Episode 109: Rethinking Ancient Mayan Astronomy, with Gerardo Aldana

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Gerardo Aldana

gerardoNo the ancient Maya did not predict the end of the world. But they were among the world’s most advanced astronomers. Now some anthropologists believe they’ve found evidence that the Maya achieved a remarkable innovation in mathematics and science. To share with us his revolutionary view of the famous Mayan Dresden Codex, the oldest book ever written in the Americas, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Gerardo Aldana.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Gerardo Aldana is a Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara with a joint appointment to the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. He holds degrees in both engineering and the history of science. His research interests include Mayan hieroglyphs, culture theory and experimental archaeology.  

Links

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 108: The Closest Exoplanet Could Be Habitable, with Guillem Anglada-Escudé

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Guillem Anglada-Escudé

guillemRecently headlines buzzed with news of the discovery of the nearest exoplanet that we will ever find. And it looks like it could very well be habitable. Proxima b, at just over 4 light years from Earth, is quickly fuelling the imagination, with one foundation already planning a spacecraft mission to the world within a single generation. Today we’re excited to be joined at The Star Spot by Guillem Anglada-Escudé, head of the team responsible for this amazing discovery.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé is Lecturer at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University London in the UK. His research interests range from exoplanets to fundamental physics. He received his PhD from the University of Barcelona. Dr. Anglada has served as “Councillor of Culture, Citizen participation and Youth” for the city council of Ullastrell, a small village near Barcelona.

Links

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 107: Surveying the Cosmos, with Ludovic Van Waerbeke

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Ludovic Van Waerbeke
van_waerbeke_ludovic

Large scale surveys of the universe are quickly becoming key to making new discoveries at the cutting edge of astronomy. Case in point is the Cosmic Evolution Survey (or COSMOS), which incorporates data from 446,000 galaxies.

Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Ludovic Van Waerbeke whose survey-based research has helped us expand our understanding of the expanding – and accelerating – universe, confirming the existence of an unknown source of energy, or dark energy, and providing a map of the large scale dark matter distribution of the cosmos.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

About Our Guest

Ludovic Van Waerbeke is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia and Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in the Cosmology and Gravity program.

Links

Biggest Map Yet of Universe’s Invisible Dark Matter Unveiled (Scientific American)

Astronomers confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity and accelerating cosmic expansion (UBC News)

 How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 106: Is Our Solar System Unique? The Complex Process of Planetary Formation, with Aaron Boley

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Aaron Boley

boleyIs our solar system unique? That’s becoming a major question for researchers. It turns out solar system formation is a far more complex process than anyone imagined. Gas giants migrate in and out. Planets swap places with each other. And bodies of all shapes and sizes appear at every conceivable distance from their star. To make sense of what might literally be a chaotic system today I’m joined at The Star Spot by Aaron Boley, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

We thought we knew everything there was to know about the famous Supernova 1987a, but we never imaged we could learn about the past history of the star… before it exploded. Dave explains.

About Our Guest

Aaron Boley is Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. He studied at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Switzerland before holding a Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Florida. Boley is a frequent guest at public science events, having presented to Café Scientifique, Vancouver’s VanCityBuzz and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Links

A planet burning hotter than a small star is on a death spiral (Astronomy Magazine)

Hot Jupiters may have formed through planetary billiards (New Scientist)

Aaron Boley’s Website

 How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 105: Ad Astra?, with Zachary Fejes

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Zachary Fejes
zach

Imagine a starship that could take us out into the galaxy. Meet Icarus Interstellar, a nonprofit foundation working to achieve interstellar travel by the year 2100. Is this science fiction? That’s what I’ll ask Zachary Fejes. His team is tasked with preparing a map that will take us to the stars, and he joins Justin Trottier here at The Star Spot.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

We know supernova are among the most destructive and violent events our universe is capable of producing. Now Tony tells us why they may have played a creative role in Earth history. Then Dave shares news of the first exoplanet discovered, alive and well, in a triple star system.

About Our Guest

Zachary Fejes is Project Lead for Project Voyager at Icarus Interstellar, a research and development project to create next generation space exploration mission planning and simulation software. If you’re like to join his team, which draws heavily from student volunteers, connect with him on twitter @zachfejes. He is a recent electrical engineering graduate from the University of Toronto.

Links

Project Voyager homepage

Project Voyager: A Map to Navigate Our Dynamic Universe (Seeker.com)

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 104: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 4: The Dream, with Chuck Black

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Chuck Black
chuck2
Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. The great terraforming Mars debate. 

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds. We approached the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics.

Now over the course of 4 episodes I’m being joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event.

We covered the science of Mars with planetary scientist Paul Delaney. We then turned questions of Martian and Earthling biology with Dr. Olathe MacIntyre. Finally, switching gears, we asked NASA’s planetary protection officer John Rummel if we should terraform a lifeless world.

These have been weighty discussions so in this fourth and final interview with journalist Chuck Black of Canadian Aerospace News we’re going to have a little fun. We’re going to dream of our loftiest vision of a Martian colony and we’re going to ask, if we do opt for colonization, how would we choose who to send as ambassadors of our species.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Could Martian moons Phobos and Deimos have a more mysterious origin then was first imagined? Dave explains. Then Anuj lists the Jovian questions we may now seek to answer after Juno successfully entered Jupiter orbit. And finally, Tony waxes melancholic as light pollution obscures what was once a primary – and primeval – source of inspiration: the night sky.

About Our Guest

Chuck Black is a journalist, technology advocate, public speaker and activist. He edits and contributes articles to the Commercial Space blog, the Canadian Aerospace News, and the Space Conference News. He also organizes and produces events focused on the commercialization of space- derived technologies which bring together industry experts for detailed in-person discussions, collaboration and networking on a wide variety of topics for various groups.

Links

Commercial Space blog
Canadian Aerospace News
Space Conference News

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 103: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 3: The Ethics, with John Rummel

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: John Rummel

johnrumme;Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. The great terraforming Mars debate.

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds. We approached the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics. Now over the course of 4 episodes I’m being joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event. We covered the science of Mars with planetary scientist Paul Delaney. We then turned questions of Martian and Earthling biology with Dr. Olathe MacIntyre.

Now it’s time to switch gears. Even if we could make Mars habitable, we must confront the equally profound question, should we do it? If Mars already habours life, even just microbes, does that make terraforming off limits? If Mars has dormant life, should we reawaken it? And do humans have an imperative to spread life to the barren worlds of our solar system and beyond?

To tackle these biggest of questions today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor John Rummel of NASA’s Planetary Protection Subcommittee.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

What’s the best way to study the largest volcano in the solar system? Anuj explains. And while every major galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its centre, have you ever wondered just where do they come from? Tony sheds some light.

About Our Guest

John Rummel is a Senior Scientist with the SETI Institute and a Visiting Scholar at McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law. A retired Professor of Biology at East Carolina University, he has been a member of the NASA Advisory Council’s Planetary Protection Subcommittee. He previously worked at NASA Headquarters, as Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Exobiology Program Manager. Rummel is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the Life Sciences Award from the International Academy of Astronautics. He received his PhD in community ecology and evolution from Stanford University.

Links

Nasa Advisory Council Planetary Protection Subcommittee

How Can We Protect Mars From Earth, While Searching For Life? (Astrobiology Magazine)

The Overprotection of Mars? (Astrobiology Magazine)

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 102: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 2: The Biology, with Olathe MacIntyre

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Olathe MacIntyre

6844539Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot recently did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we recently co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. Can we terraform Mars to make it habitable? And if we can, should we?

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds in order to approach the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics. Now over the course of 4 episodes we’re joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event.

We started, appropriately, with the red planet itself. In our last episode planetary scientist Paul Delaney updated us with the most current understanding of the characteristics of Mars pertinent to the planet’s suitability for life.

Today we look at the biology, turning the focus on us, that is, the biota of Earth. We’ll be asking what we need to change about Mars to make it friendlier to our kind of life? What techniques are available toward that end? And could Earth life itself play a key role in transforming the red planet?

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Did you know dung beetles use the Milky Way galaxy for navigation. Don’t believe us? Anuj will explain how it works. Then Tony shares how supermassive black holes may unlock the secrets of distant galaxies.

About Our Guest

Dr. Olathe MacIntyre received a B.Sc. in Biology at Dalhousie University.  After working as an Onboard Marine Biologist in Alaska, she completed her M.Sc. in Space Science at the International Space University in France, and co-authored “Visysphere Mars: Terraforming Meets Engineered Life Adaption.” She received an internship at the world-class Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University of Guelph, where she earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. Her thesis explored the implications of hypobaric conditions for plant-microbe interactions in a Lunar or Martian greenhouse. She followed with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph. She is currently with Science North, a science education centre, working to inspire the next generation of scientists through the wonders of space exploration.

Links

Should We Remake Mars in Earth’s Image? (space.com)

Should we terraform Mars? (Universe Today)

Effectiveness of beneficial plant-microbe interactions under hypobaric and hypoxic conditions in an advanced life support system

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 101: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 1: The Science, with Paul Delaney

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Paul Delaney

PENTAX Image

Ever consider moving to Mars? The Star Spot recently did. Along with the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, we recently co-hosted a panel event exploring one of the most fascinating questions in which science meets science fiction. Can we terraform Mars to make it habitable? And if we can, should we?

We were joined by a 5 member panel of experts, representing a wide range of backgrounds in order to approach the issue from all angles: physics, astronomy, philosophy, ethics, commerce and politics.

Now, over the next 4 episodes we’ll be joined at The Star Spot by each of our guests from that event.

We start with the science. For the debate over terraforming Mars depends in large part on the attributes of the red planet, on whether it harbours life, and on what technologies are possible to make the planet suitable for a human settlement and even civilization. To set the scene and to share his position in this great debate today we’re joined at The Star Spot by planetary science Professor Paul Delaney.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Scientists are getting closer to discovering what dark matter is made of… by ruling out one more possible candidate, explains Anuj. Then Dave announces Kepler has suddenly doubled the number of confirmed exoplanets in our galaxy. And with new research into the overview effect, Tony wonders if the life changing experience enjoyed by astronauts can be brought down to Earth.

About Our Guest

Paul Delaney is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at York University. He received his undergraduate degree from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and his graduate degree in astronomy from the University of Victoria in Canada. Professor Delaney oversees the York University campus observatory and its public outreach programs, and he appears regularly on York Universe, one of The Star Spot’s affiliated podcasts.

Links

Should We Remake Mars in Earth’s Image? (space.com)

Should we terraform Mars? (Universe Today)

Flowing water found on Mars boosts odds for life on red planet: NASA (Globe and Mail)

Two-year delay casts fresh doubts on Mars One mission (CTV)

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

Episode 100: The Monster at the Centre of our Galaxy, with Feryal Özel

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Celebrating 100 Episodes with you at The Star Spot

Thank you for joining us here at The Star Spot for our special 100th episode. I want to take a moment to thank the 100 absolutely stellar guests that have joined us on the show over the last 4 years. You have educated and inspired people of all ages with your insight and enthusiasm. Thank you to our listeners for helping us grow our production and for your thoughtful suggestions and terrific online discussion. And of course, a very special thank you to the amazing team of volunteers who make our project possible. It has been a great experience working with each of you and I look forward to what the next 4 years will bring.

Feature Guest: Feryal Özel

feryalAs we speak astronomers are busy building the world’s biggest telescope. And when it becomes operational one year from now the globe-spanning Event Horizon Telescope will be aimed at the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, taking the first ever portrait of this hungry beast lying at the very core of the Milky Way. To help us understand how studying the shadow of supermassive black holes will provide the most rigorous test yet in our understanding of gravity, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by The Event Horizon Telescope’s Professor Feryal Ozel

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Science fiction fans are familiar with a cloaking device that hides alien ships from an enemy. Now Tony explains how a real life cloaking device could help us hide our entire civilization from prying eyes. And Anuj wonders if Saturn’s moons may be younger than we thought – and what that means for our exploration of the solar system.

About Our Guest

Feryal Özel is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Arizona. She received her Masters from the Niels Borh Institute and her PhD from Harvard University, before working as a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Her research focuses on neutron stars and black holes, and the relationship of black holes and galaxies in the early universe. Professor Özel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Science Academy of Turkey.

Links

The Event Horizon Telescope

Peering Into a Black Hole (New York Times)

Feryal Özel’s website

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

The Star Spot is also broadcast on The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00PM and Tuesday at 6:00PM Eastern Time. Listen live here

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

%d bloggers like this: