Episode 134: Searching for Aliens All-Sky All-the-Time, with Bill Diamond

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

Feature Guest: Bill Diamond

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, is undergoing a revolution. There was once a time when the search for alien signals involved an exhausting and painstaking point by point search of each and every possible location in the sky, one at a time. Now with a new project called Laser SETI we have the first-ever all-sky all-the-time search. And today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by SETI Institute President Bill Diamond to discuss the promise and challenge of SETI’s paradigm-shifting new effort to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.

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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

Goodnight sweet prince. Tony offers a fond farewell to the Cassini mission, which will go down in history as among the most successful of all space missions. Then Maya explains the significance of finding ice in what might be the unlikeliest of places. And finally Dave recounts the discovery of an asteroid that is actually a binary… comet!

About Our Guest

Bill Diamond is President and CEO of the SETI Institute. Prior to joining SETI, he was a technology executive and Silicon Valley veteran, with over 20 years of experience in the photonics and optical communications industry, and a decade in X-ray and semiconductor processing technologies.  He holds a B.A. in physics from Holy Cross College and a masters in business administration from Georgetown University.

Links

Indiegogo Campaign:  Laser SETI: First Ever All-Sky All-the-Time Search

How to Listen to the Show

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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 133: Discovering an Asteroid Family Unchanged Since the Birth of the Solar System, with Marco Delbo

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

Feature Guest: Marco Delbo

The main belt asteroids are among the most ancient of all bodies in the solar system. This summer astronomers announced the discovery of what’s being called a primordial asteroid family. These asteroids are so old that their formation predates the migration of Jupiter, which may have passed through the asteroid belt while travelling to its current location in the solar system. Today the discovery team leader Marco Delbo joins us here at The Star Spot to explain how we can learn about the biggest objects in the solar system by studying some of the smallest.

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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 goes a little apocalyptic when he discovers that a barrage of comets are heading toward the inner solar system… in a little over a million years. Then Maya reports on the exotic and diverse names now officially assigned to Pluto’s recently discovered surface features. Here’s a hint: the underworld is a popular destination on this little world.

About Our Guest

Marco Delbo is an Astronomer with the Observatory of Cote d’Azur and with France’s National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy, located at the University of Nice-Sophia.

Links

Astronomers identify oldest known asteroid family (Gizmodo)

Comets: Exposing the icy interior of 67P (Nature Astronomy)

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 132: Does Titan Harbour the Building Blocks of Life?, with Ravi Desai

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

Feature Guest: Ravi Desai

It was recently reported that Saturn’s moon Titan harbours complex chemistry the likes of which we’ve never before seen in our solar system. On today’s episode of The Star Spot, the leader of the discovery Ravi Desai explains the implication of discovering these building blocks of life on a world that many are now calling the most habitable location beyond Earth.

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

Good news from Tony. The ocean worlds of Europa and Enceladus will be prime targets for the James Webb Space Telescope. Then Dave tells us how we finally mapped the surface of a second star – only to learn how little we know about our own sun’s fate. And finally Maya with the weather report: it’s raining diamonds in the outer solar system!

About Our Guest

Ravi Desai is PhD Candidate in Space Physics at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London. He is a member of the Cassini Science Team and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Links

Saturn’s moon Titan may harbour simple life forms – and reveal how organisms first formed on Earth (theconversation.com)

All about the Cassini mission (Nasa.gov)

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 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

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

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

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 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.

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

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.

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

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