Episode 131: Heavy Metal Explosion: The Rockstars of the Supernova World, with Matt Nicholl

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

Feature Guest: Matt Nicholl

If you thought a supernova was powerful, time to meet its bigger brother, the superluminous supernova. They’ve been described as the rockstars of the supernova world and if one were to go off in our galaxy it would outshine the full moon. Yes, you heard that right. Now until recently we thought such stupendous events were confined to fantastically distant dwarf galaxies, far off and unusual parts of our universe. But now a remarkable new discovery has changed everything, bringing superluminous supernovae much much closer to home.

On today’s episode we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Matt Nicholl whose team was responsible for discovering and characterizing the newest member of this extraordinary family, SN 2017egm

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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

Tony reminds us that if you’re listening to this on the night of our broadcast, Sunday, August 20th, then you still have the chance to prepare yourself for the 2017 solar eclipse. Tomorrow all of North America will be treated to this remarkable spectacle as the moon completely or partially covers the sun. In order to find out when the eclipse will visit you go to https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/. And remember never look directly at the sun except during the moment of totality. Tell us about your experience by emailing info@thestarspot.ca.

About Our Guest

Matt Nicholl is an astronomer and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He received his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast.  His interest in the dynamic sky are particularly focused on supernovae. He can be found on instagram and twitter @mattnicholl56

Links

‘Star’ man Matt spies closest ‘super’ supernova to Derry ever recorded! (Derry Journal)

The superluminous supernova SN 2017egm in the nearby galaxy NGC 3191: a metal-rich environment can support a typical SLSN evolution (Scholarly paper)

Follow Matt Nicholl on twitter

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 130: There Are How Many More Comets?!, with James Bauer

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

Feature Guest: James Bauer

A team of astronomers studying long-period comets has just reached a startling conclusion. The solar system is home to seven times more of these large icy bodies than we previously thought. This according to team lead James Bauer, who joins us here at The Star Spot. How does this discovery affect our understanding of solar system formation? Were there once supermassive ancient comets which broke apart? And did we just massively increase the chance of a cometary collision with Earth.

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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

Let Tony introduce you to the universe’s most powerful explosion since the Big Bang: Gamma Ray Bursts!

About Our Guest

James Bauer is Astronomer at the University of Maryland. He is the Deputy Principal Investigator for the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) Mission. Dr. Bauer was the first to quantify seasonal surface changes on Triton, one of Neptune’s moons. He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and is Honorary Officer of NASA’s First Planetary Defense Squadron. The asteroid 16232 Chijagerbs is named after him and his wife.

Links

Big, Dangerous Comets Are More Common Than Previously Thought (space.com)

James Bauer NASA JPL Webpage

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 129: Building on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, with Danny Steeghs

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

Feature Guest: Danny Steeghs

Gravitational wave astronomy was born less than 2 years ago when scientists made the first ever detection of gravitational waves coming from the merger of two distant massive black holes.

To build on the emergence of this revolutionary new science, a new project has just come online. Meet the Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer, or GOTO. This array of intelligent autonomous telescopes is now standing by and at the first sign of gravitational waves they are ready to spring into action, to zero in on some of the most cataclysmic events in our universe.

Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by GOTO Principal Investigator Dr. Danny Steeghs.

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

For many people a perfect day would involve cruising upon calm and beautiful seas. As Dave explains, that could actually happen – on Titan! Then Tony shares the discovery of an exciting surprise left over from a supernova explosion.  

About Our Guest

Danny Steeghs is an astrophysicist within the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick. He is the Principal Investigator for the University of Warwick in a collaborative project known as GOTO, or Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer. He is also involved in a survey of the Kepler field and a survey of the Northern Milky Way. An observational astronomer, his interests include the formation and evolution of interacting binary stars and gravitational wave astrophysics.

Links

The Gravitational-Wave Optical Transient Observer (project website)

Danny Steeghs’ 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 128: A Shocking Theory About the Multiverse, with Dan Falk

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

Feature Guest: Dan Falk

What if everything we see in our universe is not all that there is. The concept of the multiverse has captured the imagination of both physicists and cosmologists, but for very different reasons. According to the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every quantum event triggers the creation of new parallel universes. Meanwhile many cosmologists studying the beginning of the universe have come to believe that inflation is an eternal process forever creating new universes.

The quantum mechanical wave-function and cosmological inflation seem worlds apart. But what if these two dramatically different models were pointing to one and the same multiverse? In this second of our two part conversation, science reporter Dan Falk rejoins us here at The Star Spot to discuss this startling possibility.

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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

Today Tony and Dave treat us to a special black hole double bill. First up, black holes were recently tested to determine if they really are every bit as exotic as we thought. And then, what happens to the supermassive black hole at the centres of merging galaxies?

About Our Guest

Dan Falk is an award winning science journalist and broadcaster. He’s been published very broadly, including in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Cosmos magazine, and New Scientist, and has contributed to CBC and TV Ontario science programming. Dan Falk is also the author of three books, including In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension, Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything, and The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. He co-hosts the BookLab podcast

Links

Dan’s website

The Multiple Multiverses May Be One And the Same (Nautilus)

The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes–and Its Implications (author: David Deutsch)

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 127: When Day Becomes Night, with Dan Falk

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

Feature Guest: Dan Falk

They once portended the collapse of civilization. Well the solar eclipse visiting North America this summer probably won’t spell the end of days. But as our guest Dan Falk will explain astronomers and lay people alike are in for an unforgettable experience on August 21st, when day literally turns to night.

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

Data dump? Oh yes just another 200 or so alien worlds discovered by Kepler.

About Our Guest

Dan Falk is an award winning science journalist and broadcaster. He’s been published very broadly, including in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Cosmos magazine, and New Scientist, and has contributed to CBC and TV Ontario science programming. Dan Falk is also the author of three books, including In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension, Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything, and The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. He co-hosts the BookLab podcast

Links

Dan’s website

Preparing for the August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (nasa.gov)

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely) (Space.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 126: SpaceX: A New Paradigm for Space Exploration, with Chris Prophet

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

Feature Guest: Chris Prophet

SpaceX has blasted into the aerospace world, seemingly overnight, bringing with it a new low cost model for accessing space. But this paradigm shifting company has set its sights much higher, with a promise to send humans to Mars, to live, colonize and even terraform the red planet. And behind it all stands Elon Musk. The visionary futurist claims he will not stop until he’s broken through the government inertia and overwhelming technological challenge in his bid to revolutionize space exploration as we know it. Now a new book is providing a behind the scenes look at SpaceX and today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Chris Prophet, the author of “SpaceX: From the Ground Up.”

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

Rogue planets are weird enough. But can they actually harbour their own protoplanetary disks? Tony reports.

About Our Guest

Chris Prophet is a writer of science and science fiction, including the book New Space: Our Shiny Future, and the science fiction series Euphoria. He is trained as an engineer.

Links

Amazon – SpaceX From The Ground Up (Kindle Edition)

Amazon – NEW SPACE: Our Shiny Future (Kindle Edition)

Chris Prophet at Techaeris Blog

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 125: Galaxies at the Frontier of our Universe, with Dan Coe

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

Feature Guest: Dan Coe

Through a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, scientists are now able to probe galaxies 10 to 100 times fainter than any previously studied. These remarkable discoveries are offering insight into just how galaxies first came into being. How does studying the emergence of galaxies way back in time allow us to crack the mystery of dark matter in today’s universe? That’s what I’ll ask Dan Coe who joins us 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

Can we probe dark matter by measuring cosmic rays? Dave reports. Then Tony explains how Breakthrough Starshot might have developed a test of whether life can be transferred between the stars.

About Our Guest

Dr. Dan Coe is an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute. He received his PhD in Astronomy from Johns Hopkins University and performed postdoctoral work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He contributes to the blog Science 2.0. He is a member of a research team responsible for studying the most distant galaxies in 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 124: The Best Candidate for Life, with Jason Dittmann

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

Feature Guest: Jason Dittmann

Just last month, April 2017, astronomers announced the discovery of an extrasolar planet that has the best shot at harbouring life outside our solar system. To find out what makes LHS 1140b so special and what steps are planned to learn more about this potential alien home, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team’s leader Dr. Jason Dittmann.

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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

The famous nearby star Epsilon Eridani harbours a solar system eerily similar to ours, explains Dave. Then Tony shares what we’re learning from the clearest image yet taken of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud.

About Our Guest

Jason Dittmann is Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT where he is working with a team led by world famous planetary scientist Sara Seager. Dittmann holds one of the four inaugural 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellowships, which are provided to scientists studying theoretical, observational, and experimental research in planetary astronomy. Dittmann received his PhD from Harvard University and his research interests are in exoplanets and low-mass stars

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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 123: Dark Matter Bridging the Galaxies, with Michael Hudson

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

Feature Guest: Michael Hudson

If you’re like most people you probably think of galaxies as islands of stars, separate and isolated cities of our universe. But it turns out these cities are connected through a vast web of highways known as dark matter bridges. To help us understand the origin and role of this cosmic scaffolding today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Michael Hudson.

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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

Astronomers have discovered a pulsar that’s coming back from near death, explains Dave. And could the technology for astronaut hibernation be closer than you think? Tony reports.

About Our Guest

Michael Hudson is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Waterloo. His team was the first to capture images of dark matter bridges using a technique called weak gravitational lensing. Hudson holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge. He received an Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo and  a Premier’s Research Excellence Award.

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 122: What if the Sun had a Sibling?, with Quinn Konopacky

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

Feature Guest: Quinn Konopacky

The 14th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontiers symposium was hosted on January 27th, 2017 by the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto. This year’s unique theme was “What Ifs: Is the Impossible, Possible?”! In this special three episode series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the event’s keynote speakers as we explore three provocative questions at the cutting edge of astronomy.

How would things be different if our sun wasn’t an only child? This isn’t a simple exercise in academic speculation for the majority of stars like our sun actually do come with at least one other companion orbiting them. In this third and final segment of our “what if?” series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Quinn Konopacky to find out just what would have happened if we gave our sun the sibling it never had, and by implication, what the prospects are for life among the majority of sun-like stars in our galaxy.

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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

The Star Spot is expressing its appreciation to Anuj Rastogi for his invaluable contributions to our show. After producing news for the last three years, Anuj is leaving our team to pursue other opportunities.

In his final broadcast he offers us three important news updates. Are fast radio bursts signs of alien intelligence in far off galaxies? What are the implications of electric sand on Titan? And has Mars enjoyed a longer period of volcanic activity than even our own Earth?

Finally in other news, Dave announces the first detection of an atmosphere around a lower mass extrasolar planet.

About Our Guest

Dr. Quinn Konopacky is Assistant Professor at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. She received her PhD from UCLA and performed postdoctoral research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics. Her work focuses on the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems.

Links

Read more about Professor Konopacky’s previous work:

Earthlike planet just discovered 4.2 light years away

Alien Planet’s Atmosphere –Best ‘Snapshot’ Ever Obtained

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