Episode 113: Astronomical Observatories of Ancient Britain, with Gail Higginbottom

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

Feature Guest: Gail Higginbottom

gail

The British gave us the world’s first parliament. And now it turns out the ancient British may have been among the world’s first astronomers. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by archaeoastronomer Gail Higginbottom. Thanks to her and her team we now have proof that megalithic structures build hundreds of years before Stonehenge were in fact ancient astronomical observatories whose purpose is still shrouded in mystery.

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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

A promising new technology could revolutionize future space navigation. Anuj shares the excitement. Then listen up as Tony tells us about Project Listen, which has now trained its sights on a mysterious star that might just be (though in all likelihood probably not) harboring an alien megastructure.

About Our Guest

Dr. Gail Higginbottom is an interdisciplinary archaeo-astronomer at home in a variety of fields. She is Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Adelaide and Professor in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University.

Links

Major and minor lunar standstills

Britain’s pre-Stonehenge megaliths were aligned by astronomers (Astronomy Now)

Stonehenge: The ancient SUPERCOMPUTER used to track movement of the universe (Express)

How to Listen to the Show

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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 112: Geysers on Europa, with William Sparks

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

Feature Guest: William Sparks

Extraterrestrial life might be erupting into space from the surface of Europa. And a NASA mission to the icy world could fly right through it. Today I’m joined here at The Star Spot by William Sparks, whose team discovered evidence for water vapour geysers on Jupiter’s fascinating moon. 

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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

Europa. Enceladus. Titan. Meet the newest ocean world: Saturn’s moon Dione. Then just as we are coming to terms with an accelerating universe, astronomers suddenly announce we may have gotten worked up over nothing.

About Our Guest

William Sparks has been an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland since his days as a postdoc in 1986. He is currently the Deputy Division Head for the Instruments Division and a member of the Advanced Camera for Surveys Instrument Definition Team (ACS IDT). His research focuses on active galaxies, radio galaxies, X-ray emission in galaxy clusters, and astrobiology.

Links

Europa’s peek-a-boo plumes confirmed (nature.com)

Europa is sparying water into space, could be picked up by a spacecraft (spacemag.org)

How to Listen to the Show

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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 111: Can Supernovae Cause Extinctions!?, with Shawn Bishop

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

Feature Guest: Shawn Bishop

Prof. Shawn Bishop Fachgebiet Nukleare Astrophysik; Foto: Eckert / Heddergott TU Munchen; Verwendung frei fur die Berichterstattung uber die TU Munchen unter Nennung des Copyrights

We’ve long known we’re made of star stuff, but now it turns out that life on Earth might be even more intimately connected to events in deep space than we imagined. Scientists recently reported the first ever discovery of supernova ash – atoms forged in the catastrophic explosion of dead stars – found buried in fossils created by bacteria right here on Earth. And most surprising of all these findings hint at a possible role for supernovae in bringing about mass extinctions, events which have changed the course of life on Earth and may do so again in our future. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team’s Professor Shawn Bishop.

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 worry whether our search for extraterrestrial intelligence is looking in the right place. Tony tells us a better question might be whether we’re looking at the right time. But might we be able to catch life ejected into space? Dave shares exciting evidence of enormous water jets coming from Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Finally Anuj provides an update on an exciting future space telescope that might just be built by little, green… robots.

About Our Guest

Shawn Bishop is an experimental nuclear astrophysicist at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Bishop studied at McMaster University and the University of Victoria and received his PhD from Simon Fraser University in 2003. He has worked at TRIUMF National Laboratory in Vancouver and the RIKEN National Laboratory in Saitama, Japan. He studies nuclear physics, nucleosynthesis and supernovae.

Links

In 2004 a research team found iron-60 in a ferromanganese crust which provided evidence that the radioactive element was present on Earth as well as some indication of where to look in geological time.
For more information please read the research paper: Time-resolved 2-million-year-old supernova activity discovered in Earth’s microfossil record (9232–9237 | PNAS | August 16, 2016 | vol. 113 | no. 33).

Supernova Ashes Found in Fossils Hint at Extinction Event (space.com)

How to Listen to the Show

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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 110: Peering into the Void, with Nico Hamaus

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

Feature Guest: Nico Hamaus

nicoAstronomers are no longer avoiding the void. Between the overdense zones of our universe, where most galaxies live, there exist vast regions of near emptiness that can stretch for hundreds of millions of light years. But these voids are not nearly as inconsequential as you might imagine and now they are finally getting the attention they deserve. Astronomers are peering into the void in the hopes of solving a variety of cosmic mysteries, from gleaning critical insights into dark matter to studying unique galaxies found in the voids. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Nico Hamaus as we study the spaces between.

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

Just as we’re learning more about our solar system’s own Kuiper Belt, we’re also discovering that extrasolar systems may harbour similar structures. Dave helps us understand just where such disks may originate. And while it may be just a little world, Anuj tells us dwarf planet Pluto has a surprisingly complex inner (and surface) life.

About Our Guest

Nico Hamaus is research fellow in the Cosmology Group at the University Observatory and Professor of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

Links

Vast Space Voids Help Fill in the Blanks of Cosmic Mysteries (Space.com)

Synopsis: Emptiness Constrains the Universe (Physics APS journal)

Much ado about nothing: Astronomers use empty space to study the universe (EurekAlert!)

How to Listen to the Show

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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 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.

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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

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