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Astronomy Cast

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Astronomy Cast

Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay

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Take a fact-based journey through the cosmos. Tune in to hear weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Hosted by Fraser Cain (Universe Today) and Dr. Pamela L. Gay (Planetary Science Institute), this show brings the questions of an avid astronomy lover direct to an astronomer. Together Fraser and Pamela explore what is known and being discovered about the universe around us. Astronomy Cast is supported thru patreon.com/AstronomyCast.
 
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In this week's Questions and Answers show, I explain how we'll get the matter to build stuff out in space, what about the matter for a Dyson Sphere? How long will the International Space Station survive? And More... 00:00 Start 00:45 Could we create matter from photons? 03:57 Where are we going to get the matter for a Dyson Sphere? 07:56 What do I …
 
After a slightly longer than expected hiatus (Fraser's moving chaos) THE WSH IS BACK!!! We are excited to welcome Joshua Stoff from the Cradle of Aviation Museum to the first WSH of the new season. Joshua is the longtime Curator of the Cradle of Aviation Museum, a major Air & Space museum on Long Island, in the greater New York area. He has been cu…
 
Astronomy Cast - Ep. 613: Pluto’s Demotion: 15 Years Later by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay It's been 15 years since Pluto was kicked out of the planet club. It also happens to be the topic of our very first episode of Astronomy Cast more than 600 episodes ago. Are there any updates? Does Pluto have a chance of regaining planethood again?…
 
In this week's questions show, I explain why we don't see the same thing multiple times as we look out into the Universe, could a planet orbit in the Lagrange Points of two stars, and why haven't there been any missions to Io? 00:00 Start 00:36 Could we see the same galaxy multiple times? 05:16 Could a planet orbit in an L4/L5 point? 08:31 Why no m…
 
In this week's questions show, I jump into the controversy between Blue Origin and SpaceX, explain why bigger telescopes are better, and talk about how Mercury has eternally shadowed craters and could serve as a place for a base. Want to be part of the questions show? Ask a short question on any video on my channel. I gather a bunch up each week an…
 
The new season has begun! We're back with an all-new series of question shows. In this week's episode, I provide a quick guide to seeing fireballs (bolides), which are the brightest meteors you can see (and sometimes hear). I explain the philosophy behind Dyson Spheres, and explain why dark matter can't be made out of antimatter. 00:00 Start 00:43 …
 
My guest today is Dr. Markus Janson, an astronomy professor at Stockholm University. Dr. Janson and his co-authors have recently published a study investigating if ground-based observatory could use starshades to help directly image exoplanets. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10686-021-09792-y 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ═══════════════════════════…
 
My guest today is Dr. Hamsa Padmanabhan, a cosmologist at the University of Geneva. Dr. Padmanabhan's work involves the investigation of Cosmic Dawn, the period shortly after the beginning of the Universe when the large-scale structure of the cosmos was defined. https://cosmology.unige.ch/users/hamsa-padmanabhan 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ═════════════════════…
 
In the season finale of my questions show, I talk about high-altitude bacteria, traveling into the future, does it make sense to go back to University, and more. See you all in September! 00:00 Start 01:10 How high an altitude can bacteria survive? 04:02 Should I go back to university? 06:29 Could we terraform Venus with comets? 08:49 Could we dete…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 612: The SETI Renaissance by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about the various ways that astronomers could detect the presence of intelligent civilizations by observing technosignatures. This week we'll give you an update on the state of the search for extraterrestrials. This field has gone from a collection of p…
 
In this week's questions show, I explain why Dyson Spheres (and Swarms) should actually be pretty easy to detect across the Universe. If it's possible to service the Hubble Space Telescope with a Falcon 9, and will computers take jobs away from astronomers. 00:00 Start 01:04 How could we detect Dyson Swarms? 07:24 How could we hide a Dyson Swarm? 1…
 
This week, in our Season Finale, we are celebrating and honoring an extra-special group of people on the Weekly Space Hangout: Our Journalist Team! We are also excited to introduce our newest team member, Dr. Nick Castle from PSI, and celebrate the return of Nika (Klimovich) following her brief sabbatical. It has been an honor to work with this exc…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 611: What is Required to Confirm Alien Life: Intelligence Edition by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about what it's going to take to confirm basic biological life across the Solar System and the Milky Way. This week, we'll discuss what it's going to take to detect intelligent life out there in space.…
 
This week we are very pleased to welcome Dr. Jane Shevtsov, Mathematical Biology Instructor at UCLA, to the WSH. Her project proposal, Making Soil for Space Habitats by Seeding Asteroids with Fungi, is one of NASA's 2021 NIAC Phase I selections. Jane is a systems ecologist who teaches math for life sciences at UCLA and is developing ways of using f…
 
In this week's questions show, I explain what would happen if scientists discovered an existential threat to humanity. Would they let us know, or keep it secret to avoid a panic? Could we detect a Breakthrough Starshot fleet coming our way? And how well does China communicate its space exploration to the public? 00:00 Start 00:37 Would they tell us…
 
My guest today is Professor Lee Cronin from the University of Glasgow. Dr. Cronin investigates the chemistry of life and has developed methods that could help us detect it on other worlds - even life as we don't know it. http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/cronin/ 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀 PODCAST LI…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 610: What is Required to Confirm Alien Life: Non-Sentient Edition by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Are we alone in the Universe? It's one of the biggest scientific questions we can possibly ask. And yet, with rovers on Mars, missions planned to visit Europa and Ganymede. Powerful telescopes able to detect the atmospheres of exopla…
 
As we prepare to celebrate #BlackInAstro week, the WSH is excited to welcome Ashley Walker, founder and organizer of #BlackInAstro, to the show. Ashley Lindalia Walker is a planetary astrochemist and science communicator. She received her BS in Chemistry from Chicago State University, where she became the first astrochemist in the university’s hist…
 
In this week's questions and answer show, I explain how all the dust in space forms, could life be Von Neumann probes, why do people think black holes lead to another universe, and more... 00:00 Start 00:57 What is space dust? 05:14 Does the Kardashev scale make sense? 08:43 Could life on Earth be Von Neumann probes? 11:31 What should I point my te…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 609: Volcanos With Benefits: Lava Tubes, Hydro Thermal Vents & More by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Volcanos can be some of the worst natural disasters that we can experience here on Earth. But life wouldn't even exist without them. So, what are volcanos good for anyway?
 
This week we are very excited to welcome Darian Dixon, Curiosity (MSL) MMM operator and Percy's Mastcam-Z Data Management (ZDM) Lead at Malin Space Science Systems (https://www.msss.com/). Darian earned his BS in Geology in 2015 before moving to Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, where he earned his MS in Planetary Geology in 2018. Wh…
 
In this week's Q&A, I try to imagine what might happen if a microscopic black hole passed through the Earth. How long will James Webb take to become operational, and what will be the Plan B for James Webb if it fails? 00:00 Start 00:46 What if a microscopic black hole passed through the Earth? 05:25 When will James Webb come online? 06:38 What's pl…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 608: NASA Perseverance, The First 100 Days by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay As you all know, Pamela refuses to talk about any missions which aren't actually doing science. Well, Perseverance has crossed the line, from fantasy to an actual working rover, scooping regolith and yeeting helicopters. What has the rover accomplished in …
 
This week we welcome Dr. Mario Borunda to the show. In his recent article published on EarthSky.com, Mario discusses advancements in warp drive technology research. You can read his article, "Warp Drives: Physicists Give Chances Of Faster-Than-Light Space Travel A Boost," here: https://earthsky.org/space/warp-drive-chances-of-faster-than-light-spac…
 
In this week's episode, I talk about the various ways we measure the age of the Universe. What's next for OSIRIS-REx? And what are the next frontiers for gravitational wave astronomy? 00:00 Start 00:41 How do we calculate the age of the Universe? 04:32 Will the planets migrate again? 06:36 What's next for OSIRIX-REx? 07:47 What's next for gravitati…
 
I'm pleased to welcome back Dr. Casey Handmer, a software systems architect at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In addition to his work at NASA, Casey has a fascinating blog where he considers the future of human and robotic space exploration: https://caseyhandmer.wordpress.com/ 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.unive…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 607: InSight and Earthquakes by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Mars is cold and dead today, but the massive volcanoes tell us what the planet used to be like, millions and even billions of years ago. But how volcanically active is the planet today? That's what NASA's Mars InSight lander is there to figure out.…
 
This week we welcome Dr. Jay L. Nadeau to the Weekly Space Hangout. Jay is an Associate Professor in the Physics department at Portland State University and the founder of the Nadeau Lab (https://motility.research.pdx.edu/index.html) where they research nanoparticles, fluorescence imaging, and develop instrumentation for the detection of life elsew…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 606 - Time Dilation: Skipping Thru Time by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Have you ever wanted to be a time traveler? Well, good news! You're time traveling right now. Into the future at one second per second. Taking too long? Don't want to wait? Good news, Einstein's got you covered. Today, let's talk about the weird world of time…
 
This week we are pleased to welcome Dr. Ethan Schaler to the Weekly Space Hangout. Ethan is a Robotics Mechanical Engineer in the Robotic Actuation and Sensing Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ethan has backgrounds in Electrical Engineering (PhD), Mechanical Engineering (BS), and Micro/Nanotechnology (MPhil), and collaborates with researc…
 
My guest is Dr. Michael H. Hecht, a research scientist and associate director at MIT's Haystack Observatory. Hecht is also the principal investigator for the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment onboard Perseverance: https://www.haystack.mit.edu/researcher/mike-hecht/ 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀 PODCA…
 
In this week's questions show, I consider what the night sky might look like if you could stand at the center of the Milky Way where the stars are denser. Do all stars have Oort clouds? And could Starship really send humans to Mars for the price of a house? 00:00 Start 00:50 What would the sky look like at the center of the Milky Way? 04:05 Will th…
 
My guest is Dr. Ken Olum, a research professor at Tufts University. His primary research is into cosmic strings, and how they could be detectable through techniques like gravitational waves. 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀 PODCAST LINKS: ════════════════════════════════════ RSS: https://universet…
 
This week we are excited to welcome "Professional Martian" Dr. Tanya Harrison to the WSH. Tanya is a respected Mars expert who worked as a geoscientist and mission operations specialist on multiple NASA Mars missions over the past 13 years, including the Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance rovers, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. A thought…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 604: Balloon Astronomy by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So when you think about the world's observatories, I'm sure you're imagining huge telescopes perched atop mountain peaks or space telescopes like Hubble. But you might be surprised to learn that some telescopes are carried high into the atmosphere on board balloons. What can …
 
In this special interview, I was fortunate to speak with Dr. Ronald Mallet, an emeritus professor at UConn. In addition to a lifetime's work in cosmology and astrophysics, Mallet has been trying to work out how our understanding of Einstein's theories of General Relativity might lead to a practical form of time travel. https://physics.uconn.edu/per…
 
In this week's questions show, I explain why we'd be able to recognize aliens, even if they were vastly more technologically advanced than us. Why I don't do any promotional ads on my videos, and if we have any examples of energy turning into matter. 00:00 Start 01:09 Can we actually recognize aliens? 04:18 Why don't I have sponsors? 06:33 Could we…
 
This week we aired Fraser's prerecorded interview with Dr. Ronald Mallett, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Physics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Ron received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in physics from the Pennsylvania State University. In 1975 he joined the physics faculty at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. His re…
 
In this week's questions show, I explain whether or not gravity is infinite, will we need to cure cancer to go to space? Will SpaceX help Artemis' chances for landing humans on Mars in 2024, and more... 00:00 Start 00:54 Is gravity infinite? 02:33 How deep does lunar regolith go? 04:09 Could nearby star systems contain planets that we don't know ab…
 
My guest is Dr. Jessie Christiansen, an astrophysicist with NASA's Exoplanet Science Institute. Jessie will give us an update on TESS and the 2,200 planets it's discovered so far. http://web.ipac.caltech.edu/staff/christia/ 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀 PODCAST LINKS: ══════════════════════════…
 
My guest is Dr. Rebecca K. Leane, an astroparticle physicist with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The work involves innovative ways to detect dark matter. http://rebeccaleane.com/ 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀 PODCAST LINKS: ════════════════════════════════════ RSS: https://universeto…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 603: New Colors of the Radio Spectrum by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about how new telescopes and techniques are allowing astronomers to explore the shortest wavelengths of light. This week we go to the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum and explore the longer radio waves which are now accessible to as…
 
This week we are excited to welcome Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd, Senior Writer at Space.com, to the WSH. Chelsea writes articles and creates, scripts, and hosts videos about science topics ranging from climate change to exoplanet exploration and human spaceflight. In November 2020, Chelsea became an analog astronaut after having completed an analog Mars…
 
In this week's questions show I explain why we could be first in the Universe, do galaxies flip or spin, did I pick a good career? And more. 00:00 Start 00:47 Are we first in the Universe? 03:01 Do galaxies flip end over end? 04:28 Bro, get a better career 06:46 How much longer can SLS going? 10:33 Did I watch Ingenuity fly? 12:08 Am I looking forw…
 
My guest is Mick West, a game developer and writer. Mick has been studying UFO claims and contrail conspiracy theories for many years and has a useful toolkit to help identify unidentified objects in the sky. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF3UCTZiVg9wrIEzO7Om6jw 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀…
 
My guest is Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan, an astronomer and project scientist working with the James Webb Space Telescope. Klaus is on the committee that helped choose targets that the telescope will be studying once it flys (and it will). https://www.stsci.edu/~pontoppi/ 🚀 OUR WEBSITE: ════════════════════════════════════ https://www.universetoday.com/ 🚀…
 
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