The Star Spot

Feature Guest: David Hanna

 

Supernovae and hypernove, blazars and quasars: our universe is one exotic place. To help us to make sense of it, today we're joined at The Star Spot by Professor David Hanna.

 

Current in Space

 

What do satellites and whales have in common? Anuj explains. Then, Benjamin on how a fight over the reliability of atmospheric extrasolar planet discoveries is a triumph for a science without dogmas.

 

About Our Guests

 

David Hanna is an astrophysicist at McGill University in Montreal. He works in experimental high energy physics, everything from particle accelerators probing the physics of the very small to gamma ray astronomy studying the incredibly large.

 

Hanna was a founding member of the US/Canada collaboration known as STACEE, the Solar Tower Atmospheric Cherenkov Effect Experiment. Yup, that’s why they call it STACEE. STACEE was an experiment dedicated to the study of high energy gamma rays emitted by astrophysical sources and was active observations until 2007.

 

He is currently a member of a new gamma ray collaboration called VERITAS which revels in its even longer name: the Very energetic radiation imaging telescope array system.

 

Through his work in high energy physics, Hanna studies black holes at the centre of active galaxies, pulsars, gamma ray bursts, supernova remnants, dark matter, quasars, hypernova, supernova, unidentified sources. today he joins me to discuss this zoo of the exotica

Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep47-DavidHanna.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guests: Leon Graafland and Elizabeth Howell

On today's episode of The Star Spot we conclude our coverage of the 2013 Canadian Space Summit with special back to back feature interviews. First we're joined by Leon Graafland, a space travel agent with the Adventure Travel Company. Looking for the ride of your life? Leon can sign you up for a space mission and turn you into an astronaut. And once you do, our second guest, space journalist Elizabeth Howell, will want to interview you. Elizabeth will take us to the front lines, from conversations with astronauts to coverage of ground breaking exploration missions.

Current in Space

We worry we won't find habitable extrasolar planets. But could many planets end up being more habitable than Earth? Dave explains why Super Earths might turn out to be Superhabitable? Then Benjamin describes new techniques to probe the interior of asteroids. 

About Our Guests

Leon Graafland is Adventure Travel Specialist with the Adventure Travel Company in Toronto. Leon has lived in Holland, Peru, Canada and South Africa and he’s visited some 60 additional nations. He’s a globe trotter and he’ll set you up with travel to exotic epic destinations like Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest, and Antarctica. But if this world isn’t enough, he’ll also sell you a trip into space.

Elizabeth Howell is a space, science and business reporter. She lists among her most impressive feats covering three Space Shuttle missions, interviewing astronauts while in space, and meeting all the Star Trek captains. She writes for Space.com, Universe Today, Live Science and other publications and is currently working towards a PhD in Aerospace Sciences at the Univerity of North Dakota.

Direct download: Ep46-ASpaceTravelAgentandASpaceJournalist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Peter Garland

On today's episode of The Star Spot we continue our highlights of the 2013 Canadian Space Summit. Justin Trottier is joined by Peter Garland, Vice President of Advanced Programs with MDA. The two discuss how satellite communication became the technological foundation that brought together a nation. They document the important milestones in communication innovations and the role they continue to play in connecting geographically expansive regions in our world. Garland concludes with stories of new and unique applications of satellite communications in fields ranging from telehealth, tele-education and even the criminal justice system.

Current in Space

Denise shares an exciting status report on our search to identify Dark Matter. And Justin discusses how new data from the Gaia-ESO project could answer long standing questions about the evolution of our galaxy.


About Peter Garland

Peter Garland is Vice President of Advanced Programs in the MDA Satellite Systems Division in Montreal, Canada. He has been involved at the leading edge of Satellite Communications for over thirty years. In the early nineties he led the Canadian Advanced Satcom team that performed early work on Ka Band systems and has subsequently led key Broadband developments, including the introduction of standard waveforms, working closely with both the Canadian and European Space Agencies. In his current work he is focused on applications that integrate new technologies in both the space and ground segments, particularly in the broadband mobile area.


Direct download: TheStarSpot-E45-PeterGarland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Catherine Hazin

We begin our coverage of the 2013 Canadian Space Summit held in Ottawa in November 2013, with the first of five feature Star Spot interviews with guests at the Summit.

Co-host Denise Fong was pleased to be joined by artist Catherine Hazin at The Star Spot on location. Catherine was showcasing artwork on behalf of over 50 internationally acclaimed space artists as part of the Canadian Space Summit’s space art exhibition: The Inexorable Revolutions of Art.

Denise and Catherine discuss the little trodden territory where science and art overlap and the link between art and space exploration. What is the function that art serves for space exploration and what value does it add to the human interest in observing the Universe and in contemplating our ultimate human frontiers?


Historically in the 1800s, artists accompanied explorers on their excursions to discover the frontier of America, and their contributions to communicating the images of the new lands were prolific and highly valued, from the paintings of Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt to Frederick Church, considered the highest paid painter of his day in 1872. More often than not, Church was able to finance his very own exploratory expeditions by painting Earth’s new wonders, like the north pole Aurorae, icebergs of the Arctic sea, and volcanoes in South America.

The wonders of earth when they were first discovered inspired volumes of artwork and depicted places not yet known such as Yellowstone, and Yosemite, now protected national parks in the West. Today these visuals of the previously unknown American Western frontier serve to document our human heritage, and were the basis of immense inspiration, sense of adventure, risk, danger, and of the unknown.

So bringing to the present what we have seen from history, what about the artist’s role today for the human exploration…of space – the final frontier?


Denise and Catherine discuss the renaissance in the connection between art and the nature of exploration and discovery. How relevant is space art today? What function does it serve space exploration? Is it possible for artists’ impressions, and artistic works, to disappear into history just as it did alongside the disappearance of Earth’s new frontier lands? And if we leave out the art, how would space exploration suffer? 

Current in Space

Dave shares the first cloudy weather forecast for a Super Earth extrasolar planet. Then Arjun excites us with new data anticipated from the spacecraft GAIA, a super sensitive billion pixel camera set to survey a billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy (and costing some billion dollars). Finally Benjamin on how disappointment quickly turned to delight when researchers with the Hunt for Extromoons with Kepler (HECK) project made one heck of a discovery: no moon but the least massive gaseous world we've yet found.

About Catherine Hazin

Catherine Hazin is a professional writer and artist who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design. She co-founded the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Space Society in 2011, and is currently the Arts and Culture Director for the Canadian Space Society.


Catherine also has a love of fashion design and wearable art. She is the Editor of Luxe Magazine, and a senior writer for Calgary Bride. She is also the Fashion and Performance Coordinator for “Make Fashion,” the annual fashion show held in Calgary, Canada. Catherine is devoted to promoting and encouraging collaborations between artists and space science professionals in order to better engage the public, and communicate the accomplishments and the needs of the space industry. and she presented her work to the attendees of the Canadian Space Summit in November 2012, in Calgary.


Direct download: TheStarSpot-Ep44-Art_at_the_Final_Frontier_with_CatherineHazin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST