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!

Help us get the word out:

The The Star Spot Podcast is Now on the Radio Dial. Listen @ 1280AM

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:



Video Posted: “Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics”. March 16 in Toronto

Full Event Video Now Available

movingtomarsMoving 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.

Event details

Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics, co-presented by the Astronomy & Space Exploration Society and The Star Spot.

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.

Happy New Year and Thank you to The Star Spot Team


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.

Best regards and Happy New Year!


Special Announcement: The Star Spot on CBC Radio 1


This week you can listen to The Star Spot on the CBC Radio!

Podcast Playlist on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s Radio 1 will be airing a fan favourite:

Episode 82: The First Female Private Space Explorer, with Anousheh Ansari


Listen live on Thursday, December 3rd at 11pm and/or Sunday, December 6th at 2pm

Podcast Playlist features the best in podcasting on CBC airwaves. Each weekly play of Podcast Playlist on CBC reaches over 262,000 new listeners.

To listen online click here to find your local online station

To find your local station on the radio dial click here

Coming later this year! Set your radio to 1280AM and listen to The Star Spot every Tuesday and Sunday at 6PM!

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 now you can still listen us to online at  The Scope at Ryerson. The show airs every Tuesday and Sunday at 6:00PM Eastern Time.  Listen live here

Episode 67: The Accelerating Universe, with Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt

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

Feature Guest: Brian Schmidt

220px-Brian_SchmidtThe 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.


Current in Space

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.


Brian Schmidt Website

Nobel Lecture: The path to measuring the accelerating universe

 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 Tuesday and Sunday 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

Sharing my fascination with the cosmos: The Star Spot partners with Rexdale Summer of Innovation Camp

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.

– Justin



Episode 56: The Art of Astrononomy, with Robin Kingsburgh

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

Feature Guest: Robin Kingsburgh

robinAlbert Einstein once said “After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.” To help us understand the dynamic between the arts and the science of astronomy, today Robin Kingsburgh joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot.


Current in Space

Some like it hot. But what happens when it gets a little too hot? For those who like to work those tans, Benjamin warns you to beware. Scientists have discovered the highest UV index ever, though not near any beaches you’d probably be travelling to this summer.

Dave shares the mystery of the magic island, a structure that appeared and disappeared within a matter of days on the seas of Titan.

And Benjamin on the fascinating field of archaeoastronomy in which we learn about ancient civilizations down here on Earth by studying the sky the ancients would have seen up above.

About our Guest

Robin Kingsburgh received her PhD in astronomy from her studies of stars and planetary nebulae. A renaissance woman, she now teaches in the faculty of arts and sciences at the Ontario College of Art and Design and in the division of natural sciences at york university. She combines her love of art and science by introducing astronomy subjects to artists and through her own work curating exhibits like Occam’s Razor: art, science and aesthethics, currently on public display.


Robin Kingsburgh’s Website

Ontario College of Art and Design Faculty Page

Occam’s Razor: Art, Science and Aesthetics Exhibit

Video: Royal Canadian Institute Lecture
Look for “When Art Meets Science: Broadening Horizons through Interdisciplinary Practice – A Discussion @ Toronto”

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 Tuesday and Sunday 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