Episode 166: Nanodiamonds are Forever, with Jane Greaves

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

Feature Guest: Jane Greaves

Remember that nursery rhyme, “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky?” Well they were on to something, because it turns out diamonds – albeit nanodiamonds – are ubiquitous across the Milky Way galaxy. So-called diamond dust is even here in our own solar system. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor Jane Greaves, whose team made the discovery that unexpectedly solved a long standing astronomical mystery.

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Current in Space

Simon explains a tantalizing find: 30 binary stars that have somehow been ejected from their home galaxies! Then Amelia and Tony report on a bizarre discovery: a star that’s apparently the merger between two white dwarfs!

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

Jane Greaves is Professor of Astronomer at Cardiff University in Wales. She is the recipient of the 2017 Fred Hoyle Medal from the Institute of Physics of London. In 2008 her team took the first direct image of a proto-brown dwarf candidate. Greaves uses textile art to communicate her passion for astrophysics with the public.
 
Links
 
Diamond Dust Shimmering around Distant Stars:  Nanoscale gemstones source of mysterious cosmic microwave light (Press Release)
 
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 165: Landing on Europa, with Cynthia Phillips

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

Feature Guest: Cynthia Phillips

In the 1970s, the Viking landers performed historic experiments aimed at detecting life in the Martian soil. The results were disappointing although to this day still not entirely conclusive. Now over 40 years later a new lander with a next generation set of life detection equipment is under assessment by NASA. This time the target is not the Red Planet, but the ocean moon Europa, which has emerged as a prime candidate in the search for life in the solar system. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Cynthia Phillips, Deputy Project Scientist for the Europa Lander mission concept, who tantalizes us with dreams of flying through plumes and digging into an icy crust.

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Current in Space

Tony goes into speculation mode and ponders the chances that interstellar interlopers, like the recent Oumuamua, could actually carry life and deposit it on planets, perhaps even Earth. Then Samantha debuts with a report on a new gravitational wave event, one which may be the result of a type of binary system merger we’ve been hoping for. Simon troubles us with the disturbing discovery of holes in the Milky Way that were punched by . . . something. And Amelia and Samantha talk the dazzling first-ever discovery of the so-called first-ever molecule in space.

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

Cynthia Phillips is Planetary Geologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist with the SETI League and she also works at the Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. She received her B.A. in astronomy, astrophysics, and physics at Harvard University, and earned her Ph.D. in planetary science, with a minor in geosciences, from the University of Arizona. Dr. Phillips is the co-author of several books, including The Everything Astronomy Book and Understanding Astronomy.

Links
50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2019 (LPI Contrib. No. 2132)
 
How to Listen to the Show
 
* 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 164: Jupiter’s Ancient Odyssey, with Simona Pirani

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

Feature Guest: Simona Pirani

The planet Jupiter occupies a position today that is far from its home 4.5 billion years ago, a destination resulting from a primeval migration that started way out around the current location of Uranus. Like the god for which it was named, Jupiter enjoys the company of thousands of followers, the so-called trojan asteroids, which have remained by its side all these years, and they now offer a window into the murky origins of the gas giant. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Simona Pirani, lead author of a new study that provides the first ever proof that Jupiter – and perhaps most planets – undertake ancient odysseys around the solar system.

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Current in Space

We have bad news and good news. Simon puts a bit of a damper on things, as the first manned mission to Mars will have to wait longer than initially projected. Then Amelia and Samantha explain a crazy new finding: a pulsar that seems to be speeding through space! And we save the good news for last, as Tony shares new research suggesting that Earth-like planets orbiting red dwarf stars, which have been deduced as unlikely to host life, may actually be habitable after all.

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

Simona Pirani is a doctoral student in the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics at Lund University in Sweden. She is the lead author on a major new study into ancient planetary migrations.

Links
 
How to Listen to the Show
 
* 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 163: The Ring Worlds of Saturn, with Bonnie Buratti

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

Feature Guest: Bonnie Buratti

The spacecraft Cassini went out in spectacular fashion, travelling through Saturn’s rings for a final death dive into the gas giant. Even in its final heroic moments, Cassini was relaying back data shedding light on the bizarre worlds known as the ring moons of Saturn. The origin of these small bodies, which manage to maintain orbits within the turbulent environment of Saturn’s rings, pose a a puzzle for scientists. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Bonnie Buratti of JPL with updates from her recently published study into this young and dynamic system of oddball worlds.

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Current in Space

Dave presents a hole of a breakthrough: The much-anticipated Event Horizon Telescope has at last come online, and has already given us the stunning first-ever image of a black hole. Then Amelia and Samantha explore newly proposed possibilities concerning the habitable zone, the region around a star in which planets could support liquid water on their surfaces. And lastly Tony and Simon offer a back to back analysis of how we might save ourselves from a killer asteroid. Spoiler alert! The movies have it wrong, but we’re not entirely without hope.

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

Bonnie Buratti is a planetary astronomer in the Division of Earth and Space Sciences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she leads the Comets, Asteroids, and Satellites Group.  She has worked on the Voyager program, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, the New Horizons space probe and the Rosetta mission.  She was awarded the NASA exceptional achievement medal for her contributions to the Cassini mission. In 2014 she was elected Chair of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
 
Links
 
How to Listen to the Show
 
* 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 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.
 
Links
 
 
* 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 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.
 
Links
 
 
* 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 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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* 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