academic speculation for the majority of stars like our sun actually do come with at least one other companion orbiting them. In this third and final segment of our “what if?” series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Quinn Konopacky to find out just what would have happened if we gave our sun the sibling it never had, and by implication, what the prospects are for life among the majority of sun-like stars in our galaxy.

Current in Space

The Star Spot is expressing its appreciation to Anuj Rastogi for his invaluable contributions to our show. After producing news for the last three years, Anuj is leaving our team to pursue other opportunities.

In his final broadcast he offers us three important news updates. Are fast radio bursts signs of alien intelligence in far off galaxies? What are the implications of electric sand on Titan? And has Mars enjoyed a longer period of volcanic activity than even our own Earth?

Finally in other news, Dave announces the first detection of an atmosphere around a lower mass extrasolar planet.

 

About Our Guest

Dr. Quinn Konopacky is Assistant Professor at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. She received her PhD from UCLA and performed postdoctoral research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics. Her work focuses on the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_122_What_if_the_Sun_had_a_sibling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: David Kipping

The 14th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontiers symposium was hosted on January 27th, 2017 by the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto. This year’s unique theme was “What Ifs: Is the Impossible, Possible?”!

And now in a special three episode series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the event’s keynote speakers as we explore three provocative questions at the cutting edge of astronomy.

We are either the first civilization in the galaxy or we’re about to meet our doom. Today Professor David Kipping joins us here at The Star Spot to offer his startling - and troubling - resolutions to the famous Fermi Paradox.

Current in Space

There is a weirdness at the heart of the Andromeda Galaxy, and Tony shares some exotic explanations.

About Our Guest

David Kipping is Professor of Astrophysics at Columbia University. He is well known for his work developing the latest exoplanet detection techniques, and is a pioneer in the field of exo-moonology. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler Project.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_121_Scary_Resolutions_to_the_Fermi_Paradox.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Gurtina Besla

The 14th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontiers symposium was hosted on January 27th, 2017 by the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto. This year’s unique theme was “What Ifs: Is the Impossible, Possible?”!

And now in a special three episode series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the event’s keynote speakers as we explore three provocative questions at the cutting edge of astronomy.

First up, on today’s episode Dr. Gurtina Besla asks, what if humans are around to witness the awesome collision of the Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy? What would that look like and how would it affect life on Earth?

Current in Space

We always knew life on Earth started soon into the planet's history, but scientists have just set the clock back, and Anuj tells us how unbelievably far back. Then Tony explains how Breakthrough Starshot would design a starship that could travel between stars within a single generation. And while you may have heard about that new exoplanet system with 3 planets in the habitable zone, Dave tells us you won't believe what the sky would look like from the surface!

About Our Guest

Dr. Gurtina Besla is Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona and Principal Investigator of the outreach project TIMESTEP. She is part of a number of collaborations, including TiNy Titans, which aims to quantify the role of dwarf interactions and mergers as drivers of galaxy evolution at the low mass end, and also SMASH, which is studying the Magellanic clouds, our Milky Way Galaxy's largest satellite galaxies. Dr. Besla received her PhD from Harvard University.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_120_When_Galaxies_Collide.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Paul Sutter

Imagine travelling a very long way in space only to return just where you started, but upside down.  Or consider living in an exotic donut-shaped universe, or one with far more than our usual three dimensions. The amazing thing is that we very well may. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Paul Sutter who will explain the crazy possibilities for the shape of our universe.  

Current in Space

Imagine the view from an Earth-size object that spun on its axis once every minute? According to Dave, that’s what you get with a recently discovered new object, a mysterious white dwarf pulsar. Then Anuj explains why the mass beaching of whales is not only undeniably tragic, but critically important to all inhabitants of planet Earth. And from death on the beach to death from above. Tony shares the terrifying aftermath of a devastating asteroid collision!

About Our Guest

Paul Sutter is an astrophysicist at The Ohio State University and the chief scientist at the Center for Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio. Sutter hosts the show Ask a Spaceman where he welcomes your questions on the nature of space and time.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_119_-_Exotic_Shapes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Terry Kucera

We see it there in the sky every day of our lives. And yet our own local star, the sun, is still in many ways a mystery. What causes the solar cycle? How does the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, reach a staggering temperature of over 1 million degrees. And could a really big solar storm turn back the clock on our technology and civilization? You’ll never look at the sun the same way again after we’re joined here The Star Spot by NASA astrophysicist Dr. Terry Kucera

Current in Space

As we focus today's feature interview on the Sun, Tony reminds us not to forget about the moon, and he competes for our attention with a startling new conjecture that rivals the mainstream theory for the origin of our close companion.

About Our Guest

Terry  Kucera is an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Solar Physics Laboratory. She is Deputy Project Scientist for STEREO, the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory. STEREO is the third mission in NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes program and for the last decade has been revolutionizing our understanding of the Earth-sun system. Dr. Kucera has a PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_118_The_Sun_Our_Local_Mystery_with_Terry_Kucera.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Matt Malkan

Was the early universe green? That’s the startling discovery by a team of UCLA astronomers studying the youngest galaxies in our universe. Why green? That’s what I’ll try to find out when Professor Matt Malkan joins us here at The Star Spot.

Current in Space

As 2017 gets underway, Anuj teases us with a trailer for space missions we can look forward to this year. In case that puts us in too ecstatic a mood, Dave quickly reminds us that nothing lives forever, and that includes exocomets which were recently detected dying in a fiery plunge into a far off star. And Tony closes with a mixed message. We’re moving forward with a Europa lander - but the challenges are significant!

About Our Guest

Matt Malkan is Professor of Astronomy at the University of California at Los Angeles. He’s interested in power, cosmological power. Malkan studies the primary sources of energy in the universe and galaxy formation in the early universe.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_117_Is_the_Universe_Going_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Suzanna Nagy

Suzanna Nagy is President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Vancouver Centre. In May 2016 she took advantage of a rare and unusual aerial phenomena - a clear sky in downtown Vancouver - to share the wonders of our solar system with hundreds of people. The event was the transit of planet Mercury in front of the sun. In case you missed it, we’re going to have Suzanna joining us here at The Star Spot to describe her experience and to explain to us how astronomy educators use these naturally occurring marvels to provide others with a way into the world of astronomy.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Dan Werthimer

Physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, if aliens exist in the galaxy, then just where is everybody. And for nearly 40 years the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, has sought to answer that very question. Now they’re about to take it to the next level. Meet China’s FAST telescope (Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope). Now in the commissioning phase, when the largest single dish radio telescope in the world enters prime time early in 2017 it might give us a new year’s gift of galactic significance. To understand how the FAST Telescope will be a game changer in our search for alien intelligence, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by SETI pioneer and Chief Scientist for SETI@Home Dan Werthimer.

Current in Space

Do we really know the fate awaiting Earth when the sun enters its end of days? Anuj thinks we do now that we've found our future twin. Then Dave provides an update on Pluto's surprisingly complex and sensitive matters of the heart. And can globular clusters shed light on the heart of our own galaxy.

About Our Guest

Dan Werthimer is a SETI pioneer and co-founder. He works at the Berkeley SETI Research Centre where he is Chief Scientist for SETI@home and director of the SERENDIP project (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations). Dr. Werthimer was Associate Professor in the Engineering and Physics departments of San Francisco State University and a visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_115_-_Dan_Werthimer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Roberto Abraham

Imagine a galaxy that has a similar mass and volume to our own but where somebody turned off most of the stars. Meet Dragonfly 44, the most famous member of a new category of galaxies known as ultra-diffuse. Are they failed galaxies, bits of other galaxies or something even stranger. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor Roberto Abraham whose team was responsible for the discovery of what’s being dubbed the Milky Way’s Dark Matter Twin.

Current in Space

The killer asteroid that took out the dinosaurs - and much of life on Earth - came from somewhere in our solar system, and Anuj reports we’ve just identified its home base. Then in case you thought the universe was a big place Tony explains how our observable universe just got a whole lot bigger. And did you know Earth has at least one sidekick? Dave explains how a new mission will help study so-called Trojan asteroids that share a common orbit with our pale blue dot.

About Our Guest

Roberto Abraham is Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. He received his PhD from the University of Oxford and then performed post-doctoral work at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics and the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. Professor Abraham has been awarded the National Science and Engineering Research Council Steacie Fellowship and is Honorary President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Toronto Centre.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_114_-_The_Milky_Ways_Dark_Matter_Twin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Gail Higginbottom

The British gave us the world’s first parliament. And now it turns out the ancient British may have been among the world’s first astronomers. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by archaeoastronomer Gail Higginbottom. Thanks to her and her team we now have proof that megalithic structures build hundreds of years before Stonehenge were in fact ancient astronomical observatories whose purpose is still shrouded in mystery.

Current in Space

About Our Guest

Dr. Gail Higginbottom is an interdisciplinary archaeo-astronomer at home in a variety of fields. She is Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Adelaide and Professor in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University.


Feature Guest: William Sparks

Extraterrestrial life might be erupting into space from the surface of Europa. And a NASA mission to the icy world could fly right through it. Today I’m joined here at The Star Spot by William Sparks, whose team discovered evidence for water vapour geysers on Jupiter’s fascinating moon. 

Current in Space

Europa. Enceladus. Titan. Meet the newest ocean world: Saturn's moon Dione. Then just as we are coming to terms with an accelerating universe, astronomers suddenly announce we may have gotten worked up over nothing. 

About Our Guest

William Sparks has been an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland since his days as a postdoc in 1986. He is currently the Deputy Division Head for the Instruments Division and a member of the Advanced Camera for Surveys Instrument Definition Team (ACS IDT). His research focuses on active galaxies, radio galaxies, X-ray emission in galaxy clusters, and astrobiology.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_112_-_Geysers_on_Europa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Shawn Bishop

We’ve long known we’re made of star stuff, but now it turns out that life on Earth might be even more intimately connected to events in deep space than we imagined. Scientists recently reported the first ever discovery of supernova ash - atoms forged in the catastrophic explosion of dead stars - found buried in fossils created by bacteria right here on Earth. And most surprising of all these findings hint at a possible role for supernovae in bringing about mass extinctions, events which have changed the course of life on Earth and may do so again in our future. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team’s Professor Shawn Bishop.

Current in Space

We worry whether our search for extraterrestrial intelligence is looking in the right place. Tony tells us a better question might be whether we're looking at the right time. But might we be able to catch life ejected into space? Dave shares exciting evidence of enormous water jets coming from Jupiter's icy moon Europa. Finally Anuj provides an update on an exciting future space telescope that might just be built by little, green... robots. 

About Our Guest

Shawn Bishop is an experimental nuclear astrophysicist at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Bishop studied at McMaster University and the University of Victoria and received his PhD from Simon Fraser University in 2003. He has worked at TRIUMF National Laboratory in Vancouver and the RIKEN National Laboratory in Saitama, Japan. He studies nuclear physics, nucleosynthesis and supernovae.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_111_Shawn_Bishop.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Nico Hamaus

Astronomers are no longer avoiding the void. Between the overdense zones of our universe, where most galaxies live, there exist vast regions of near emptiness that can stretch for hundreds of millions of light years. But these voids are not nearly as inconsequential as you might imagine and now they are finally getting the attention they deserve. Astronomers are peering into the void in the hopes of solving a variety of cosmic mysteries, from gleaning critical insights into dark matter to studying unique galaxies found in the voids. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Nico Hamaus as we study the spaces between.

Current in Space

Just as we're learning more about our solar system's own Kuiper Belt, we're also discovering that extrasolar systems may harbour similar structures. Dave helps us understand just where such disks may originate. And while it may be just a little world, Anuj tells us dwarf planet Pluto has a surprisingly complex inner (and surface) life.

About Our Guest

Nico Hamaus is research fellow in the Cosmology Group at the University Observatory and Professor of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_110_-_Peering_Into_the_Voids.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Gerardo Aldana

No the ancient Maya did not predict the end of the world. But they were among the world’s most advanced astronomers. Now some anthropologists believe they’ve found evidence that the Maya achieved a remarkable innovation in mathematics and science. To share with us his revolutionary view of the famous Mayan Dresden Codex, the oldest book ever written in the Americas, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Gerardo Aldana.

Current in Space

About Gerardo Aldana

Gerardo Aldana is a Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara with a joint appointment to the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. He holds degrees in both engineering and the history of science. His research interests include Mayan hieroglyphs, culture theory and experimental archaeology.  

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_109_Rethinking_Ancient_Mayan_Astronomy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Guillem Anglada-Escudé

Recently headlines buzzed with news of the discovery of the nearest exoplanet that we will ever find. And it looks like it could very well be habitable. Proxima b, at just over 4 light years from Earth, is quickly fuelling the imagination, with one foundation already planning a spacecraft mission to the world within a single generation. Today we’re excited to be joined at The Star Spot by Guillem Anglada-Escudé, head of the team responsible for this amazing discovery.

Current in Space

About Our Guest

Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé is Lecturer at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University London in the UK. His research interests range from exoplanets to fundamental physics. He received his PhD from the University of Barcelona. Dr. Anglada has served as "Councillor of Culture, Citizen participation and Youth" for the city council of Ullastrell, a small village near Barcelona.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episosde_Episode_108_-_Guillem_Anglada.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Ludovic Van Waerbeke

Large scale surveys of the universe are quickly becoming key to making new discoveries at the cutting edge of astronomy. Case in point is the Cosmic Evolution Survey (or COSMOS), which incorporates data from 446,000 galaxies.

Today we're joined at The Star Spot by Ludovic Van Waerbeke whose survey-based research has helped us expand our understanding of the expanding - and accelerating - universe, confirming the existence of an unknown source of energy, or dark energy, and providing a map of the large scale dark matter distribution of the cosmos.

About Our Guest

Ludovic Van Waerbeke is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia and Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in the Cosmology and Gravity program.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episosde_107.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Aaron Boley

Is our solar system unique? That's becoming a major question for researchers. It turns out solar system formation is a far more complex process than anyone imagined. Gas giants migrate in and out. Planets swap places with each other. And bodies of all shapes and sizes appear at every conceivable distance from their star. To make sense of what might literally be a chaotic system today I’m joined at The Star Spot by Aaron Boley, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy.

Current in Space

About Our Guest

Aaron Boley is Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. He studied at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Switzerland before holding a Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Florida. Boley is a frequent guest at public science events, having presented to Café Scientifique, Vancouver’s VanCityBuzz and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.  

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_106_Aaron_Boley-updated.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Zachary Fejes

Imagine a starship that could take us out into the galaxy. Meet Icarus Interstellar, a nonprofit foundation working to achieve interstellar travel by the year 2100. Is this science fiction? That’s what I’ll ask Zachary Fejes. His team is tasked with preparing a map that will take us to the stars, and he joins Justin Trottier here at The Star Spot.

Current in Space

We know supernova are among the most destructive and violent events our universe is capable of producing. Now Tony tells us why they may have played a creative role in Earth history. Then Dave shares news of the first exoplanet discovered, alive and well, in a triple star system.

About Our Guest

Zachary Fejes is Project Lead for Project Voyager at Icarus Interstellar, a research and development project to create next generation space exploration mission planning and simulation software. If you’re like to join his team, which draws heavily from student volunteers, connect with him on twitter @zachfejes. He is a recent electrical engineering graduate from the University of Toronto.

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_105_Zachary_Fejes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Chuck Black

Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. The great terraforming Mars debate. 

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds. We approached the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics.

Now over the course of 4 episodes I’m being joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event.

We covered the science of Mars with planetary scientist Paul Delaney. We then turned questions of Martian and Earthling biology with Dr. Olathe MacIntyre. Finally, switching gears, we asked NASA’s planetary protection officer John Rummel if we should terraform a lifeless world.

These have been weighty discussions so in this fourth and final interview with journalist Chuck Black of Canadian Aerospace News we’re going to have a little fun. We’re going to dream of our loftiest vision of a Martian colony and we’re going to ask, if we do opt for colonization, how would we choose who to send as ambassadors of our species.

Current in Space

 

About Our Guest

Chuck Black is a journalist, technology advocate, public speaker and activist. He edits and contributes articles to the Commercial Space blog, the Canadian Aerospace News, and the Space Conference News. He also organizes and produces events focused on the commercialization of space- derived technologies which bring together industry experts for detailed in-person discussions, collaboration and networking on a wide variety of topics for various groups.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: John Rummel

Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. The great terraforming Mars debate.

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds. We approached the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics. Now over the course of 4 episodes I’m being joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event. We covered the science of Mars with planetary scientist Paul Delaney. We then turned questions of Martian and Earthling biology with Dr. Olathe MacIntyre.

Now it’s time to switch gears. Even if we could make Mars habitable, we must confront the equally profound question, should we do it? If Mars already habours life, even just microbes, does that make terraforming off limits? If Mars has dormant life, should we reawaken it? And do humans have an imperative to spread life to the barren worlds of our solar system and beyond?

To tackle these biggest of questions today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor John Rummel of NASA’s Planetary Protection Subcommittee.

Current in Space

What’s the best way to study the largest volcano in the solar system? Anuj explains. And while every major galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its centre, have you ever wondered just where do they come from? Tony sheds some light.

About Our Guest

John Rummel is a Senior Scientist with the SETI Institute and a Visiting Scholar at McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law. A retired Professor of Biology at East Carolina University, he has been a member of the NASA Advisory Council’s Planetary Protection Subcommittee. He previously worked at NASA Headquarters, as Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Exobiology Program Manager. Rummel is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the Life Sciences Award from the International Academy of Astronautics. He received his PhD in community ecology and evolution from Stanford University.

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_103.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Olathe MacIntyre

Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot recently did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we recently co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. Can we terraform Mars to make it habitable? And if we can, should we?

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds in order to approach the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics. Now over the course of 4 episodes we're joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event.

We started, appropriately, with the red planet itself. In our last episode planetary scientist Paul Delaney updated us with the most current understanding of the characteristics of Mars pertinent to the planet’s suitability for life.

Today we look at the biology, turning the focus on us, that is, the biota of Earth. We’ll be asking what we need to change about Mars to make it friendlier to our kind of life? What techniques are available toward that end? And could Earth life itself play a key role in transforming the red planet?

Current in Space

Did you know dung beetles use the Milky Way galaxy for navigation. Don't believe us? Anuj will explain how it works. Then Tony shares how supermassive black holes may unlock the secrets of distant galaxies. 

About Our Guest

Dr. Olathe MacIntyre received a B.Sc. in Biology at Dalhousie University.  After working as an Onboard Marine Biologist in Alaska, she completed her M.Sc. in Space Science at the International Space University in France, and co-authored “Visysphere Mars: Terraforming Meets Engineered Life Adaption.” She received an internship at the world-class Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University of Guelph, where she earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. Her thesis explored the implications of hypobaric conditions for plant-microbe interactions in a Lunar or Martian greenhouse. She followed with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph. She is currently with Science North, a science education centre, working to inspire the next generation of scientists through the wonders of space exploration.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Paul Delaney

Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot recently did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we recently co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. Can we terraform Mars to make it habitable? And if we can, should we?

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds in order to approach the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics.

Now, over the next 4 episodes I’ll be joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event.

We start with the science. For the debate over terraforming Mars depends in large part on the attributes of the red planet, on whether it harbours life, and on what technologies are possible to make the planet suitable for a human settlement and even civilization. To set the scene and to share his position in this great debate today we're joined at The Star Spot by planetary science Professor Paul Delaney.

The Star Spot is Now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Current in Space

Scientists are getting closer to discovering what dark matter is made of... by ruling out one more possible candidate, explains Anuj. Then Dave announces Kepler has suddenly doubled the number of confirmed exoplanets in our galaxy. And with new research into the overview effect, Tony wonders if the life changing experience enjoyed by astronauts can be brought down to Earth.

About Our Guest

Paul Delaney is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at York University. He received his undergraduate degree from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and his graduate degree in astronomy from the University of Victoria in Canada. Professor Delaney oversees the York University campus observatory and its public outreach programs, and he appears regularly on York Universe, one of The Star Spot’s affiliated podcasts.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_101_-_Terraforming_Mars_Paul_Delaney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Celebrating 100 Episodes with you at The Star Spot!

Thank you for joining here at The Star Spot for our special 100th episode. I want to take a moment to thank the 100 absolutely stellar guests that have joined us on the show over the last 4 years. You have educated and inspired people of all ages with your insight and enthusiasm. Thank you to our listeners for helping us grow our production and for your thoughtful suggestions and terrific online discussion. And of course, a very special thank you to the amazing team of volunteers who make our project possible. It has been a great experience working with each of you and I look forward to what the next 4 years will bring.

 

Feature Guest: Feryal Özel

As we speak astronomers are busy building the world’s biggest telescope. And when it becomes operational one year from now the globe-spanning Event Horizon Telescope will be aimed at the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, taking the first ever portrait of this hungry beast lying at the very core of the Milky Way. To help us understand how studying the shadow of supermassive black holes will provide the most rigorous test yet in our understanding of gravity, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by The Event Horizon Telescope’s Professor Feryal Özel

The Star Spot is Now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Current in Space

Science fiction fans are familiar with a cloaking device that hides alien ships from an enemy. Now Tony explains how a real life cloaking device could help us hide our entire civilization from prying eyes. And Anuj wonders if Saturn's moons may be younger than we thought - and what that means for our exploration of the solar system. 


About Our Guest

Feryal Özel is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Arizona. She received her Masters from the Niels Borh Institute and her PhD from Harvard University, before working as a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Her research focuses on neutron stars and black holes, and the relationship of black holes and galaxies in the early universe. Professor Özel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Science Academy of Turkey.

 

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_100_-_The_Monster_at_the_Centre_of_the_Galaxy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Ingrid Stairs

In February scientists announced the first ever discovery of gravitational waves, tiny distortions in the fabric of space-time predicted by Einstein exactly 100 years ago. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, made the historic detection by studying two colliding black holes, but singularities aren’t the only source of gravitational waves.

Here to tell us how pulsars, the lighthouses of the galaxy, can be used to study gravitational waves and help us understand the forces of our universe, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by pulsar authority Ingrid Stairs

The Star Spot is Now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Current in Space

We know the late heavy bombardment period was critical to the eventual emergence of life on Earth. But since Earth wasn't the only planet that went through such an ordeal, Anuj explains what that implies for life in the solar system. And Dave shares new evidence of the effect of ancient supernova explosions on our planet.

About Our Guest

Ingrid Stairs is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. She received her doctoral degree from Princeton university before undertaking her postdoctral fellowship at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK. Professor Stairs received the NSERC University FAculty Award as well as Princeton’s Joseph Henry Award. She is a world authority on pulsars, the energetic remnants of massive dead stars.


Feature Guest: Brian Trent

Here’s the ultimate challenge for science fiction. How do you describe the appearance and behaviour of an intelligent alien species when we have no example to go on but us? How can we ever know our portrayal is truly alien and not a projection of our own expectations, hopes and fears? Or has the job of science fiction all along been to hold up a mirror to ourselves? Today we're joined at The Star Spot by Brian Trent, an award-winning science fiction author who manages to blend shockingly unfamiliar alien beings within stories of profound humanity.

Today’s episode of The Star Spot is the third in a three part series featuring interviews with the keynote speakers at the 13th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontier’s symposium, this year on the topic Astronomyths: Science or Fiction?, looking at cosmology and alien life, hosted at the University of Toronto this past January.

The Star Spot is Now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Current in Space

Did the Large Hadron Collider just discover a new heavy particle beyond the Standard Model of particular physics? Anuj reports. Then Dave explains how astronomers captured for the first time the very beginning of a supernova explosion. And Tony reveals how space rocks arriving on Earth from before the formation of the solar system show chemicals produced in long dead stars.   

About Our Guest

Brian Trent is a journalist and science-fiction writer. His work appears regularly in major publications like AE - The Canadian Science Fiction Review, ANALOG, Fantasy & Science Fiction, COSMOS, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge and Daily Science Fiction.  In 2013 his story “War Hero” was a winner in the Writers of the Future Contest. His most recently published Novel, Rahotep, came out in December.

Brian Trent describes himself as “a futurist with an interest in the past.” He studies how technology has affected our world in order to speculate on where we are headed. His  writings on artificial intelligence, longevity research and the search for life in the universe, among other topics, lead him towards a picture of what the future looks like for our society and our species. His ideas have appeared in UTNE, The Humanist, Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld and other publications. 


Feature Guest: Lynn Rothschild

Are we alone in the universe? Think about it. Whatever the answer, it is one of the most profound and enduring questions humans have ever asked. The fact that we are on the cusp of being able to answer it is incredible. But the challenge is still immense, for we’re not even sure exactly how to define life.

And yet there’s no one better equipped to tackle this mystery then an astrobiologist who is presenting working to recreate life in the lab. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by senior NASA astrobiology Professor Lynn Rothschild who will update us on our search for life in space and our new efforts to build synthetic biology here on Earth.

Today’s episode of The Star Spot is the second in a three part series featuring interviews with the keynote speakers at the 13th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontier’s symposium, this year on the topic Astronomyths: Science or Fiction?, looking at cosmology and alien life, hosted at the University of Toronto this past January. In our next episode we will speak with Brian Trent, award-winning science fiction author and futurist.

The Star Spot Hits the Airwaves!

Coming soon, your favourite astronomy program will be travelling through space… well through the airwaves at least. The Star Spot, broadcast on CJRU, The Scope at Ryerson, will be on the air at 1280AM on the radio dial starting in April. You’ll be able to catch the latest episode every Sunday at 8PM and Tuesday at 6PM Eastern Time. Visithttp://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Anuj asks how today's stromatolites can tell us about the habitability of the ancient Earth. And Tony bring news of cutting edge technology that promises advances in the imaging of planets beyond our solar system. 

About Our Guest

Professor Lynn J. Rothschild is senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Adjunct Professor at Brown University and the University of California Santa Cruz.

Professor Rothschild is a world authority in the field of astrobiology. She founded and ran the first three Astrobiology Science Conferences, was the founding co-editor of the International Journal of Astrobiology, and is the former director of the Astrobiology Strategic Analysis and Support Office for NASA.

A well-rounded astrobiologist, Dr. Rothschild works on various models for the origin of life, studies the interaction of environment on biology, explores life in extreme environments and looks for signs of life on other worlds.

Recently she has been pioneering the new field of synthetic biology. Her award-winning iGem team is investigating the use of synthetic biology to accomplish space exploration missions, including the future human settlement of Mars.

Professor Rothschild has received the Isaac Asimov Award from the American Humanist Association and the Horace Mann Award from Brown University. She is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, The California Academy of Sciences and the Explorer’s Club.


Feature Guest: Fred Adams

Could the very first moments of our universe hold the secret to the eventual emergence of life billions of years later? And can life exist in the unimaginably far future, or does the life of the universe effectively die? From the deep past to the infinite future, today we're joined at The Star Spot by Professor Fred Adams to discuss the intersection of cosmology and life.

The Star Spot Hits the Airwaves!

Coming soon, your favourite astronomy program will be travelling through space… well through the airwaves at least. The Star Spot, broadcast on CJRU, The Scope at Ryerson, will be on the air at 1280AM on the radio dial starting in April. You’ll be able to catch the latest episode every Sunday at 8PM and Tuesday at 6PM Eastern Time. Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Thinking of moving to Mars?

Then you better attend the upcoming panel discussion, March 16th at the University of Toronto. The event will feature six amazing panelists from the fields of physics, astronomy, philosophy, commerce, environmental science, planetary protection and political science, all brought together to explore the possibilities and implications of Martian settlement. Come join me as I moderate this exciting and unique debate, and meet up with members of The Star Spot and the U of T Astronomy and Space Exploration Society

About Our Guest

Today’s episode of The Star Spot is the first in a three part series featuring interviews with the keynote speakers at the 13th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontier’s symposium, this year on the topic Astronomyths: Science or Fiction?, looking at cosmology and alien life, hosted at the University of Toronto this past January. In our subsequent two episodes we will speak with Professor Lynn Rothschild, senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, and then Brian Trent, award-winning science fiction author and futurist.

Today I’m excited to be joined by Professor Fred Adams. Professor Adams served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before joining the Physics Department at the University of Michigan, where he is now Full Professor. Professor Adams has won many awards, including the the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, the Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and the Excellence in Education Award from the University of Michigan. In 2014, we was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Professor Adams has an interest in how things form, whether we’re talking the formation of stars, of planetary systems or of the universe itself. Recently he has turned his focus to how things end, with cosmological work that is considering the long term evolution and fate of our universe.   Professor Adams is an author of several astronomy books for the public, including The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity and Origins of Existence: How Life Emerged in the Universe.


Feature Guest: Gil Holder

Have you heard of the Great Attractor or the Great Wall? The universe evolved from a hot dense not quite perfectly uniform state to now contain galaxies in sheet-like structures separated by huge voids. These clusters and superclusters of galaxies make up the largest scale structure in the observable universe. How exactly did they emerge, what role does dark matter and dark energy play in the evolution of structure and just where is our universe headed? To help us answer those questions today we’re joined at The Star Spot by cosmologist Gil Holder.

Current in Space

With the building of the James Webb Space Telescope coming along quickly, Anuj explains how the successor to Hubble will open a new window on the universe? And following the recent 40th anniversary of the Apollo 1 disaster, Tony reflect on three major tragedies in the history of space exploration and reflects on why it’s still worth the risk. Finally Dave reports on the groundbreaking discovery of gravitational waves via one of the most powerful phenomena in the universe: binary black hole mergers. 

About Our Guest

Gil Holder is Canada Research Chair in Cosmological Astrophysics at McGill University and a Scholar at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Dr. Holder received his PhD from the University of Chicago and was a Keck Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study from 2001 to 2004. His research focuses on unique methods of studying structure formation in the universe.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_95_-_Galaxy_Clusters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Don Lincoln

Humanoid... grey in colour… almond shaped eyes. You all know exactly what I’m describing, but have you ever wondered just how the public’s perception of aliens came to be? Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor Don Lincoln, renowned particle physicist and author of Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos. Does our conversation and beliefs about aliens tell us more about us than them, and how might first contact with an alien intelligence change everything.

Current in Space

Star Trek-like alien interactions might be possible after all... if you live at the centre of a globular cluster. Then, we look at a conspiracy theory that's no longer so out there, because Planet X is back, with a vengeance. And gardening arrives at the ISS, meaning astronauts may eventually enjoy the fruits of their labour. Extremophiles are also heading to the space station, as we test their habitability in Mars-like conditions.

About Our Guest

Don Lincoln is a senior physicist at Fermilab, America’s flagship particle physics laboratory, and adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame. He is co-discover of the top quark and was part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012. Professor Lincoln is the author of several public science books, including Understanding the Universe: From Quarks to the Cosmos, The Large Hadron Collider: The Extraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Things That Will Blow Your Mind and Alien Universe: Extraterrestrials in our Minds and in the Cosmos.

 

 


Feature Guest: Les Johnson

In our last conversation, Pekka Janhunen, inventor of the electric solar sail, joined Denise at The Star Spot to explain the science and engineering behind this advanced spacecraft propulsion technology. Now as we dive into Part 2, it’s time to ask, just how far into deep space will the electric sail take us and will it truly open up a path to the stars? To answer those questions, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Les Johnson, Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office.

Current in Space

Death from above. If an object from outer space is going to kill you, Tony tells you which one it's likely to be. And did you know some stars are in a big hurry? Anuj explains the newly discovered phenomenon of runaway stars. 

About Our Guest

Les Johnson is Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He is co-investigator of NASA’s Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), an electric-solar-sail study and development project. Johnson is also a science fiction author whose latest novel, Rescue Mode, describes the first human mission to Mars.


Feature Guest: Pekka Janhunen

The electric solar wind sail, or electric sail for short, is an advanced spacecraft propulsion technology that just might revolutionize space travel, making deep-space exploration at high speeds a reality. Or not. To help us separate fact from fiction today our guest host Denise Fong is joined at the star spot by Dr. Pekka Janhunen, the inventor of the electric sail.

Current in Space

Everyone knows Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight to land humans on the moon. But as Anuj helps us celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, we remember why this mission changed everything. Kicking yourself for having missed that recent supernova explosion? Not to worry. Dave explains how some events in the cosmos get re-played over and over again. And can Mars look forward to its very own ring system? Tony explains.

About Our Guest

Dr. Pekka Janhunen is a space researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Helsinki in 1994. Since then Dr. Janhunen has focused his research in various areas of planetary science. He is best known for his 2006 invention of the Electric Solar Wind Sail. This innovation took place at the Kumpula Space Centre, a collaboration between the Finnish Meteorological Institute,the Department of Physics of the University of Helsinki and the School of Electrical Engineering of Aalto University.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_92_-_The_Electric_Solar_Sail.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Henry Joy McCracken

Last month scientists announced the shocking discovery of 574 monster galaxies from the ancient universe. There are surprisingly many such giant galaxies, and they seem to appear more suddenly and earlier than astronomers predicted. How might this finding upend our understanding of galaxy and structure formation in the universe? To help us answer that question we’re joined by the discovery’s co-investigator Henry Joy McCracken.

This episode is dedicated to my wife Denise Fong, on our 6 month anniversary. Denise and I met at the 10th episode celebration of The Star Spot over 3 years ago. It has been a great pleasure to work with you Denise to grow our show and to further public education for astronomy, our common passion. - Justin

Current in Space

Galaxies are alive! Tony explains what makes a galaxy’s heart throb. And Anuj explains how stars can go rogue.

About Our Guest

Henry Joy McCracken has worked as a researcher at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris in France since 2003. He received his masters from the University of Victoria and his PhD from the University of Durham. His interests include galaxy formation and evolution and the evolving relationship between dark matter and normal matter.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_91_Monster_Galaxies_of_the_Ancient_Universe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Scott Sheppard

Recently astronomers discovered an object further than anything we’ve ever found in our solar system. This dwarf planet lies all the way out in the mysterious inner oort cloud. Today the object’s co-discoverer Scott Sheppard joins guest host Denise Fong here at The Star Spot, to reveal cutting edge findings from the unmapped edges of our solar system.

Current in Space

Anuj introduces us to the CLASS telescope. Never heard of it? You will. And with everyone seemingly fascinated by Jupiter's moon Europa, Tony asks what it would take to actually explore this intriguing world. 

About Our Guest

Scott Sheppard is faculty member in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He received his PhD from the University of Hawaii. A Hubble Fellow, Sheppard is credited with the discovery of many small moons of the gas giant planets. He has also been part of teams that have discovered comets, asteroids and Kuiper belt objects.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_90_Scott_Sheppard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: David Paige

There was once a time when scientists believed that beyond the Earth there lied a largely dry, barren and inhospitable solar system. But now we think there is likely to be liquid water below the surface of Jupiter’s moons Ganymede and Europa, a warm salty ocean below the crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus and recently NASA confirmed that ancient lakes once flowed on Mars.

As the solar system wettens, are we witnessing a paradigm shift with profound implications in our search for life. To help us answer that question today we're joined at The Star Spot by the self-described “professional ice finder” David Paige.

Current in Space

Did you know human beings are not the only life forms aboard the ISS. Anuj explains. Then Tony builds on last episode's description of a Tatooine-like exoplanet by introducing another Star Wars fan favourite. It seems the Kepler space telescope has discovered an object that is been dubbed the "Death Star" for while it is no battle station it may be just as destructive to nearby planets. 

About Our Guest


David Paige is Professor of Planetary Sciences at UCLA. He is Principal Investigator of the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, an instrument aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission that is currently orbiting the Moon. He made headlines in 2012 for the discovery of water ice deposits and organic material on Mercury using data collected by the MESSENGER spacecraft. Paige is a world authority on water, ices and volatiles in the solar system.  

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_89_David_Paige.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23pm EST

Feature Guest: Pawel Artymowicz

Star Wars fans will be familiar with the planet Tatooine and its two suns. But as it turns out the majority of stars in the Milky Way galaxy live with a companion. And that’s led scientists to study how multiple star systems form and develop, and whether they can host habitable planets.

To help us understand the behaviour of binary star system and the even more fascinating domain of supermassive binary black holes, the results of merging galaxies, today we're joined at The Star Spot by Pawel Artymowicz

 

Current in Space

Anuj shares new evidence that has pushed back the origin of life by hundreds of millions of years. Tony explains what measures scientists are using to predict the likelihood that newly discovered exoplanets are in fact habitable. Dave updates us on NASA's big water on Mars discovery with new analysis which is leading us to believe the red planet was much warmer and wetter than we had thought. And The Star Spot goes to the movies... off to Mars to be exact as Denise reviews The Martian.

About Our Guest

Pawel Artymowicz is Professor of Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. He received his Undergraduate degree in Astronomy from the University of Warsaw and his PhD from the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Toronto he was Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Stockholm in Sweden. He was the most cited astronomer in Stockholm from 1994 through to 2004. He has also worked as a Research Assistant at the Space Science Telescope Institute and the Lick Observatory in Santa Cruz, California.



Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Episode_88_-_Pawel_Artymowicz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Randy Attwood

Nearly a quarter of Americans confuse astronomy with astrology. And barely half know it takes the Earth a year to go around the Sun. Yes, you read that right. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do.

Today we're joined at The Star Spot by Randy Attwood. He’s Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. RASC has been engaged in astronomy education for nearly 150 years. He joins me at a live recording of The Star Spot on location in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Current in Space

Evidence for flowing liquid water on Mars has never been found...until now. Then Anuj updates our coverage of what appears to be the discovery of an infant solar system. Finally Tony surveys the worlds of our solar system where we now believe water to exist, in one form or another.

About Our Guest

Randy Attwood is Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada or RASC. He is the publisher of SkyNews, an astronomy periodical recently acquired by the society. Randy is a frequent guest commentator in the media, offering a thoughtful analysis of astronomy and space exploration news and events.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_87_-_Randy_Attwood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Wendy Freedman

A long long time ago in every place at once, all of this began. But when exactly did the universe begin? And how quickly did it expand into the structure we see around us? Those numbers are more difficult to nail down than we had thought, yet more critical to our understanding of the nature of the cosmos, of dark matter and dark energy, than we could have ever imagined. Today we're joined at The Star Spot by cosmologist Wendy Freedman who recently stepped down after 12 years heading up the development of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

Current in Space

Anuj wonders if magnetic worm holes will one day transport us to the far reaches of space. And with Pluto data analysis just getting underway, Tony provides the new targets for the New Horizons spacecraft.

About Our Guest

Wendy Freedman is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Among the world’s most influential astronomers, Freedman served as co-leader of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project and is former director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. She served 12 years as chair of the Board of Directors for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Project, an optical telescope with a primary mirror 80 feet in diameter scheduled to begin operations in 2021. Freedman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She is a recipient of the 2009 Gruber Prize for Cosmology.







Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Episode_86_-_When_The_Universe_Began.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Hilton Lewis

The twin Keck Telescopes of Hawaii are the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes. For twenty five years they have turned their eyes on the farthest and faintest objects in the cosmos, stacking up a dizzying array of accomplishments: from evidence for the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own galaxy to a recent discovery of the most distant galaxy in the observable universe. 


Today Keck Observatory Director Hilton Lewis joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss the life of the most impactful telescope astronomers possess, and to speculate on the future of the Keck in the emerging intensely competitive era of giant telescope astronomy.

Current in Space

Humans have the inate ability to self repair. Now Anuj tell us that the advent of self healing spacecraft may be close at hand. Comets are the ultimate fear factor. But while comets do have the ability to take life, Tony tells us they may also have the power to give it. And Dave reports on the closest known quasar, the product of the battle of two cosmological giants.

About Our Guest

The career of Hilton Lewis has grown alongside that of the Keck observatory. Lewis has been a member of the Keck team since the project’s launch in 1986. From his original job designing and developing the software that controls the Keck he would be promoted to many senior positions, then appointed Deputy Director in 2002 and Director in 2014. Lewis earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_85_Keck_Observatory.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Marc Garneau
He is the first Canadian to travel into space. But with momentous changes rocketing the space programs of many nations, how many more firsts will there be? Today Dr. Marc Garneau, a real hero of science and exploration, joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot, to discuss the past, present and future of human space flight.

Current in Space
When it comes to farming in space just how far along are we? Anuj provides a progress report and more importantly, the results of a taste test. Planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets, but Tony explains why they're still really important. Then Dave and Anuj tell us how the dwarf planet Sedna could turn out to be an alien object. 

About Our Guest
Marc Garneau was selected as one of the original six Canadian astronauts in 1983 following a career as an engineer in the Canadian Navy. Dr. Garneau travelled into space on 3 expeditions aboard the Space Shuttle. He then served as President of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 to 2005. He has been a member of Canada’s federal Parliament representing the riding of Westmount-Ville-Marie since 2008. Dr. Garneau was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1984 and then promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003. He is the 9th Chancellor of Carleton University.

 

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_84_-__Marc_Garneau.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Chris Gainor

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has forever changed the way we look at the cosmos. To help us understand how Hubble proved to be transformational, and for a brief history of the ups and down of our space program, today we're joined at The Star Spot by historian of science and technology Chris Gainor.

Current in Space

Anuj shares new insights into the emergence of the first galaxies in the universe. And Dave pushes the limits with discovery of a new exoplanet that if you were standing on it might feel a lot like home.

About Our Guest

Chris Gainor received his PhD in the history of technology from the University of Alberta, and has taught history at the University of Victoria. Chris worked for many years as a journalist, winning a National Newspaper Award. He is the author of four books, including Arrows to the Moon: Avro's Engineers and the Space Race, Canada in Space and Who Killed the Avro Arrow? He is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode83-ChrisGainor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Anousheh Ansari

Her name is synonymous with private space travel. Anousheh Ansari’s $10 million donation enabled the Ansari X-Prize to catalyze the private space industry. And in 2006 Ansari herself became the first female private space explorer when she visited the ISS. Today Anousheh Ansari joins us here at The Star Spot to discuss her amazing life and how the Space Ambassador aims to use her unique experiences to improve life on Earth.

This will be the last episode featuring an interview conducted at the International Space Development Conference, hosted this past May 2015 in Toronto.

 

Current in Space

From a few pixels to bizarre and tantalizing surface features. Today's news features a special Pluto theme in honour of the arrival of the New Horizons space probe at the tiny world of rock and ice. First Dave offers an homage to the discoveries we have already made both regarding Pluto and its many neighbours, as data is only beginning to be analyzed. Then Anuj focuses on Pluto's biggest moon, Charon, a world unto itself.

About our Guest

Anousheh Ansari is an Iranian-American engineer who served as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies. Her family were title sponsors of the Ansari X Prize, which was awarded to the first non-government company to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Ansari became the first female space traveller when she visited the ISS in 2006. She is the author of the memoir My Dream of Stars and co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems


Feature Guests: Isaac DeSouza

The distances and challenges we face in space exploration are daunting, but what if we could transcend our technological and even our human limitations? Meet the next generation virtual reality. Want to travel to far off worlds or even worlds of the past? Maybe visit the ISS or engage in a little space diving?

Today I’m joined by Isaac DeSouza who can help you explore anywhere and any when you want - on your cell phone. We’ll discuss a technology that promises to change everything, yet could there be dangers ahead?

Current in Space

The Large Hadron Collider is back to work. Anuj tells us how at double the energy the search is on to find supersymmetry, dark matter and other particle exotica. And will exotic new modes of transportation help us explore the solar system? Dave shares plans for a glider to fly over the skies of Mars.

About our Guests

 

Isaac DeSouza is Chief Technology Officer at the San Francisco based startup SpaceVR. He has previously worked at the Planetary Instrumentation Lab for projects with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA. While studying space engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University he was part of a Rover Team that won the NASA Lunabotics Challenge and the Mars Society's University Rover Challenge. He is now part of the Planetary Exploration Instrumentation Laboratory research team studying the formation of Near Earth Asteroids.

 

 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_81.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guests: Robert Kerr and Jose Molina

Nestled in the mountains of northern Puerto Rico lies an icon of astronomy: the Arecibo Observatory, the largest radio telescope on Earth. It has been featured in the X-Files, James Bond’s Golden Eye and of course Carl Sagan’s Contact. To help us understand the history and the future of Arecibo we’re joined at The Star Spot by Observatory Director Dr. Robert Kerr. Also in today’s special double bill, Jose Molina explains his plans to make Puerto Rico a primary site for space tourism, scientific research and eventually a space port.

Current in Space

No longer merely theoretical, Anuj introduces us to our universe's first generation of stars - thousands of times the mass of the sun. And as our knowledge of exoplanets increase in detail, Dave explains what we're learning from studying the first stratosphere of a planet beyond our solar system.

About our Guests

Jose Molina is an engineer working in the aeronautical industry. He received a Master’s Degree in Space Studies at the International Space University, then brought his knowledge and excitement for commercial spaceflight back home to Puerto Rico. There is he is working to enhance the island’s space tourism industry through the development of spaceports and launch vehicles.

Robert Kerr is an upper atmospheric physicist who worked as Professor of Astronomy at Boston University and Program Manager at the National Science Foundation. He is the current Director of the Arecibo Observatory.

 

 

 

Direct download: TheStarSpot-AreciboTelescope-Episode80.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Lorna Jean Edmonds

As our civilization moves out into the solar system and beyond, will we be ready to govern ourselves in a way better than we have here on Earth? Today we're joined at The Star Spot on location at the International Space Development Conference 2015 by space policy thinker and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at Ohio University, Lorna Jean Edmonds, who believes, “those who control the galaxy control the world.”

Current in Space

With a new discovery of a Kuiper-belt like phenomena around another star, Tony wonders just how unique is our solar system? And Dave explains why astronomers are rethinking what they thought about the oldest nova studied.

About Our Guest

Lorna Jean Edmonds is Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, as well as Professor, College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University. She has held senior executive jobs with the Universities of Toronto, Ottawa, and Western, and she has a deep interest in space governance. She joined us at The Star Spot live on location at the 2015 International Space Development Conference in Toronto.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode79.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Raymond Francis

Today’s robotic planetary explorers have little ability to make decisions for themselves. They follow orders, but often those orders take many precious minutes to arrive from Earth. Now imagine rovers that could recognize unusual features in their environment and make judgements about what to investigate. On today's episode Raymond Francis joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot for a look at the future of autonomous planetary exploration.

Recorded on location at the 2015 International Space Development Conference.

Current in Space

Galaxies are known to harbour supermassive blackholes at their core, but Anuj reports what happens at the centre of two merging galaxies? Then Tony shares the best evidence yet for a salt water ocean beneath the Europa surface. And Dave ponders what the US military is up to with a state-of-the-art space plane that’s now in orbit with a top secret classified mission. 

About Our Guest

Raymond Francis is a postdoctoral fellow in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University, specializing in robotic technology for space exploration. He is currently working in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and served as a member of the team for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, or Curiosity. Francis has a background that mixes space science and mechanical engineering. He is a former host of alma mater’s own podcast, Western Worlds. 

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Episode_78_-_Raymond_Francis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Jo-Anne Brown

We all know the Earth has a magnetic field, but it might surprise you to learn that our galaxy has one too. To help us understand the origin of our galactic magnetic field and how cosmic magnetism effects the galaxies in our universe, today we're joined at The star spot by Professor Jo-Anne Brown

Current in Space

54.6 million kilometres to Mars. What could go wrong? A hell of a lot, Anuj tells us. Then Tony explains how an unprecedented image of an infant solar system may give us insights into the uniqueness of our home. And finally, Dave says we can learn about the origin of Earth's water... from a white dwarf?

About Our Guest

 

Dr. Jo-Anne Brown is Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary. She is involved in the Canadian contribution to the Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope project which when operational in 2020 will study cosmic magnetism with 50 times our current level of sensitivity. Dr. Brown was a member of the galactic and solar science team for the Planck satellite, a European Space Agency space observatory that was active from 2009 to 2013 and was made famous by its shockingly precise map of the cosmic microwave background.

 

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode77-Jo-AnneBrown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Raymond Carlberg

When finally operational in 2018 the Thirty Metre Telescope will be the largest telescope ever built, three times larger than the best telescopes operating today. To help us understand how the Thirty Metre Telescope will revolutionize astronomy and cosmology, fuel the study of dark matter and dark energy, further our search for life beyond the solar system, and, simply put, allow us see the limits of the known universe, today we're joined at the star spot by Professor Raymond Carlberg.

Current in Space

We're all familiar with Jupiter's Great Red Spot. Now Tony tells us about Saturday's Great White Spot. And James Bond meets astronomy as Dave documents the transfer of two Hubble class space telescopes from spying on enemy nations to exploring the depths of space. 

About Our Guest

 

Raymond Carlberg is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Toronto, having previously held visiting faculty positions at Johns Hopkins University, Caltech, the University of Washington (Seattle), and the Carnegie Institution.  He is a member of the National Research Council Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics Advisory Board, a Senior Fellow for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  Prof. Carlberg is working on the deepest sky survey yet using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode76-Thirty_Metre_Telescope.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Marc Kamionkowski

When we study the cosmic microwave background we see our universe before its infancy. But we learn about today’s biggest mysteries, like gravitational waves and supersymmetric dark matter.

Professor Marc Kamionkowski has won a top prize in cosmology for showing us how to “read the subtle bumps and swirls in our images of the early universe” and he joins me at The Star Spot to share secrets from the dawn of time.

Current in Space

Anuj shares discovery of organics in protoplanetary disks of newly formed solar systems. Then following trailers for the upcoming Star Wars film, Tony explains that Tatooine like rocky worlds with twin suns may be out there in the galaxy. Dave shocks us with the possibility of moon caves deep under the lunar surface. And Laura reports that Chiron, a minor planet between Saturn and Uranus known as a centaur, was found to contain rings. 

About Our Guest

Marc Kamionkowski is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, previously at the The California Institute of Technology. He was awarded the US Department of Energy's 2006 E. O. Lawrence Award in High Energy and Nuclear Physics as well as the  the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics from the American Astronomical society and the American Institute of Physics. His research interests include particle physics, dark matter, inflation, the cosmic microwave background and gravitational waves.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep75-Marc_Kamionkowski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: David Brain

When our solar system was young, newborn Earth and Mars were like siblings, similar in climate, water composition and atmosphere. But it turns out 4.5 billion years can change things between two planets.

Today I’m joined at The Star Spot by Professor David Brain to help us understand how Mars ended up so different from Earth, where the Red Planet is headed and what all this means for our search for life.  

Current in Space

A 345 year old mysterious stellar event could finally be solved, Anuj explains. Then Dave describes the influential role played by Jupiter when a time long ago Earth survived an attack from the giant.

About Our Guest

Professor David Brain is Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. He is co-investigator for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission science team. Scientists hope MAVEN, which arrived at the Red Planet September 2014, will explain where all the Martian atmosphere has gone.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep74-DavidBrain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Christian Ott

What do all massive stars have in common. They go boom. Today I’m joined at The Star Spot by Professor Christian Ott. Behind Ott’s highly technical work in numerical relativity and nuclear astrophysics is his love affair with things that explode. 

And could the missing pulsar population at the centre of the milky way be explained by, of all things, dark matter? From supernovae, hypernovae and gamma ray bursts to Professor Ott’s self-described “crackpot theory,” you’ll be blown away.

Current in Space

Ganymede has now been added to the short but tantalizing list of moons harbouring internal oceans, following the discovery that the solar system’s largest moon may contain more water than the oceans of Earth. Plus an update on the Dawn spacecraft’s mission to probe the solar system’s early years as it arrival at the dwarf planet Ceres. 

About Our Guest

Professor Christian Ott is computational and theoretical Astrophysicist at Caltech. He received his PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics before performing his postdoctoral work at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics at the University of Arizona. He was a 2012-2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. Professor Ott’s diverse research areas include black holes, neutron stars, supernovae and the hunt for gravitational waves.

Direct download: TheStarSpot_Ep73_ChristianOtt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Kevin Shortt

In the second part of their conversation on the international state of space exploration, Kevin Shortt and Justin Trottier tour the globe. They explore the contributions coming from the four corners of our world. China has high ambitions, but can they succeed by going it alone? How do the geopolitical challenges for Israel provide it with unique opportunities? What consequences will a return to a quasi-Cold War state have for international relations between NASA, Russia and the European Space Agency? And as new nations become major players how will our efforts to explore the unknown change in 2015 and beyond? 

Current in Space

With news of the chemical simulations of a cell membrane unlike anything we've ever seen, Anuj asks whether we have the capabilities of searching for life as we don't know it. 

About Our Guest

Kevin Shortt has worked in the space industry since 1996 and has participated in some of Canada’s largest space missions. He was Mission Planner for the RADARSAT-1 program at the Canadian Space Agency and a member of the design team responsible for the lidar instrument on board NASA’s Mars Phoenix Scout mission. He currently works at the Institute for Communication and Navigation at the German Aerospace Center in optical communications. Kevin served as President for the Canadian Space Society from 2008 until 2012 and is currently its International Relations Officer.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep72-KevinShortt-Part2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Kevin Shortt

It’s a year that saw ups, such as the Dawn mission which became the first to study a dwarf planet. It was a year that experienced downs, like the tragic explosion of SpaceShipTwo and questions over the incident’s implication for space tourism. Through the ups and downs 2014 has been one fascinating year for space exploration. For a retrospective on the year that was, and a look at what’s on the horizon in 2015, today i’m joined at The Star Spot by Kevin shortt, the International Relations Officer for the Canadian Space Society.

And on the next episode Kevin Shortt will rejoin me here at The Star Spot for an international survey of the world’s contribution to space exploration. As new nations become major players how will our efforts to explore the unknown change in 2015 and beyond. 

Current in Space

Tony and Anuj both wax poetic. Tony explains how the door has just opened on the road to Europa, Jupiter's ocean world and a candidate int he search for life. Then Anuj on the very long road of Voyager, 40 years travelling and just getting started.

About Our Guest

Kevin Shortt has worked in the space industry since 1996 and has participated in some of Canada’s largest space missions. He was Mission Planner for the RADARSAT-1 program at the Canadian Space Agency and a member of the design team responsible for the lidar instrument on board NASA’s Mars Phoenix Scout mission. He currently works at the Institute for Communication and Navigation at the German Aerospace Center in optical communications. Kevin served as President for the Canadian Space Society from 2008 until 2012 and is currently its International Relations Officer.

Direct download: TheStarSpot_Ep71_2014AnAmazingYearInSpaceExploration.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guests: Aaron Sigut and Carol Jones 

The disks of matter that form around mysterious B emission stars are providing astronomers with a unique place to study a ubiquitous phenomenon in our universe. Disks are everywhere and on every scale, from the birth of solar systems to the structure of galaxies. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Carol Jones and Aaron Sigut to conclude our two part series on dynamic and lively B emission stars and the disks that excite them.

Current in Space 

Why did asteroid belt member Ceres never form into a fully fledged planet? That's what Dawn may soon find out when it arrives next month. Is the moon the 8th continent? Anuj explains how mining is getting closer to reaching the final frontier. And worried about aging? Dave shares the discovery of an 11 billion year old planet, still alive and well.  

About Our Guests

Let’s pick up where we let off with our two guests from Western University. Dr. Carol Jones is Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in the Faculty of Science, as well as associate professor and associate dean in the physics and astronomy department. Aaron Sigut is Associate Professor of Astronomy in the Physics and Astronomy Department.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode70-CircumstellarDiskPart2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guests: Aaron Sigut and Carol Jones

Disks are ubiquitous in our universe. They are found in the spiral arms of galaxies. They are found among new and old stars, whether in the protoplanetary gas associated with stellar births or the black holes which follow many stellar deaths.

Today we have a special treat. I’m excited to be joined by both Carol Jones and Aaron Sigut here at The Star Spot for the first of a special two-part series. We’ll find out why disks are such common features of our universe, and how they figure prominently into a mysterious phenomenon known as B emission stars, which are among the hottest, most energetic and most mysterious of stellar phenomena.

Current in Space

Dave reports the probability of exoplanet habitability may have just increased significantly with scientists rethinking the once assumed life-preventing effect of planetary tidal locking. Then Laura explains the famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula seem to be eroding away, and may have already vanished. Anuj shares new evidence that the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs was a truly global event. And has Beagle 2 been resurrected? Celine with new images from Mars that are shining light on the tragic fate of a spacecraft whose trip was no more smooth than that of its namesake.

About Our Guest

Today two distinguished astronomy scholars from Western University are joining us here at The Star Spot. Dr. Carol Jones is Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in the Faculty of Science. Aaron Sigut is Associate Professor of Astronomy in the Physics and Astronomy Department. They both share research interests in circumstellar disks around hot stars, which we will get into in a series of conversations with both academics.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode69-Dynamic_Stars_and_Ubiquitous_Disks-Part1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Jayanne English

 

We've all been blown away by those jaw dropping majestic images of the cvosmos. But would you feel deceived to know that few of those images show what the eye would truly see? Today guest host Dave Kirsch welcomes Professor Jayanne English at The Star Spot to discuss the tension between art and science in astronomy.

Current in Space

Dave alerts us to the likelihood of future collisions between our sun and its nearby stellar neighbours, explaing why a near miss can still make a big impact. The debate about the status of Pluto is sure to heat up as Tony reports on the New Horizons mission which recently came out of hibernation in preparation for its final approach to the dward planet. And Anuj shares new insights into the cause of mysterious high altitude aurora.

About Our Guest

Jayanne English is Professor in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manitoba. Her interests are in the origin of structure in galaxies, including galactic halos. She held a post-doctoral position at the Space Telescope Science Institute and was Visitor at Oxford University (2013) and Visiting Scholar at the Australian National University (2009). She is also highly involved in merging the arts and the sciences through astronomical imagery. Professor English led an interactive art project in honour of the Internal year of Astronomy entitled Seeing is Believing.

Direct download: TheStarSpot_Episode68_JayanneEnglish.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Brian Schmidt

The 1929 discovery of the expanding universe by Edwin Hubble forever changed our picture of the cosmos and our understanding of our place in the universe. In 1998 we learned that wasn’t the only surprise. That’s when two teams of astronomers announced that the expansion of our universe isn’t slowing down as everyone assumed. Its speeding up. Today we're joined at The Star Spot by Distinguished Professor Brian Schmidt who won the Nobel Prize for discovering our accelerating universe.

Current in Space

Anuj describes the Orion spaceflight, the first mission since Apollo eventually aimed at deep space. Then Tony wonders if the stuff of life could seed itself on other worlds following the disocvery that DNA returned from the exposure to the vacuum of space in good working order. And Dave extends the lifetime for Mars’ watery past after learning an ancient lake may have lasted tens of millions of years. Finally Celine explains how “cliff-bots” now being tested in the Moroccan desert may one day dig up deposits left over from such long extinct bodies of water.

About Our Guest 

Dr. Brian Schmidt is Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory and holder of an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship. In 2011 Schmidt received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his co-discovery that the universe isn’t merely expanding, it’s actually accelerating in its expansion. Shmidt is Fellow of the Royal Society, a recipient of the Pawsey Model, the Dirac Medal and the Shaw Prize in Astronomy.

 

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode67-BrianSchmidt-TheAcceleratingUniverse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Alison Sills

 

It’s a phenomenon so mysterious one astronomer wondered if it could be evidence of an advanced extraterrestrial intelligence. Meet blue straggers, the black sheeps of the stellar family. Today we're joined at The Star Spot by Professor Alison Sills to learn all about the stars that shouldn’t exist.

Current in Space

Dave mesmerizes us with the carnival funhouse like effect around black holes, where the warping of space and time is so intense you can see the front and back of blackholes simultaneously. Celine discusses an upcoming unmanned mission to drill the moon for lunar samples and establish the viability of a future human outpost. And while you may have heard of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, Tony wonders if the entire spot is red, why it's red and why so little else on the gas giant shares the iconic colour. Finally Yonna brings us news of Europe's first space plane set to launch shortly.

 

About Our Guest

 

 

Alison Sills is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She received her PhD from Yale University and held postdoctoral positions at the Ohio State University and the University of Leicester in the UK. She studies weird stars in odd places, utilizing computation tools to model the evolution of stellar populations. Along with researchers from Canada, the US and Europe, she is an active member of the MODEST collaboration, which stands for MOdelling DEnse STellar Systems.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep66-Dark_Stragglers-Alison_Sills.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Gordon Sarty

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, has become a vital technique for diagnosing, treating and monitoring disease. The technology has saved countless lives. But can we ever get MRIs into space where they can help keep astronauts alive and well on the long duration missions of the future? To help us answer that question today we're joined at the star spot by Gordon Sarty

Current in Space

Anuj explains why some researchers now think dark matter may not be so much exotic as strange... as in strange quarks. Then Celine reports what's next from the Chinese lunar exploration program following the success of their first round-trip probe to the moon. And Tony brings a startling discovery from studies of primitive meteorites that suggest water was present on our planet much earlier than we thought.

 

About Our Guest

 

Gordon Sarty is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. A renaissance man, Dr. Sarty is also associate member of the university’s departments of physics, medical imaging, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences. He combines those interests as a member of a pioneering team working to design portable and eventually space-based MRI machines.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode65-BringingMRIsIntoSpace-GordonSarty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Doug Welch

Imagine being able to go back centuries to study the great supernova of the past. Tycho’s nova of 1572 for example. Now we may be able to do the next best thing. Astronomers have discovered a phenomena known as light echoes which allow us to study long ago supernova events from our past and find supernova we never even knew occurred. To help us understand these mysterious light echoes, which can give the illusion of superluminal speeds, Doug Welch joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot.

Current in Space

The key mechanism for triggering solar flares - potentially harmful events for our civilization - may have been discovered, explains Anuj. Then Tony shares new developments in futuristic skintight shape remembering materials that could revolutionize spacesuits. In an unusual response to the building of a telescope, Celine tells how the Thirty Metre Telescope has been attracting controversy and even opposition. And Dave gives us an update on mysterious organic clouds discovered on Saturn's moon Titan, the only moon in solar system with an atmosphere.

About Our Guest

Doug Welch is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University and formerly served as Chair of the department. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto, worked at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics’s Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, BC. He has been awarded the McNeil Medal of the Royal Society of Canada for the promotion and communication of science and is currently Vice Chair of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation. His research has led him from studies of dark matter to a current focus on supernova light echoes.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode64-DougWelch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Jim Cline

Dark matter. Dark energy. String theory. At the frontiers of fundamental physics science seems confronted with mystery and progress is grinding to a halt. But can studying the early universe provide the answer? To help answer that question we're joined at The Star Spot by Jim Cline. We’ll dive into esoteric concepts like string cosmology and cosmic strings, lumps of massively energetic space time fault lines left theorized to be left over from the Big Bang. 

Current in Space

Denise shares an update on the voyage of comet Siding Spring, followed by a stargazer's report for the coming weeks. 

About Our Guest

 

Jim Cline is professor of theoretical and particle cosmology at McGill University. He works at the intersection of cosmology and fundamental physics, studying the cosmic microwave background radiation, dark matter, and particle physics coming out of the large hadron collider. He received his phd from Caltech and performed his postdoc at Ohio State University before joining the faculty at McGill University in Montreal in 1995.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode63_JimCline-fixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Gioia Massa

Imagine enjoying a romantic and nutritious picnic - on Mars! If such a dream is ever to be realized, we're going to have to learn how to grow plants in space and on other worlds. Today we're joined at The Star Spot by space biologist and NASA scientist Gioia Massa to discuss the building of a green oasis in space.

Current in Space

Today's news team on all the Red Planet developments:

MOM is on Mars. Dave explains how India became the first nation to successfully reach Mars on its initial attempt with MOM, a mission the budget of which is less than a hollywood Mars blockbuster.

After 2 years Curiosity has arrived at its primary destination: Mount Sharp. Celine gives us a retrospective on the rover's history and shares excitement over upcoming drilling operation in the mountain promised land.

Finally Anuj introduces us to the newest NASA member of the Mars exploration family: MAVEN, an orbiter designed to study how the Martian atmosphere evolved over hundreds of millions of years, seeking to determine whether liquid water was around long enough for life to evolve.

About Our Guest

 

Dr. Gioia Massa is NASA project scientist at the kennedy space centre. Massa studied plant and space biology at Penn State University and worked as a research scientist at Purdue University. Her expertise is in space life sciences, advanced life support and agriculture. She is supervising a project called VEGGIE, the most advanced vegetable garden, or salad bar, ever grown on the international space station.

Direct download: TheStarSpot_Ep62_GioiaMassa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Jan Cami

Did you know that buckyballs, complex soccer-ball shaped molecules formed from 60 carbon atoms, were recently discovered deep in interstellar space. Atoms and molecules may be small, but they can tell us lot about the very large, from the temperature of stars to the evolution of galaxies to the startling locations where life might be found. For more on the chemistry of the universe, today I’m joined at the start spot by Jan Kami

Current in Space

Think interesting geological events only happen on Earth? Anuj shares groundbreaking new evidence of subduction occurring on Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

About Our Guest

Jan Kami is professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario. His research is in molecular spectroscopy, dust mineralogy and diffuse interstellar bands. Kami has worked as a research scientist with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI and is deeply involved in astronomy outreach

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Episode_61_-_Jan_Cami.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Pauline Barmby

Just like the cities of our world, galaxies are the busy and over-crowded population centres where so much of the action takes place in our universe. The study of globular clusters and starburst galaxies are providing new insights into the how these cities of the cosmos were built. To share with us new discoveries from the Spitzer space telescope, including gossip about the weird behaviour of our next door metropolis, the Andromeda Galaxy, today I’m joined at the star spot by Pauline Barmby.

Current in Space

If the American can't get back to the moon Earth does have other options. Denise shares excitement over Chinese plans for a lunar sample return mission

About Our Guest

Pauline Barmby is an observational astrophysicist and associate professor in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario. She worked at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Canada France hawaii telescope and is a member of the instrument team for IRAC, the InfraRed Array Camera on the Spitze Space Telescope. In her spare time Dr. Barmby gives public talks clarifying misconceptions about astronomy.  She is a science fiction enthusiast and enjoys listening to podcasts, perhaps including the star spot.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_60_Pauline_Barmby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Stanimir Metchev

Brown dwarfs: giant planets or failed stars? The debate rages on with comparable intensity to the surprisingly violent storms seen to roil these fascinating bodies. To help settle the debate, and for cutting edge discoveries of brown dwarfs and their startling behaviour, Stanimir Metchev joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot.

If a brown dwarf is neither a planet exactly nor a star exactly, what is it exactly? What keeps it from collapsing? And since they aren’t necessarily brown, what’s in the name? Metchev and Trottier then discuss the weird and surprising behaviour of brown dwarfs, the ubiquity of their massive storms and their role in helping us study the clouds of extrasolar planets,

Current in Space

Benjamin brings us a ray of sunshine, announcing a breakthrough in the level of efficiency of new transparent solar panels. And super storms are all the rage on today’s episode of The Star Spot as Denise shares discoveries of violent turbulence on the ice giant Uranus.

About our Guest

Stanimir Metchev is Canada Research Chair in Extrasolar Planets and Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario. He studies the atmospheres of exoplanets and brown dwarfs, and the formation and evolution of planets. He is principal investigator of brown dwarf research with NASA’s spitzer space telescope.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode59-StanimirMetchev.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: David Pankenier

The scholar of Chinese science Joseph Needham wrote that "astronomy was a science of cardinal importance for the chinese since it arose naturally out of that cosmic religion, that sense of the unity and even ethical solidarity of the universe." To help me understand how the mandate of heaven and astrological portents led to the rise and fall of ancient dynasties, and ruled the life and death of the average Chinese, Professor David Pankenier joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot.

Current in Space

Benjamin shares the fascinating discovery of the largest gas tail ever found, a trail of gas spanning between galaxies and consisting of more matter than the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies combined!

About our Guest

David Pankenier is a Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University. He has degrees in Chinese and Asian languages, as well as three years of private study in Chinese classics in Taiwan. His interests are in archaeology, astrology, cosmology and ideology, with an expertise in the role of the celestial in ancient China. He researches the connection between astromical phenoma and pivotal political and military events in ancient China. Pankenier has published two volumes of translations of many hundreds of ancient Chinese astronomical observations. He has written about ancient Chinese cosmology and released a new book in october 2013, Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to Heaven.

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Episode58-DavidPankenier2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Paul Delaney

The next time you look up at the night sky, struck dizzy by the sheer number of stars shining down on you, here’s something to consider. On average each star host at least one planet. That’s the accumulated result of our exoplanet hunting efforts to date. To help us explore the implications of this profound discovery and to make sense of our zoo of exoplanets, from Super Earths to Hot Jupiters and everything in between, Professor Paul Delaney joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot.

We’ve focused much attention on exoplanet discoveries. Today we step back and provide some perspective. Professor Delaney takes us from the earliest planet hunting pioneers all the way to the latest technological developments that are pushing the distance of our planetary discoveries, reducing the size of the objects we are able to detect, and leading us on to the next frontier: exoplanet atmospheres.

Professor Delaney explains his surprise at the ubiquity of so-called “rogue planets” and shares his touching story of becoming an astronomer despite living with albinism. Though in his own words he does not have a good relationship with the sun, he has fostered a great one with the stars, and he works to share his infectious enthusiasm with the world.

Current in Space 

Dave shares the discovery of an exoplanet found near the all important “frost line,” the first time we’ve found a planet with a history potentially similar to that of Jupiter. Benjamin describes how the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope may search the atmosphere of exoplanets for signs of life - including long self-destructed life! Closer to home, Anuj tells of a new spacecraft being sent to sample an asteroid for organics. And Denise wonders if the next space race will be far more crowded than the last one.

About our Guest 

 

Paul Delaney is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at York University. He received his undergraduate degree from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and his graduate degree in astronomy from the University of Victoria in Canada. Professor Delaney oversees the York University campus observatory and its public outreach programs, and he appears regularly on York Universe, one of The Star Spot’s affiliated podcasts.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Ep57_-_PaulDelaney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST