Episode 49: Enduring Mysteries of the Early Universe, with Mark Halpern

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

Feature Guest: Mark Halpern

mark1

The early universe is a place of mystery and paradox. But the one thing we are sure of is that to understand our far future we must look to our ancient origins. To help us make some progress today Mark Halpern joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot.

The two focuse on the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize which was awarded to Halpern’s team for work with the NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe which used sound ripples from the earliest moments of creation to come up with key findings:

– determining the universe’s age with better precision than ever before, at 13.8 billion years (while still unresolved is the paradox that quantum mechanics and gravity suggest the universe should live no longer than a single second).

– assigning ratios to the constituents of the universe: ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy

– studying the overall shape and geometry of the univers

– finding evidence of inflation, a theory that explains additional paradoxes of the early universe

The two then discuss CHIME, a new Canadian mission studying left over ripples from the big bang and evidence of the recent expanstion history of the universe

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Current in Space

We’re all worried about meteor collision induced apocalypse scenarios, but now Benjamin reminds us that magnetic storms, coronal mass ejections, and other severe solar activity could also prove catastrophic. And does Saturn’s moon Titan habour the most eerily calm lakes – and lamest surfing conditions – in the solar system? Then Anuj follows up with more on the sun and the special qualities of our star’s much bigger cousins, the yellow hypergiants

About our Guest

Mark Halpern is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. His focus is experimental cosmology of the early universe, specifically the cosmic microwave background and the history of early galaxy and star formation. He is involved in high redshift research with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and BLAST, a submillimeter telescope that  hangs from a high altitude balloon.

Links

University of British Columbia faculty page

Balloon Borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST)

Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME)

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

Episode 48: Science and Technology at the Cutting Edge of Exoplanet Research, with Olivier Guyon

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

Feature Guest: Olivier Guyon

Oliver GuyonSince he was young his driving passion has been a single mystery: are we alone in the universe? Astronomer Olivier Guyon, who has now been awarded a half a million dollars MacArthur genius grant to answer that question, joins Justin Trottier at The Star spot.

Guyon explains why he’s so optimistic he pegs habitable planets at well over 1 in 100 stars. Then the two discuss the cutting edge of discovery, from merely detecting planets to incoming data on oceans, atmospheres and in the not too distant future even biosigns.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Current in Space

Benjamin reports on the re-emergence of a debate about the plausibility of microbes in Martian meteorities. Plus, exactly how many world are there out there?…

About our Guest

Olivier Guyon is an astronomer who works at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii and at the University of Arizona. Astronomy has been his life for a long time: an amateur astronomer at age 10, then a do it himself type building his own telescopes in the garage, and now at the cutting edge, working with theorists and engineers to design the most advanced equipment to detect extrasolar planets and possibly signs of habitation.

Links

Innovative astronomer Olivier Guyon named a 2012 MacArthur ‘genius’ fellow

Turning Point: Olivier Guyon

TED Talk

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

Episode 45: Satellite Communication: The Technological Foundation of a Nation, with Peter Garland

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

Feature Guest: Peter Garland

garlandOn today’s episode of The Star Spot we continue our highlights of the 2013 Canadian Space Summit. Justin Trottier is joined by Peter Garland, Vice President of Advanced Programs with MDA. The two discuss how satellite communication became the technological foundation that brought together a nation. They document the important milestones in communication innovations and the role they continue to play in connecting geographically expansive regions in our world. Garland concludes with stories of new and unique applications of satellite communications in fields ranging from telehealth, tele-education and even the criminal justice system.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Current in Space

Denise shares an exciting status report on our search to identify Dark Matter. And Justin discusses how new data from the Gaia-ESO project could answer long standing questions about the evolution of our galaxy.

About Peter Garland

Peter Garland is Vice President of Advanced Programs in the MDA Satellite Systems Division in Montreal, Canada. He has been involved at the leading edge of Satellite Communications for over thirty years. In the early nineties he led the Canadian Advanced Satcom team that performed early work on Ka Band systems and has subsequently led key Broadband developments, including the introduction of standard waveforms, working closely with both the Canadian and European Space Agencies. In his current work he is focused on applications that integrate new technologies in both the space and ground segments, particularly in the broadband mobile area.

Links

Peter Garland interview: Hosted Payloads

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA Corporation)

Canadian Space Society

How to Listen to the Show

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD
Subscribe for free with itunes
Use feedburner in your browser

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

 

Episode 43: A Brief Tour of Home, with Jim Bell

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

Feature Guest: Jim Bell

Jim_BellDoes our solar system really have 35 or even 40 planets? Is Mars merely the moon with an atmosphere or is it actually an ancient Earth? From the red planet to the jovian moons and then out to Pluto, destination for the New Horizons space mission, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Jim Bell for a brief tour of our own special home, the solar system.

Jim Bell and Justin Trottier discuss early discoveries from the Curiosity rover showing evidence of clays that could only be formed in fresh water. And Professor Bell responds to Mars One, an audacious plan to send – and document via reality TV – a group of humans on a one way trip to Mars.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Current in Space

Following up on today’s theme of our very own solar system, Anuj presents new discoveries on our beloved sun and Denise shares our growing understanding of the water and ice word of Europa.

About Jim Bell

Jim Bell is an astronomer and planetary scientist at the school of earth and space exploration at Arizona State University. His studies focus on many of the bodies of the solar system, including the planets, especially Mars, as well as asteroids, comets, and a variety of moons such as tantalizing Europa. He’s worked on several NASA space exploration missions, including the Mars Science Laboratory, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous. He is President of the Planetary Society.

Links

Introduction to Mars – Jim Bell (Video)
Jim Bell – Planetary Society Page
A Turning Point at Mars (Huffington Post)

How to Listen to the Show

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

Episode 37: Organized Activism for Space Exploration, with Wayne Ellis

Feature Guest: Wayne Ellis

The weekend of November 14 to 16 in Ottawa the Canadian Space Society will be hosting their annual space summit, with keynote speakers including the President of the Canadian Space Agency, the associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate at NASA, and leading members of the aerospace industry, the Ministry of Defense, and the world of space journalism. The earlybird pricing for the summit ends september 30 so visit www.css.ca as soon as possible for information.

The theme of the summit this year is Canada’s space economy. Wayne Ellis, President of the Canadian Space Society, joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to argue that when we think of the space economy of any nation, we should be thinking well beyond just the business of space.  Making the general argument for why we should support space exploration is the primary mandate of the world’s many non-profit space advocacy organizations. Wayne explains what drives space exploration enthusiasts and how organized advocacy groups fit into a national and even international space program.

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Current in Space

In today’s Current in Space, Victoria reports on how one private space company is aiming to get people into space by reducing costs through spacesuits constructed from items purchased at local hardware stores. And from sources of destruction to the seeds of life, Benjamin tells us why comets are now seen as the potential origin of life’s building blocks.

About Wayne Ellis

Wayne Ellis is chief consultant for aerospace and defence analysis at AppSpace Solutions Inc. and served as space instructor at the canadian forces school of aerospace studies. Wayne specializes in canadian space and defense activities and currently serves as President of the Canadian Space Society.

Links

Wayne Ellis on LinkedIn

AppSpace Solutions

Canadian Space Society

How to Listen to the Show

 

Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser.
* Listen to Astronomy.fm every other Monday at 12:15am, 4:15am, 8:15am, 12:15pm, 4:15pm, and 8:15pm

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

New Release Schedule

The Star Spot would like to announce that we have officially changed our release schedule. New episodes of the The Star Spot will be made available alternating Sundays at 7pm, starting this Sunday with guest Martin Laforest of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

– The Star Spot Team

Want to join The Star Spot team? We’re currently recruiting a graphic designer as well as folks with experience in sponsorship and fund raising. Contact starspotpodcast@gmail.com.

Episode 31: Branding the Space Industry in the 21st Century, with Laila Zichmanis

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

Feature Guest: Laila Zichmanis

Laila ZichmanisThe Google Lunar X Prize. The NASA Space Apps Challenge. And Chris Hadfield nearing 1 million twitter followers. As the face of space exploration changes, government space agencies, commercial and non-profit organizations, and even the occasional astronaut are all seeking to market to the public both themselves and the space industry they represent. Today I’m joined at the star spot by Laila Zichmanis, branding authority now mixing her marketing credentials with a lifelong passion for astronomy and space.

Current in Space

After four years peering into the depths of the universe, the European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory mission came to an end. And “What’s Up in Space?”: The Star Spot on location covers this annual astronomy event for Astronuts.

About Laila Zichmanis

Laila Zichmanis is the CEO of Lumena, a marketing consulting company with a focus on brand launch and invigoration. She is a 20 year veteran in brand management, which she describes as the science of marketing, something we’ll get into. A graduate from the York University Schulich School of Business, Zichmanis was Senior Vice President of Marketing at Shoppers Drug Mart, President of the Petroleum Divisions at Canadian Tire Corporation, and Brand Manager at Procter and Gamble.

Recently Zichmanis has turned her focus to her lifelong passion for astronomy and space exploration, acting as a consultant to a variety of bodies focusing on both public education and commercial support for entrepreneurs.

Links

Lumena

The Commercial Space Blog: Cultivating Clients Who’ll Pay for Space Exploration

Presentation: Brand Management: How the Science of Marketing can Impact the Business of Space

What’s Up in Space? 

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com

How to hear this show:

* Subscribe for free with itunes
* Use feedburner in your browser.
* Listen to Astronomy.fm every other Monday at 12:15am, 4:15am, 8:15am, 12:15pm, 4:15pm, and 8:15pm

LISTEN NOW OR DOWNLOAD

Photo’s from The Star Spot’s Yuri’s Night 2013!

The Torontoist  has provided coverage of Yuri’s Night, including a run down of all the astronomy and space public education events and activities offered in Toronto

Read it here: In Honour of the First Cosmonaut, a Toronto-Centric Celebration of Spaceflight

IMG_9129 Lego Time
IMG_9085
IMG_9088
IMG_4597
IMG_9104 Tower of Babel replica or space elevator prototype?
IMG_8974
IMG_9030 Lego Man is a fan of The Star Spot
IMG_8943 The Star Spot’s high school student volunteers Tao Lu and Abeyan Thirunavukkarasu 
IMG_4602 Western University planetary science podcast host Raymond Francis 
IMG_8898The Landing Party’s Jonathan Moneta
IMG_4585
IMG_4587
IMG_4564Death from above (hopefully not!) The Star Spot’s Host Justin Trottier and Promotions/Marketing Director Natalie Morcos, from a
IMG_4576Science author Dan Falk, interviewed at The Star Spot on Episode 2: Life, the Universe and Everything, with Dan Falk
IMG_4518

Join The Star Spot at Yuri’s Night in Toronto!

220px-YurisNight_300x250Join The Star Spot at Yuri’s Night Toronto!

On Friday, April 12, The Star Spot is pleased to be co-hosting Yuri’s Night in Toronto. Named in honour of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to launch into space, Yuri’s Night is an international celebration of space exploration and human achievement. Our Toronto event will simultaneously be the celebration of our show’s first year anniversary. Come out to Hotel Ocho in downtown Toronto for all ages event featuring live music, 1960s themed cocktails, and a lego spaceship building contest with all star judges. Plus meet some familiar voices as we’ll be joined by past guests of The Star Spot Dan Falk, John Percy, today’s guest Chris Matzner, and of course members of our show’s production team. And as a special treat, the directors from the upcoming documentary Chasing Atlantis will present unreleased footage of their exploration into the space shuttle program.

Visit the event website at http://yurisnight.ca/

Special First Year Anniversary Edition of The Star Spot featuring NASA Astrobiologist Chris McKay will be available this Friday

McKayWe’ll be posting a special 25th episode of The Star Spot, celebrating the end of our first year bringing you the latest and brightest in the fields of astronomy and space exploration, this Friday, March 15th.

Look out for an exciting interview with NASA’s preeminent astrobiologist, Dr. Chris McKay, on all things Mars: the possibility of past life, the hunt for current spots of habitability, and the prospects for a human future on the Red Planet.

Plus a behind the scenes look at The Star Spot, highlights of our first year, and a conversation with a familiar voice.