The Star Spot (general)

Our guest today is Chuck Black who joins The Star Spot to discuss the business case for space within the international scene. Following hot on the heels of the success of private spacecraft Dragon and the upcoming Chinese launch to the Tiangong Space Station, in this interview with Justin Trottier, the two discuss the space programs of various nations, debate private versus public-led initiatives, analyze the interaction of the 3 main players (government, industry and research centres), reflect on reforms being implemented by various countries to better respond to the changes in the space sector, and conclude with a focus on the challenges and opportunities of space exploration.

Chuck Black is Treasurer of the Canadian Space Commerce Association. He is an aerospace pundit and writer who runs the Space Conference News website and the Commercial Space Blog. Within the space sector, he creates business proposals and plans, networks among stakeholders and technical professionals, organizes and manages conferences, and is an all around space sciences and technology advocate.

In Current in Space we describe the recently launched NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) telescope, a space-based x-ray telescope set to open a new window on the universe by studying the highest energy x-ray phenomena like supernovae, gamma ray bursts and active galaxies. We then remind listeners of the upcoming summer solstice in the northern hemisphere with a quick archeoastronomical history lesson. Finally, we shift to space exploration by discussing the Shenzhou 9 mission which will make China the third country in the world to establish a crewed base in orbit.

For full information please visit the official website of The Star Spot at www.starspotpodcast.com

Direct download: Ep7-ChuckBlack-Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Our guest today is Christopher Lintott, an astrophysicist, a researcher in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford and a junior research fellow at New College. also at the University of Oxford. A fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Dr. Lintott`s work focuses on galaxies and star formation. He is the co-presenter of the BBC series The Sky at Night and a co-author of the book Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe co-authored with Patrick Moore and Brian May. It’s this focus on public engagement, and in particular the concept of citizen science that we’ll get into today, because most excitingly, Dr. Lintott is also Director of the astronomy crowdsourcing projects known as Zooniverse and Galazy Zoo, which have turned hundreds of thousands of people from around the world into scientists and astronomers.

In this discussion with Justin Trottier, the two discuss the emergence and growing sophistication of citizen science projects like Galaxy Zoo and Zooniverse. From sorting galaxies with Galaxy Zoo to identifying lunar craters with Moon Zoo to searching for planets and signs of life, not to mention a growing number of non-astronomy focused projects, Dr. Lintott explains the significant participatory impact being made daily by hundreds of thousands of people. Whether through basic categorization or unnanticipated observations like the discovery of the mysterious galaxy-like "Voorwerp," a growing army of citizen scientists are directing telescope time and providing data for research papers. The two also discuss the motives propelling this new development, and how they might grow a citizenry better informed by the tools of science.

In Current in Space we provide a final reminder about the upcoming Transit of Venus before turning to the thrilling conclusion of Dragon's landmark visit to the International Space Station. We then cover stories of life and death in the universe, highlighting the future merger of our own Milky Way with its nearest neighbour Andromeda. And finally we introduce a new Entertainment segment which will feature books, films, music and other areas of pop culture that connect to astronomy and space exploration. In particular, we tell how Haydon Planetarium's Neil deGrasse Tyson scored a victory for scientific accuracy in Hollywood when he convinced film director James Cameron to get the sky right.


For full information please visit the official website of The Star Spot at www.starspotpodcast.com

Direct download: Ep6ChrisLintottComplete1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Unless you expect to be alive in 105 years, you won't want to miss the June 5/6 transit of Venus. The appeal of this unique phenomenon has bridged the gap between art and science. It was was basis for a military brass band march, as well as a play and an opera.

One man who will be making the most of this event is renowned transit of venus authority Jay Pasachoff. Jay M. Pasachoff is the Director of the Hopkins Observatory as well as Chair of the Astronomy Department and 
Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College. He comments frequently on the status of astronomy and science education, and is the author of textbooks in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and various other sciences.

Pasa­choff has an article in the May 2012 issue of Physics World about transits, and he sits down with Justin Trottier to discuss the history, science, and deep significance, of the Transit of Venus. After exploring the amazing discoveries that can be made from such a deceptively simple event, the two discuss Pasachoff's varied career which has taken him into nooks all over the field of astronomy, then onto science education and the dangers of pseudoastronomy.

More information and details about Transit of Venus events near you are available at  http://venustransit.nasa.gov/

In Current in Space, we discuss blows to the favourd theories of dark matter, a historic flight that could open space to the commercial sector, and surprising plans already underway for mining beyond Earth.

Visit www.starspotpodcast.com for more details.



Direct download: Ep5-JayPasachoff-Final3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Our guest today is Victoria Kaspi, the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics, the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics and Professor of Physics at McGill University. She earned her PhD working under nobel prize winning astrophysicist Jospeh Hooton Taylor, Jr. and went on to work at MIT, the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory before joining the faculty of McGill in 1999. Dr. Kaspi is a Fellow in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences. Her research expertise is in observational studies of neutron stars and pulsars, McGill Pulsar Group. Among other distinctions, she has won the John C. Polanyi Award from the NSERC, the Rutherford Memorial Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Prix Marie-Victorin, the highest scientific award of the province of Québec.


Dr. Victoria Kaspi joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss the wide range of exotic afterlife experiences a star may enjoy, including neutron stars, pulsars, magnetars, and quark (or strange) stars. The two also discuss upcoming missions like NuSTAR which will study black holes, supernova explosions, and active galaxy nuclei, as well as SWIFT, primarily concerned with mysterious gamma ray bursts. Dr. Kaspi shares her passion for discovery, why her work connects to the average person, and what new possibilities the future might hold.

In Current in Space, we discuss the case for ancient oceans on Mars, The Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE), and why two researchers think the safe bet that life exists beyond Earth may need to be rethought.

Visit www.starspotpodcast.com for more details.

Links

http://heasarc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/swiftsc.html

http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/2minutes-2minutes/Kaspi-Kaspi_eng.asp

http://www.technophilicmag.com/mag/qanda/victoria-kaspi

http://www.nustar.caltech.edu/home

http://heasarc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/swiftsc.html

http://www.cifar.ca/victoria-m-kaspi  

http://www.hep.physics.mcgill.ca/~vkaspi/new_web_site/en/index.php

http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~pulsar/


Direct download: VictoriaKaspifinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Our guest today is Dr. Carolyn Porco, a planetary scientist who led the imaging team in studying and interpreting the images from the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and its moon Titan.  She is senior research scientist at the space science institute in boulder, CO, adjunct prof at U of Colorado and U of Arizona. Her scholarly work as well as her efforts to convey science education and literacy to the public has won her many awards and recognitions. These include the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronmomical Society for Excellence in the communication of Science to the Public. In 2008 Wired Magazine named her one of 15 people the next president should listen to.

Dr. Carolyn Porco joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss everything about Saturn: the mission, the moons, the rings, the possibility of life on Enceladus, and the momentous touchdown on Titan. She also shares her passion for science education and her special sense of the spiritual.

In Current in Space, guest journalist Amanda Gadke discusses the final adventure of the Discovery Space Shuttle.

Visit www.starspotpodcast.com for more details.

Direct download: Ep3-CarolynPorco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Our guest is Dan Falk, an award winning science journalist and broadcaster. He's been published very broadly, including in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Cosmos Magazine, and New Scientist, and has contributed to CBC and TV Ontario science programming. Dan Falk is also the author of two books, including In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension and The Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything, which was the winner of the 2002 Science in Society Journalism Award from the Canadian Science Writers' Association. He is currently at MIT pursuing a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship.

In their broad conversation, Dan Falk and Justin Trottier discuss the importance of astronomy and science literacy, why life may be rare in the galaxy but the SETI project is still important, how time might be just an illusion, the greatness of Galileo, and the endlessly fascinating scientific adventure.

In Current in Space, we discuss new insights on merging spiral galaxies, the Kepler planet hunting mission getting an extension, and a contrary view for the prevalance of life in the universe from Marc Kaufman, author of "First Contact."

Visit www.starspotpodcast.com for more details.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Ep2-Dan_Falk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:23am EDT

Our pilot episode has featured guest Dr. David Lafreniere, an astrophysicist and an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Montreal. His pioneering work relates to the detection of exoplanets, which are planets beyond our solar system for which he's won multiple awards. His work has been published in Time Magazine, the National Geographic, ABC News and many other publications. Our Current in Space segment focuses on the Canadian Aerospace Review.

Direct download: Star_Spot_Ep1_-_Version2_Complete.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:19pm EDT