For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.
Feature Guest: Michael Landry
The alchemists never did succeed in turning elements into gold and silver, and now we know why. It takes the merger of two neutron stars to produce these and other precious metals. That was the headline just two weeks ago when astronomers reported the first ever detection of gravitational waves from this so-called kilonova event. With this discovery we enter a new era. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Dr. Michael Landry, head of the LIGO observatory at Hanford where this landmark discovery was made, to discuss the dawn of multi-messenger astronomy.
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.
The original of high energy cosmic rays is still a mystery, but now Tony reports that the answer may be more far out – literally – than we imagined. Then Maya has an important lesson for us: don’t judge a book by its cover, or a planetary interior by its surface. And as we gaze up at the moon in our sky, Dave wonders if the moon once had skies of its own.
About Our Guest
Dr. Michael Landry is Detection Lead Scientist at the LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in Hanford, Washington. The LIGO observatories have been responsible for the first ever discoveries of gravitational waves, for which the Nobel prize in physics was recently awarded. Landy is also a physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He earned his PhD at the University of Manitoba in strange quark physics and performed graduate work at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, as well as Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States.
A network of radio telescopes is preparing to make the first portrait of the hungry supermassive black hole beast at the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy. This announcement made a lot of headlines. Read all about it
Then listen to our in depth interview with the Event Horizon Telescope’s Feryal Ozel when she joins us at The Star Spot this Sunday, May 3rd at 9:00 PM EDT for our 100th episode!
The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show.
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 @ The Star Spot @ 1280AM every Sunday 8:00 PM and Tuesday 6:00 PM Eastern Time. Or Listen online live here
Here’s our trailer which was played on CJRU on its first day on the air:
Our host Justin Trottier was interviewed on the program InnerSpace for a segment called Moving To Mars which aired across Canada on Thursday, March 31st at 6PM on Space Channel and MTV Canada. Watch the video on youtube:
“Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics”.Join us for an exciting event Wednesday March 16, 2016, 7-9 PM, University of Toronto
Our affiliate organization, the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, based at the University of Toronto, is co-hosting a panel discussion with The Star Spot entitled “Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics”. We have six amazing panelists with a wide range of backgrounds (i.e., physics and astronomy, philosophy, commerce, environmental science, planetary protection, and political science) to discuss the ethical and logistical aspects of Martian settlement. The Star Spot’s host Justin Trottier will serve as moderator.
Date: Wednesday March 16, 2016
Time: 7-9 PM
Location: The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), G162 Auditorium located at 252 Bloor Street West
Human survival depends on planetary settlement. While Mars is the top candidate for hosting human settlers, significant ethical and logistical controversies surround the prospect of sending humans to the Red Planet. ASX has assembled a team of experts to examine those questions. Is there an ethical way to put humans on Mars? Can we search for Martian life without harming it? Are there any contemporary projects that could feasibly send humans to Mars? If not, when will we be able to launch a Mars mission? And does Canada have a role in the future of space travel and planetary settlement? We have assembled panelists with a wide range of backgrounds to cover the most pressing questions about Martian settlement, a topic with a serious impact on the survival of our species.
As you may have noticed we didn’t post an episode this past Sunday. Our team is taking a couple of weeks off over the holidays. Our next episode will take us into 2016 when it’s released on Sunday, January 9th. Stay tuned as the co-inventor of the electric solar sail tells us how this cutting edge technology promises to revolutionize space exploration.
I want to take a moment to thank The Star Spot team for the outstanding contributions they have each played in the growth of our show. Thank you to our fantastic news team, led by Anuj, Dave and Tony, to our producer Ying, our editor Vince and our outgoing social media director Chris. I also want to thank Jessica for being so supportive and providing a valuable link to the University of Toronto, and of course to Denise for contributing in so many special ways, from co-hosting episodes to writing news to reaching out to new and renowned guests.
I am pleased with how far our show has progressed, as exemplified by the recent broadcast of an episode on CBC that reached some 262,000 people. Next year we can look forward to our show hitting the AM dial when The Scope (Ryerson Radio) arrives on the airwaves, likely in March.
If you’d like to join The Star Spot team and work with us to raise public awareness and appreciation for the wonders of the universe and our place in it, contact us today.
Late 2014 Ryerson Radio was approved for a broadcast license. That means you’ll be able to find us on the radio dial at 1280AM by end of 2015. The Star Spot will provide updates. Check out the press release
For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.
Feature Guest: Brian Schmidt
The 1929 discovery of the expanding universe by Edwin Hubble forever changed our picture of the cosmos and our understanding of our place in the universe. In 1998 we learned that wasn’t the only surprise. That’s when two teams of astronomers announced that the expansion of our universe isn’t slowing down as everyone assumed. Its speeding up. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Distinguished Professor Brian Schmidt who won the Nobel Prize for discovering our accelerating universe.
Anuj describes the Orion spaceflight, the first mission since Apollo eventually aimed at deep space. Then Tony wonders if the stuff of life could seed itself on other worlds following the disocvery that DNA returned from the exposure to the vacuum of space in good working order. And Dave extends the lifetime for Mars’ watery past after learning an ancient lake may have lasted tens of millions of years. Finally Celine explains how “cliff-bots” now being tested in the Moroccan desert may one day dig up deposits left over from such long extinct bodies of water.
About our Guest
Dr. Brian Schmidt is Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory and holder of an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship. In 2011 Schmidt received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his co-discovery that the universe isn’t merely expanding, it’s actually accelerating in its expansion. Shmidt is Fellow of the Royal Society, a recipient of the Pawsey Model, the Dirac Medal and the Shaw Prize in Astronomy.
Over the last couple of years we have had some remarkable accomplishments here at The Star Spot. We’ve interviewed leading scientists, we’ve covered major conferences, we’ve formed meaningful partnerships and we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with our audience directly at many wonderful events.
This month I had another unique opportunity. As a sign of the growth and maturity of our program, The Star Spot came to the attention of the Rexdale Summer of Innovation Camp, a project of the Rexdale Community Hub. The camp is the brainchild of Amra Munawar, a dedicated community activist and a champion of youth education. Working with major sponsors United Way and IBM, she pioneered the idea of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused summer camp for students in the Rexdale neighborhoods. Rexdale is one of Toronto’s priority neighborhoods, having been identified as a vulnerable community due to higher rates of school drop out and other metrics. As with so much the answer is education.
On two separate Monday mornings in August I was invited in to lead a 2-hour session on astronomy and space exploration before groups of grade 9 and 10 students. My goal was to give the students some new Canadian role models to emulate by showcasing actual Canadians contributing to the adventure of space. This was easy to do since I have had the pleasure of interviewing several great Canadian leaders in this area: Paul Delaney, Sarah Seager, Bob McDonald, Ralf Gellert, to name a few. But I also wanted to demonstrate how a youth might consider contributing to astronomy and space exploration through both typical and unusual channels. My co-host Denise Fong’s interview with artist Catherine Hazin made for an ideal example.
My first go at this was a good learning experience. It turned out when attempting to wake students up with the early bird Monday morning presentation, best to lead in with engaging icebreakers. On my second attempt I shortened the interview excerpts, but opened with some good old fashioned space trivia followed by a clip of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s overview of the scale of the universe from the first episode of Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey. That got them hooked.
The experience at Rexdale reminded me of my camp counsellor days, where you aim to be simultaneously entertaining and insightful. Ultimately the goal is less the transfer of particular bits of information and more the desire to leave youngsters with a fascination for a new area of exploration and a thirst for a lifelong adventure of learning and engagement.
The mere report that at least a few of the students were heard considering careers in astronomy and space was enough to tell me I had done my job.