Last Build Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMTCopyright: Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMTAs you probably know, Fraser is an avid video gamer, especially if it has anything to do with space. Today we turn things around, as Fraser talks about the games he plays, and what he thinks you should be playing too.
Mon, 19 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMTOne of the most dangerous things that can happen inside a spacecraft is fire. Seriously, it’s NASA’s worst nightmare, and for good reason. Fire acts differently in space, and astronauts are always on alert. Here’s why.
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMTThis episode is a special live show that took place at DragonCon 2016 in Atlanta, GA. Pamela hosted a panel of amazing scientists and engineers who all happen to be women, and they discussed the unsung women of NASA and the early Space Age and their roles as “human computers”, and the current climate at JPL for women scientists and engineers.
Mon, 27 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMTOne of the most familiar asterisms in the night sky is the Teapot, in Sagittarius. Today we’re going to talk about that and have a bonus conversation about Bertrand Russell’s Teapot Argument.
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMTIn all fields of science, sometimes more is learned when you fail at what you’re trying to do than when you succeed. So what new science discoveries have failed expectations given us in astronomy?
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMTEvery now and then we look up and see bright fiery balls falling from the sky. Don’t panic, these are just bolides. Sometimes they leave trails, sometimes they explode, and sometimes they survive all the way to the ground.
Mon, 30 May 2016 00:00:00 GMTThe temperature of the Universe can vary a dramatic amount from the hot cores of stars to the vast cold emptiness of deep space. What’s the temperature of the Universe now, and what will it be in the future?
Mon, 16 May 2016 00:00:00 GMTIn our last episode, we talked about what it’ll take to navigate across the Solar System. In this episode we scale things up and speculate how future civilizations will navigate to other stars and even other galaxies.
Mon, 09 May 2016 00:00:00 GMTIt’s hard enough finding your way around planet Earth, but what do you do when you’re trying to find your way around the Solar System? Today we’ll talk about how spacecraft navigate from world to world.
Mon, 25 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMTWhat color is the Universe? Turns out this isn’t a simple question, and one that scientists have really been unable to answer, until now!
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMTWe all enjoy beautiful, multicolored sunsets. But what causes the brilliant oranges, pinks and purples that we see, and why does it change from day to day and season to season?
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMTThe discovery of Planet 9 has caused a wonderful, confusing uproar and a flood of misinformation in the news and social media. We’ll sort out what we actually know, what things just aren’t true, and what things might be possible!
Mon, 04 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMTThe Solar System is a spinny place. Everything’s turning turning. But if you look closely, there are some pretty strange spins going on. Today we talk about how everything started turning, and the factors that still “impact” them today.
Mon, 28 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMTWe’ve talked about stellar cannibalism and galactic cannibalism, but now it’s time to take this concept to its logical extreme – universe cannibalism. In the multiverse theory of physics we live in just one of a vast range of universes which might interact with each other. Let’s look for the evidence.
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMTRemember when we told you that the Universe is a big place, and anything that can go wrong, inevitably does? Today we talk about what happens when galaxies come together. This is particularly pertinent because our Milky Way will collide with Andromeda in the future!
Mon, 07 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMTMost of the time stars hang around for billions of years. But the Universe is a big place, and anything that can go wrong, inevitably does. Today we talk about what happens when these stars come together. The outcome is violent, and fortunately for you, also interesting.
Mon, 29 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTLast week we talked about knowledge, what we do and don’t know. This week we talk about questions which are impossible to ask, where the answers don’t actually exist.
Mon, 22 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTThere the things we know, the things we don’t know, and the things we can’t know. How do we know which one is when when we’re deciding to fund research and direct our scientific inquiry.
Mon, 15 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTHow much of a challenge is it to get funding for large projects like LIGO? Fraser and Pamela discuss the difficult issues finding “Big Money.”
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTWhat kinds of things can we see using gravity, that we may not otherwise be able to see? Pamela will fill us in on the Great Attractor, etc!
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTWhat do Pamela and Fraser think will happen or be discovered in 2016? What would they like to see in the near future?
Mon, 25 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMTIt’s time for us to go back and catch up with all of the projects, news stories, weird star systems, and other topics that need updating!
Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMTScience is typically a male dominated profession, mostly dudes, not a lot of ladies. From researchers to professors, to law makers, woman have a tough time gaining traction in such a heavily gendered field. Today we’re going to talk about what it takes to make it as a woman in science, what additional hurdles you’ll have to navigate, and what resources are available if you’re being harassed or discriminated against.
Mon, 04 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMTAstronomers gather electromagnetic radiation with the telescopes: mostly visible light. But sometimes they've got to be clever about where they look for these elusive photons. Light can get emitted, absorbed, reflected, and each method tells astronomers a little more about what they're looking at.
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMTOne of the biggest, most basic questions you can ask is: “why is there something and not nothing?” The reality is that we don’t know the answer, we might never know the answer. Today we’ll investigate this mystery, recently covered by the physicist Lawrence Krauss in his book of the same name.
Mon, 14 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMTEvery year, it’s the same dilemma: what gift should you get for the super space nerd in the family? And if someone has a budding interest in space and astronomy, what can you do to feed their hunger for knowledge? Today we’ll talk telescopes, books and planispheres. Everything you need to avoid a holiday gift disaster.
Mon, 07 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMTIn the last few episodes, we’ve been talking about the standard model of physics, explaining what everything is made up of. But the reality is that we probably don’t know a fraction of how everything is put together. This week we’re going to talk about baryons, the particles made up of quarks. The most famous ones are the proton and the neutron, but that’s just the tip of the baryonic iceberg. And then we’re going to talk about where the standard model ends, and what’s next in particle physics.
Sat, 05 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMTAll fundamental particles are either fermions or bosons. Last week we talked about quarks, which are fermions. This week we’ll talk about bosons, including the famous Higgs boson, recently confirmed by the Large Hadron Collider.
Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMTPhysicists are getting a handle on the structure of the Universe, how everything is made of something else. Molecules are made of atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, etc. Even smaller than that are the quarks and the leptons, which seem to be the basic building blocks of all matter.
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMTHumans, cars and planets are made of molecules. And molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. What are they made of? This is the standard model of particle physics, which explains how everything is put together and the forces that mediate all those particles.
Mon, 16 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMTHave you ever been doing thermodynamics in a closed system and noticed that there’s a finite number of ways that things can be arranged, and they tend towards disorder? Of course you have, we all have. That’s entropy. And here in our Universe, entropy is on the rise. Let’s learn about entropy in its specific, thermodynamic ways, and then figure out what this means for the future of the Universe.
Mon, 09 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMTI’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens. Actually, it’s almost certainly not aliens, or a wormhole, or a multiverse. When scientists discover something unusual, they make guesses about what’s happening. But Occam’s Razor encourages us to consider the probabilities of different events before making any concrete predictions.
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMTWhile Pamela and Fraser were at Ohio State University for a symposium in October, they caught up with Paul M. Sutter from Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, who is a visiting scholar at the OSU Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics. His specialty is cosmic voids. Paul also hosts the podcast “Ask a Spaceman.”
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMTThis week astronomers announced an unusual transit signal from another star. Although it’s most likely a natural phenomenon, one remote possibility is that this is some kind of alien megastructure. Freeman Dyson and others have considered this idea for decades. Today we’ll talk about the kinds of structures that aliens might want to build.
Mon, 19 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMTHave you heard the big news? NASA has reported that Mark Watney is alive and well on the surface of Mars. No, wait, they’ve reported that there’s water on Mars. Didn’t they already report this? Today we’ll update you on the latest discovery and what this means for the search for life on Mars.
Mon, 12 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMTThe atmosphere keeps us alive and breathing, but it really sucks for astronomy. Fortunately, humanity has built and launched space telescopes that get above the pesky atmosphere, where the skies are really clear. Let’s take a look at the past, current and future of orbital observation.
Mon, 05 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMTTaking pictures of distant worlds is great and all, but the best science happens with boots on the ground. Or in this case... wheels. This week we'll talk all about robotic rovers and the places they rove.
Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMTThe gravity of the Earth is a tough thing to escape, but breaking free from the gravity of the Sun is on a whole other level. But humans have achieved this amazing accomplishment, and right now there are several spacecraft leaving the Solar System and never coming back.
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMTThe coldest possible theoretical temperature is Absolute Zero, this is the point at which no further energy can be extracted from a system. How are physicists working to get as close as possible to this extreme cold?
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTIn some of the most extreme objects in the Universe, white dwarfs and neutron stars, matter gets strange, transforming into a material that physicists call “degenerate matter”. Let’s learn what it is, how it forms.
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTWhen we finally make the jump to fully colonizing the Solar System, we're going to want to use asteroids as stepping stones. We can use them as way stations, research facilities, even as spacecraft to further explore the Solar System. Today we'll talk about the science and science fiction of hollowing out asteroids.
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTAstronomers rely on the optics of their instruments, and there are some basic limits that you just can’t avoid. Whatever we look at is distorted by the optics, in fact, a basic property of light means that we’ll never get perfect optics. Here’s why we can’t “magnify and enhance” forever.
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTWhen he wasn’t puzzling the mystery of alien civilizations, Enrico Fermi was splitting atoms. He realized that when atoms were split, the neutrons released could go on and split other atoms, creating a chain reaction – and the most powerful weapons ever devised.
Mon, 08 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTPhysicists knew the interior of the atom contained protons, neutrons and electrons, but they didn’t understand exactly how they were organized. It took Ernest Rutherford to uncover our modern understanding.
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTAt the end of the 19th century, physicists were finally beginning to understand the nature of matter itself, including the discovery of electrons – tiny particles of negative charge that surround the nucleus. Here’s how J.J. Thompson separated the electrons from their atoms and uncovered their nature.
Mon, 18 May 2015 00:00:00 GMTEvolution explains how life adapts and evolves over eons. But how did life originate? Chemists Miller and Urey put the raw chemicals of life into a solution, applied an electric charge, and created amino acids – the building blocks of life.
Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 GMTWith the discovery of water ice in so many locations in the Solar System, scientists are hopeful in the search for life on other worlds. Guest Morgan Rehnberg returns to Astronomy Cast to explain the best places we should be looking for life.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMTIn the world of quantum mechanics, particles behave in discreet ways. One breakthrough experiment was the Stern-Gerlach Experiment, performed in 1922. They passed silver atoms through a magnetic field and watched how the spin of the atoms caused the particles to deflect in a very specific way.
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMTAntoine Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity completely by accident when he exposed a chunk of uranium to a photographic plate. This opened up a whole new field of research to uncover the source of the mysterious energy.
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMTIn 1909 Robert Millikan devised an ingenious experiment to figure out the charge of an electron using a drop of oil. Let's talk about this Nobel Prize winning experiment.
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMTAt the turn of the 20th Century, Einstein’s theory of relativity stunned the physics world, but the experimental evidence needed to be found. And so, in 1919, another respected astronomer, Arthur Eddington, observed the deflection of stars by the gravity of the Sun during a solar eclipse. Here’s the story of that famous experiment.
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMTOne of the most amazing implications of Einstein's relativity is the fact that the inertial mass of an object depends on its velocity. That sounds like a difficult thing to test, but that's exactly what happened through a series of experiments performed by Kaufmann, Bucherer, Neumann and others.
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMTLight is tricky stuff, and it took scientists hundreds of years to puzzle out what this stuff is. But they poked and prodded at it with many clever experiments to try to measure its speed, motion and interaction with the rest of the Universe. For example, the Fizeau Experiment, which ran light through moving water to see if that caused a difference.
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMTWaves move through a medium, like water or air. So it seemed logical to search for a medium that light waves move through. The Michelson-Morley Experiment attempted to search for this medium, known as the “luminiferous aether”. The experiment gave a negative result, and helped set the stage for the theory of General Relativity.
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMTWe've spent the last few weeks talking about different ways astronomers are searching for exoplanets. But now we reach the most exciting part of this story: actually imaging these planets directly. Today we're going to talk about the work NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has done viewing the atmospheres of distant planets.
Mon, 09 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMTAlmost all the planet hunting has been done from space. But there’s a new instrument installed on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6 meter telescope called the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher which has already turned up 130 planets. Is this the future? Searching for planets from the ground?
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMTThe European Gaia spacecraft launched about a year ago with the ambitious goal of mapping one billion years in the Milky Way. That’s 1% of all the stars in our entire galaxy, which it will monitor about 70 times over its 5-year mission. If all goes well, we’ll learn an enormous amount about the structure, movements and evolution of the stars in our galaxy. It’ll even find half a million quasars.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMTBefore NASA’s Kepler mission searched for exoplanets using the transit method, there was the European COROT mission, launched in 2006. It was sent to search for planets with short orbital periods and find solar oscillations in stars. It was an incredibly productive mission, and the focus of today’s show.
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMTWhere on Earth did our water come from. Well, obviously not from Earth, of course, but from space. But did it come from comets, or did the water form naturally right here in the Solar System, and the Earth just scooped it up?
Mon, 12 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMTIt hard to think of a more influential modern planetary scientist than Carolyn Porco, the leader of the imaging team for NASA’s Cassini mission exploring Saturn. But before Cassini, Porco was involved in Voyager missions, and she’ll be leading up the imaging team for New Horizons.
Mon, 05 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMTMaria Zuber is one of the hardest working scientists in planetary science, being a part of six different space missions to explore the Solar System. Currently, she’s the lead investigator for NASA’s GRAIL mission.
Mon, 29 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMTJocelyn Bell Burnell is an Irish astronomer, best known for being part of the team that discovered pulsars, and the following controversy when she was excluded from the Nobel Prize winning team.
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMTMargaret Geller is best known for her work on the large scale structure of the Universe, helping us understand the large clusters, super clusters and cosmic filaments that matter clumps into.
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMTOur focus on female astronomers continues with Sandra Faber, and Professor of Astronomy at UC Santa Cruz. Faber was part of the team that turned up the Great Attractor, a mysterious mass hidden by the disk of the Milky Way.
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMTIt’s time for another series. This time we’ll be talking about famous female astronomers. Starting with: Vera Rubin, who first identified the fact that galaxies rotate too quickly to hold themselves together, anticipating the discovery of dark matter.
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMTAn object at rest stays at rest, and object in motion tends to stay in motion. This is inertia, defined famously by Isaac Newton in his First Law of Motion.
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMTGetting stuff into space is complicated and expensive. And what do you do when your fancy space gadget breaks. You print out a new one, of course, with your fancy space 3D printer. It turns out, space exploration is one of the best uses for this technology.
Mon, 10 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMTWe were witness to a once in a million year event. A close approach of Comet Siding Spring to the Planet Mars. And fortunately, humanity had a fleet of spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, ready to capture this monumental event in real time. What did we see? What will we learn?
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMTYou think we’re the only place that experiences seasons? Well, think again. Anything with a tilt enjoys the changing seasons, and that includes one of the most dramatic places in the Solar System: Saturn, with its rings and collection of moons.
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMTWhere ever we find water on Earth we find life. And so, it makes sense to search throughout the Solar System to find water. Well, here’s the crazy thing. We’re finding water just about everywhere in the Solar System. This changes our whole concept of the habitable zone.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMTLive from DragonCon 2014! Fraser and Pamela are joined by Les Johnson, Scott Edgington, Erin MacDonald, Roy Kilgard, and Fraser bombards all of these wonderful scientists with the hardest, most complicated questions he can come up with!
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMTAstronomy Cast’s 2014/15 season begins! With Rosetta’s arrival at Comet 67/P, we’re about to see a comet up close and personal. What will it take to explore, exploit and enjoy the asteroids and comets hurtling around our Solar System. And how does science fiction have it all wrong??
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMTSpaceShipOne is the spacecraft created by Scaled Composites to win the $10 million Ansari X-Prize in 2003. It was the first privately built spacecraft to reach 100 km in altitude, twice in two weeks, carrying the equivalent of 3 people. It’s the prototype of the upcoming SpaceShipTwo, created for Virgin Galactic to carry paying passengers into space.
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMTBefore the Apollo Program, there was the Gemini Program, and before Gemini came the Mercury Program. 7 elite astronauts chosen from a pool of military test pilots. How did NASA choose these original 7 men?
Mon, 23 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMTAlthough NASA is spread across the entire US, the headquarters is based right in Washington, DC. And the headquarters building is known as Two Independence Square. This is where past and future space policy for the agency was developed.
Mon, 9 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMTEnjoy our live show from Balticon!
Mon, 26 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTWho knows what mysteries lurk at the military's Area 51 complex in Nevada? Conspiracy theorists and UFO chasers think it's a big alien coverup. But it's probably something more boring, like advanced military aircraft. Let's talk about what we know, and what we think we know about this infamous military base.
Mon, 19 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTAlmost every historic American launch occurred at one place in Cape Canaveral: Launch Complex 39. Good old LC39 was build for the Apollo spacecraft, and then modified for the Space Shuttle program. And now it’s carrying on this tradition for upcoming SpaceX rockets. Let’s explore the history of this instrumental launch facility.
Mon, 05 May 2014 00:00:00 GMTThere’s so much we know about Saturn’s beautiful rings, and yet, there’s so much we don’t know. Morgan Rehnberg, a PhD student at the University of Colorado, Boulder and works with the Cassini mission. Morgan joins Fraser to talk about Saturn’s amazing rings, and how they might have formed.
Mon, 28 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMTWe always say that the Universe is trying to kill you, but we thought we’d really hammer the point home. Dr. Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy joins Fraser Cain for a very special episode of Astronomy Cast. Join us as we hammer out all the ways the Universe wants you dead.
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMTEverything dies, including our technology. But when we've hurtled a few thousands pounds of robotic instrumentation to another planet, it gets a little difficult to shut it down and clean up. What do we do when a mission has reached the end of its useful life?
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMTPamela has a day job, remember? As an astronomer? Recently the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference occurred in the The Woodlands, Texas. Pamela and guest astronomer Sondy Springmann will let us know about the big announcements made at this year's conference.
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMTWhen the United States helped defeat Germany at the end of World War II, they acquired the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. He had already developed the German V2 rocket program, and went on to design all the major hardware of the US rocket program. This week, we talk about von Braun’s life and accomplishments.
Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMTYes, we actually landed on the Moon. No, aliens didn’t crash land at Roswell. What is it about space exploration that leads to so many conspiracy theories? We’ll try to get to the bottom of these conspiracy theories, poke holes in their ridiculous ideas and help you build your baloney detection kit.
Mon, 24 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMTIt’s safe to say that the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus shook up the whole Universe. Well, our understanding of our place in the Universe. It was Copernicus who came up with the heliocentric model, placing the Sun at the center of the Solar System, with the Earth as just another planet.
Mon, 17 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMTThere's a lot you can learn by just staring at an object, watching how it changes in brightness. This is the technique of photometry, and it has helped astronomers discover variable stars, extrasolar planets, minor planets, supernovae, and much more.
Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMTHow heavy is a kilogram, how long is a second? How warm is a degree? We measure our Universe is so many different ways, using different units of measurement. But how do scientists come up with measurement tools which are purely objective?
Mon, 24 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMTPop quiz. How did Einstein win his Nobel prize? Was it for relativity? Nope, Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for the discovery of the photoelectric effect; how electrons are emitted from atoms when they absorb photons of light. But what is it? Let’s find out.
Mon, 17 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMTAround this time last year a space rock crashed into the Earth above Chelyabinsk, Russia. It brightened the skies for hundreds of kilometers, broke windows and injured many people. Let’s look back at the event. What happened, and what did we learn?
Mon, 10 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMTJust take a look at the surface of the Moon and you can see it experienced a savage beating in the past. Turns out, the whole Solar System is a cosmic shooting gallery, with stuff crashing into other stuff. It sure sounds violent, but then, we wouldn't be here without it.
Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMTOut here in the Milky Way’s suburbs, stellar collisions are unheard of. But there are places in the galaxy where stars whiz past each other, and collisions can happen. When stars collide, it’s a catastrophic event, and the stellar wreckage is visible half a galaxy away.
Mon, 27 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMTIn our previous episode, we introduced Arthur C. Clarke, the amazing man and science fiction writer. Today we’ll be discussing his legacy and ideas on space exploration. You’ll be amazed to hear how many of the ideas we take for granted were invented or just accurately predicted by Arthur C. Clarke.
Mon, 20 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMTArthur C. Clarke was one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. He defined the genre, and revolutionized our ideas about what it will take to become a true space faring civilization. In the first of our two part series on Arthur C. Clarke, we examine the man’s life and his books.
Mon, 13 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMTAs we’ve said before, all telescopes really want to be in space. In part 3 of our series on amateur telescope making, we bring you up to speed on the final frontier: amateurs building space telescopes. The hardware and software is available off the shelf, and launches have never been more affordable. The era of amateur space telescopes has arrived.
Mon, 06 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMTSome astronomers are control freaks. It’s not enough to buy a telescope, they want to craft every part of the experience with their own hands. If you’re ready, and willing to get your hands dirty (and covered in glass dust), you can join thousands of amateur telescope makers and build your own telescope from scratch.
Mon, 30 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMTWhy pick up a low quality, wobbly telescope from the department store when you can craft your own - just like Galileo, and all the great astronomers from history. For a minor investment, you can build a worthy telescope out of spare parts and high quality kits.
Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMTWhen you consider the hazards of spaceflight, it’s hard to get worked up about dust bunnies. And yet, atmospheric dust is going to be one of the biggest problems astronauts will face when they reach the surface of other worlds. Where does this dust come from, and what does it tell us about the history of other worlds, and what can we do to mitigate the health risks?
Wed, 18 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMTThe Universe is filled with hot fusion, in the cores of stars. And scientists have even been able to replicate this stellar process in expensive experiments. But wouldn’t it be amazing if you could produce energy from fusion without all that equipment, and high temperatures and pressures? Pons and Fleischmann announced exactly that back in 1989, but things didn’t quite turn out as planned…
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMTComets can spend billions of years out in the Oort Cloud, and then a few brief moments of terror orbiting the Sun. These are the sun grazers. Some survive their journey, and flare up to become the brightest comets in history. Others won't survive their first, and only encounter with the Sun.
Tue, 03 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMTThe number of protons defines an element, but the number of neutrons can vary. We call these different flavors of an element isotopes, and use these isotopes to solve some challenging mysteries in physics and astronomy. Some isotopes occur naturally, and others need to be made in nuclear reactors and particle accelerators.