Episode 162: The End is Nowhere Near Night, with Fred Adams

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

Feature Guest: Fred Adams

If you thought the far distant future of our universe was going to be bleak, dreary and dark, well, you’d be right. But remember, the universe is still just a baby and it has many new experiences ahead of it. Over the many trillions of years of its unimaginably long life, new processes will take over, new forms of galactic structure will emerge and types of stars that have never existed will come to populate the galaxy. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Fred Adams, not to mourn the death of the universe, but to celebrate its remarkable potential.

The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto, hosted its annual signature symposium event on Friday, February 15th, 2019. This year’s theme was “Boom to Bust,”with three keynote speakers covering, in turn, the birth, life and death of the cosmos. Once again The Star Spot was privileged to be on location to cover the event. And now we bring you the the conclusion of our special three episode series, featuring each fascinating speaker taking us from before the beginning into the unimaginably distant future of our universe.

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Current in Space

Simon generates excitement following the recent historic unmanned test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which shall pave the way for astronauts to once again launch into space from American soil. And it turns out we still have a lot to learn about white dwarf stars, as Amelia and Samantha bring you a tantalizing discovery: A white dwarf with an orbiting dust ring! Then we move out to the disk of the galaxy. Astronomers have had trouble measuring the mass of our galaxy, but as Tony explains, we may have finally figured it out thanks to a clever technique.  

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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. Fred Adams is the Ta-You Wu Collegiate Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. His recent work includes star formation in clusters, the development of a theory for the initial mass function for forming stars, and studies of extra-solar planetary systems.
 
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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 161: The Boom Time of the Universe, with Rosemary Wyse

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

Feature Guest: Rosemary Wyse

The universe is past its prime, by about 8 to 10 billion years. Sorry if you missed it. From the rate of star formation to the frequency of galactic mergers, the cosmos just isn’t what it used to be. Yet remarkably all is not lost, for there’s an astronomical archeology available to us. It turns out stars retain a memory of their ancient origins and galaxies hold clues to their own violent histories. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Rosemary Wise for the second in our three part series. Our coverage of the Symposium Boom to Bust: The Story of the Universe, continues with a Boom.

The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto, hosted its annual signature symposium event on Friday, February 15th, 2019. This year’s theme was “Boom to Bust,”with three keynote speakers covering, in turn, the birth, life and death of the cosmos. Once again The Star Spot was privileged to be on location to cover the event. And now in a special three episode series, we’re joined by each fascinating speaker as we take you from before the beginning into the unimaginably distant future of our universe.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Current in Space

Dave reports on a new moon discovered around Neptune known as Hippocamp, and it may have a chaotic history. Then Simon tells us about the finding of the fastest-orbiting asteroid ever discovered! Finally Amelia and Tony revisit Supernova 1987A because this classic supernova event has another story to tell.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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. Rosemary Wyse is the Alumni Centennial Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Physics & Astronomy. Her research focus is in the field of galaxy formation and evolution, with emphases on resolved stellar populations and the nature of dark matter. She is the recipient of the Annie Jump Cannon Award and the Brouwer Award from the American Astronomical Society.
 
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* 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 160: Boom to Bust Part 1: Before the Beginning, with Katrin Heitmann

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

Feature Guest: Katrin Heitmann

The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto, hosted its annual signature symposium event on Friday, February 15th, 2019. This year’s theme was “Boom to Bust,” with three keynote speakers covering, in turn, the birth, life and death of the cosmos. Once again The Star Spot was privileged to be on location to cover the event. And now in a special three episode series, we’re joined by each fascinating speaker as we take you from before the beginning into the unimaginably distant future of our universe.

First up, on today’s episode Professor Katrin Heitmann tells how scientists are using the most powerful supercomputers on Earth to model the very origin of space and time, and to predict how events at the birth of the universe continue to shape its destiny. 

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Current in Space

Tony reports on the discovery of the brightest quasar ever seen in the early Universe, although its perceived brightness may be a trick of a certain phenomenon. Then Simon shocks with new research suggesting that the volatile elements essential for life on Earth were deposited during the apocalyptic planetary collision that formed the Moon. Finally, Amelia surprises with the finding of a circumbinary disk that orbits a binary star system not at the equator as expected, but at the poles!

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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. Katrin Heitmann is a physicist at the United States’ Argonne National Lab and a Senior Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on cosmology and in particular on extreme-scale simulations of the evolution of the universe.

Links
 

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 159: Living on the Edge: Are We On the Boundary of an Expanding Universe?, with Ulf Danielsson

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

Feature Guest: Ulf Danielsson

Our universe is big. But what if all of this was just one of an unimaginably large number of bubble universes. That’s the proposal by a group of scientists who recently introduced a new model for the universe which for the first time links string theory with dark energy and higher dimensions. But how does it compare to rival multiverse theories? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by physicist Ulf Danielsson to explain how his model, uniquely, provides for universes that far from being isolated might actually come into contact.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Ulf Danielsson is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University in Sweden. He is the author of four books and engages frequently in public science education on TV and radio. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics.

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 158: Telling Space Stories, with Rayna Slobodian

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

Feature Guest: Rayna Slobodian

As we dream of space, we must remain anchored to humanity. Space exploration is a human story, and music may be the perfect medium to capture the emotive drama of discovery, risk and the mystery of the unknown. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by singer-songwriter, space ethicist, homelessness researcher and all around geek, Rayna Slobodian, for a far-ranging discussion that, while focused on space music, is ultimately about bringing space exploration down to Earth.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Rayna Slobodian is a singer-songwriter whose music combines her love of space exploration with her passion for ethics, justice and human imagination. Her album Space Stories is available on iTunes and YouTube. She is a psychology and anthropology masters student at York University, focusing on research into the reporting of homelessness in Canada.

Links

Space Stories EP on iTunes

@RaynaElizabeth (twitter)

The Geek Anthropologist column

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 157: How We Discovered That Blazars Cause Mysterious Cosmic Rays, with Darren Grant

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

Feature Guest: Darren Grant

A one hundred year old astronomical mystery may finally have been solved. Scientists have long wondered just what caused high energy particles called cosmic rays, which arrive on Earth from the far unknown reaches of the universe. But now we have a discovery by the South Pole Neutrino Observatory, appropriately named IceCube, which points the finger at a peculiar phenomena known as blazars. The IceCube Collaboration’s Professor Darren Grant joins us today here at The Star Spot.

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Current in Space

Dave reports on the arrival of the Osiris-Rex mission at the asteroid Bennu. Then, when it comes to climate change, desperate times call for desperate measures, such as the plan we hear from Simon to spray chemicals into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s heat back into space. And Tony explains the possible outcome of an astronomical event so energetic we detected its gravitational waves back in August 2017. Finally Amelia tells us we may have finally come a step closer to understanding what fuels the least-understood type of supernova.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Darren Grant is Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Alberta. He is the Spokesperson for the IceCube Collaboration, referring to the South Pole Neutrino Observatory. Grant is Canada Research Chair in Astroparticle Physics and received an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.  

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 156: The Do-It-Yourself Spacesuit, with Cameron Smith

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

Feature Guest: Cameron Smith

One of the challenges in building a future where humans are able to explore other worlds are the massive, clumsy and expensive spacesuits currently in use. Now enter into the picture Pacific Spaceflight. They’re a grassroots team with a do-it-yourself attitude and they’re busy perfecting the next generation space suit technology. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by their leader, Professor Cameron Smith, an anthropologist and archaeologist who’s research on humanity’s deep past now fuels his determination to take us into the future.

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Current in Space

Could we have missed one of our closest galactic neighbours, asks Dave. Then Tony explains how humans aren’t the only animals effected by a solar eclipse. Simon freaks us out with news that worms are being sent to the International Space Station. And finally, in her big debut, Amelia reports first views of supermassive black holes colliding in galaxy mergers.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Cameron Smith is a Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Portland State University, author of the book Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space Colonization  and founder of the thinktank Pacific Spaceflight.

Links

Principles of Space Anthropology: Biological and Cultural Evolution Beyond Earth (technical report)

Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space Colonization

Cameron Smith’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 155: Artificial Photosynthesis: Taking the Sun on the Road, with Katharina Brinkert

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

Feature Guest: Katharina Brinkert

On Earth, we can thank the sun for making life possible. Now what if we could harness the power of the sun to make life possible on long duration space missions. Introducing the concept of artificial photosynthesis. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by chemist Katharina Brinkert, whose pioneering experiments on the International Space Station turning sunlight into fuel and breathable air might just pave the way for human exploration of the solar system.

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Current in Space

Water World. No, not the awful movie, but according to Dave, the most common kind of exoplanet in our galaxy. Then Tony and Simon share tributes to NASA missions which ended within days of one another. Tony reflects on Dawn, the first mission to orbit two bodies in the asteroid belt. And Simon discusses the triumphs and legacy of the Kepler Space Telescope.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Katharina Brinkert is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

Links

Efficient solar hydrogen generation in microgravity environment (scholarly article in Nature)

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 154: The Vatican Observatory: Astronomy and Faith in the Modern World, with Cosette Gilmour

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

Feature Guest: Cosette Gilmour

The proper relationship between science and faith is a core question for the modern age. At the centre of this debate has often been the Vatican observatory. The fascinating history of the Vatican Observatory stretches from the 18th century up to today, controversially combining scientific scholarship and religious tradition. In the last few decades the Observatory hosted a conference exploring the search for alien life and another aimed at a scientific understanding of divine action.

Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Cosette Gilmour, an alumni of the Vatican Observatory Summer School program, to find out what goes on in this unique institution and whether the Vatican Observatory still has relevance in the modern world.

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Current in Space

Simon says we’ve found the oldest (so far) massive galaxy supercluster in our universe.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Cosette Gilmour is a PhD student in Earth and Space Science at York University. Her research interests include the physical and chemical analysis of meteorites, remote sensing of asteroids, and in-situ resource utilization. In 2016 she participated in the Vatican Observatory Summer School program, on the them of water in the solar system and beyond.

Links

Do aliens exist? Pope Francis tackles this (and other things) in new interview (Catholic News Agency)

About the Vatican Observatory

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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 153: A Reality Check on Terraforming Mars, with Bruce Jakosky

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

Feature Guest: Bruce Jakosky

Don’t shoot the messenger. The terraforming of Mars has been the dream for many of us who long for a future where humanity has colonized the Red Planet. But is it time to rethink those plans? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Bruce Jakosky, Principal Investigator of the Martian MAVEN Mission, and he’s got some bad news.

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Current in Space

Dave spotlights the first confirmed detection of an extrasolar moon, and its a whopper. Then Tony shares new research suggesting that a key component of life may have originated in space before landing on Earth. And Simon delivers a tribute to NASA in honour of the agency’s 60th anniversary.

The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

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

Bruce Jakosky is Principal Investigator for NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission, which has been studying the Martian atmosphere from orbit. He is Professor of Geological Sciences and Associate Director for Science at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.

Links

Inventory of CO2 available for terraforming Mars (Scholarly article in NatureAstronomy, referenced in this interview)

Previous episodes of The Star Spot on the subject of Terraforming Mars
Episode 101: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 1: The Science, with Paul Delaney
Episode 102: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 2: The Biology, with Olathe MacIntyre
Episode 103: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 3: The Ethics, with John Rummel 
Episode 104: The Great Terraforming Mars Debate – Part 4: The Dream, with Chuck Black 

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