Dr Roberta Paladini talks about the space-based Herschel Space Observatory, which was the largest infrared telescope ever launched. It looked at the sky in the far infrared, and discovered an abundance of water in star-forming regions.
Dr. Andy Thompson explains how he uses robotic ocean gliders to learn about our planet. He tells us how ocean water interacts with the atmosphere, and how parcels of water can preserve information about that interaction for thousands of years.
As part of the 2016 TED Fellows class, I got to meet cool people and I got to talk about asteroids. My TED talk is now online on www.TED.com (check it out!) and the companion book, “Asteroid Hunters”, by me, is now available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India. There’s also e-book and audiobook versions. This bonus episode contains an excerpt from “Asteroid Hunters”.
Dr. Erin Burkett tells us what prairie dog research has to do with an earthquake early alarm system. She also talks about how to motivate people to prepare for earthquakes, and emphasizes the importance of storytelling in science communication.
Dr. Robert Hurt returns to the show to talk about artistic depictions of interstellar travel. We discuss the images of the seven-planet TRAPPIST-1 system he and Tim Pyle created— images that graced the cover of Nature and the front page of the New York Times. We also talk about Star Trek: The Next Generation, and what that TV show got right (and wrong) about the visuals of cruising through outer space.
Professor Mansi Kasliwal talks about the GROWTH project, which uses international teamwork to watch astronomical events around the clock. An individual observer is thwarted by sunrise, but together, an international team can continuously monitor supernovae, neutron stars, and asteroids over 24 hours.
Dr Linda Billings talks about the importance of clear communication across the expert/non-expert boundary. She describes the difference between the words “risk”, “hazard” and “threat,” as applied to near-Earth objects and gives advice to scientists who want to communicate their research accurately.
Dr. Marcia Burton stops by the show to talk about radio waves from Saturn, as measured by the Cassini Spacecraft. We listen to some audio clips, and she explains why it is so difficult to measure the length of Saturn’s day.
Dr. Luisa Rebull explains why it is vital to archive astronomical images. NASA archives, such as the ones at IPAC, are accessible everyone on Earth at no cost. Luisa also describes how you can take a tour through archived data via the Dustier, Messier, Messier Marathon.
Eric Christensen, head of the Catalina Sky Survey, talks about how he and his team hunt asteroids and comets. He explains how astronomers can distinguish between individual asteroids and how new upgrades will let the survey discover more asteroids than ever before.
Dr Jeff Rich stops by the show to talk about variable stars. Some variable stars change brightness dramatically over several hours, and certain types can be used to measure distances. Jeff also explains what it’s like to propose for, and get, time on the Hubble Space Telescope.
Brother Guy Consolmagno shares a Coke and talks about the Vatican Observatory, a discovery that got him in trouble with the Voyager team, and why being next to a dairy farm was convenient when he wanted to measure the properties of meteorites.
Dr. Norna Robertson shares a drink from her home country and talks about a specific part of LIGO. She explains that LIGO’s eighty-pound mirrors are suspended by four, incredibly thin, silica fibers that were developed just for this project.
Dr. Kanner explains how gravitational waves could teach us about the big bang, and how we might be on the cusp of discovering new phenomena that are so unusual, theorists haven’t even predicted their existence.