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Astronomy Behind the Headlines: A Podcast for Informal Science Educators

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

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Astronomy Behind the Headlines: A Podcast for Informal Science Educators
Astronomy Behind the Headlines: A Podcast for Informal Science Educators

Astronomy Behind the Headlines: A Podcast for Informal Science Educators

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

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About Us

A look behind the latest headlines in astronomy and space science from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Latest Episodes

Episode 12: Science from the Moon

"What does the Moon mean to you?" is the theme for this year's International Observe the Moon Night on October 8, 2011. Our neighbor in space has always fascinated us, both culturally and scientifically. Starting with the first human steps in 1969, six of 11 Apollo missions landed astronauts on the Moon to do a variety of science experiments, which continue today. For example, the Apollo lunar laser ranging experiment still exists, with scientists aiming lasers at reflectors on the Moon to measure its distance from Earth. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO, has sent back highly detailed images showing the locations of those first missions and the science lab equipment that was so much a part of humanity's first steps off our home planet. Scientists continue to explore the Moon, to understand its physical structure, and they plan to use it for future research in astrophysics and cosmology. In this episode of Astronomy Behind the Headlines, Dr. Jack Burns, of the University of Colo...

-1 s2011 SEP 22
Comments
Episode 12: Science from the Moon

Episode 11: The Active Sun

This summer, several monster outbursts have erupted from the Sun. They released clouds of plasma that occupy a volume of space hundreds of times bigger than Earth. These blasts -- called coronal mass ejections -- emanate from active sunspot regions. If Earth were in their path, these huge eruptions could have had devastating effects on our power and communications systems, and on our satellites. Our planet dodged the danger, but the outbursts are a reminder we live with a variable star that can get pretty active from time to time. We are now headed into a time of increased solar activity. Scientists now have more capability to study and monitor activity on the Sun, including satellites such as STEREO and the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These space-based solar observatories are helping to revolutionize our understanding of our nearest star, and hopefully anticipate and mitigate the influence it has on our planet -- and our technology. With guest Dr. Phillip J. Erickson, MIT Haystack ...

-1 s2011 AUG 26
Comments
Episode 11: The Active Sun

Episode 10: Galaxies in the Early Universe

The first stars and galaxies began forming several hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers are now able to probe back almost that far – to study the light from these distant objects. Among their major tools of exploration are the images and data in large surveys taken using the Hubble Space Telescope. The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will be able to look back even farther in time to see the births of those first stars and the creation of the earliest galaxies. In this episode, we explore the galaxies in the early universe and find out how astronomers know what they know about these very distant objects. With guest Dr. Rogier Windhorst, Arizona State University.

-1 s2011 AUG 10
Comments
Episode 10: Galaxies in the Early Universe

Episode 9: Cosmic Chemistry

Astrobiology concerns itself with life in the universe. Astrobiologists and planetary scientists want to know if other planets could support life -- and what the evidence for such life might be. By delving back into cosmic time they can understand how the elements for life originated and how they are distributed throughout the cosmos, creating the chemical origins for life. With guest Dr. David Grinspoon, Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

-1 s2010 OCT 20
Comments
Episode 9: Cosmic Chemistry

Episode 8, Part 2: Supernovae

From time to time "guest stars" have appeared in the sky, at times shining bright enough to see during the daytime. We now know the "guest stars" are gigantic stellar explosions called supernovae. A supernova is the final explosion of a giant star coming to the end of its life. In a desire to understand supernovae, astronomers seek them out, hoping to learn more about how the universe is seeded with the raw materials needed for new stars, planets, and ultimately life. In the second part of this special two-part edition of Astronomy Behind the Headlines we talk with Dr. Alex Filippenko about some current research and findings about supernovae.

-1 s2010 SEP 14
Comments
Episode 8, Part 2: Supernovae

Episode 8, Part 1: Supernovae

From time to time "guest stars" have appeared in the sky, at times shining bright enough to see during the daytime. We now know the "guest stars" are gigantic stellar explosions called supernovae. A supernova is the final explosion of a giant star coming to the end of its life. In a desire to understand supernovae, astronomers seek them out, hoping to learn more about how the universe is seeded with the raw materials needed for new stars, planets, and ultimately life. In the first part of this special two-part edition of Astronomy Behind the Headlines we talk with Dr. Alex Filippenko about some current research and findings about supernovae.

-1 s2010 SEP 14
Comments
Episode 8, Part 1: Supernovae

Episode 7: Gamma-Ray Bursts

First detected in 1967 by satellites searching for the signatures of nuclear weapon detonations in space, gamma ray bursts, or GRBs, are extraordinarily luminous events visible in only the highest energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since then, scientists have speculated about the origin of these distant and highly energetic events. Recent observations have provided enough information for astronomers to figure out what some of the GRBs are. With guest Dr. Dale Frail from National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

-1 s2010 JUL 7
Comments
Episode 7: Gamma-Ray Bursts

Episode 6: Kepler and the Sun-Like Stars

Over the past decade and a half, astronomers have used both ground-based and space-based telescopes to discover more than 400 "extrasolar" planets. The Kepler space-based mission uses a technique called transit photometry to search for these planets. In January 2010 the Kepler mission team announced the discovery of five new planets. Four of them are massive worlds similar in size to Jupiter; the fifth is smaller, more like Neptune or Uranus. The ultimate goal of the Kepler mission is to search out the existence of Earth-like planets. With guest Dr. Natalie Batalha from San Jose State University.

-1 s2010 APR 1
Comments
Episode 6: Kepler and the Sun-Like Stars

Episode 5: Measuring the Black Hole

The Milky Way Galaxy has a black hole at its heart -- an object called Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star). We can’t see it visually, but radio astronomers can easily spot it. A group led by Dr. Shep Doeleman at MIT’s Haystack Observatory made a startling measurement of the accretion disk around Sagittarius A*. In this edition of Astronomy Behind the Headlines we talked with Dr. Doeleman about his team’s discovery.

-1 s2010 JAN 22
Comments
Episode 5: Measuring the Black Hole

Episode 4: Impact on Jupiter

On July 19, 2009, Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley spotted a dark-colored scar high in the clouds over Jupiter’s southern polar region. It looked like the scars left behind by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 when its shattered fragments crashed into Jupiter in the summer of 1994. Dr. Heidi B. Hammel is one of the astronomers who have studied the aftermath of this latest collision to learn about how Jupiter’s atmosphere responds to such collisions. In this episode, Dr. Hammel discusses what her team learned from their observations of the collision site using Hubble, Gemini, and Keck cameras.

6 MIN2009 NOV 5
Comments
Episode 4: Impact on Jupiter

Latest Episodes

Episode 12: Science from the Moon

"What does the Moon mean to you?" is the theme for this year's International Observe the Moon Night on October 8, 2011. Our neighbor in space has always fascinated us, both culturally and scientifically. Starting with the first human steps in 1969, six of 11 Apollo missions landed astronauts on the Moon to do a variety of science experiments, which continue today. For example, the Apollo lunar laser ranging experiment still exists, with scientists aiming lasers at reflectors on the Moon to measure its distance from Earth. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO, has sent back highly detailed images showing the locations of those first missions and the science lab equipment that was so much a part of humanity's first steps off our home planet. Scientists continue to explore the Moon, to understand its physical structure, and they plan to use it for future research in astrophysics and cosmology. In this episode of Astronomy Behind the Headlines, Dr. Jack Burns, of the University of Colo...

-1 s2011 SEP 22
Comments
Episode 12: Science from the Moon

Episode 11: The Active Sun

This summer, several monster outbursts have erupted from the Sun. They released clouds of plasma that occupy a volume of space hundreds of times bigger than Earth. These blasts -- called coronal mass ejections -- emanate from active sunspot regions. If Earth were in their path, these huge eruptions could have had devastating effects on our power and communications systems, and on our satellites. Our planet dodged the danger, but the outbursts are a reminder we live with a variable star that can get pretty active from time to time. We are now headed into a time of increased solar activity. Scientists now have more capability to study and monitor activity on the Sun, including satellites such as STEREO and the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These space-based solar observatories are helping to revolutionize our understanding of our nearest star, and hopefully anticipate and mitigate the influence it has on our planet -- and our technology. With guest Dr. Phillip J. Erickson, MIT Haystack ...

-1 s2011 AUG 26
Comments
Episode 11: The Active Sun

Episode 10: Galaxies in the Early Universe

The first stars and galaxies began forming several hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers are now able to probe back almost that far – to study the light from these distant objects. Among their major tools of exploration are the images and data in large surveys taken using the Hubble Space Telescope. The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will be able to look back even farther in time to see the births of those first stars and the creation of the earliest galaxies. In this episode, we explore the galaxies in the early universe and find out how astronomers know what they know about these very distant objects. With guest Dr. Rogier Windhorst, Arizona State University.

-1 s2011 AUG 10
Comments
Episode 10: Galaxies in the Early Universe

Episode 9: Cosmic Chemistry

Astrobiology concerns itself with life in the universe. Astrobiologists and planetary scientists want to know if other planets could support life -- and what the evidence for such life might be. By delving back into cosmic time they can understand how the elements for life originated and how they are distributed throughout the cosmos, creating the chemical origins for life. With guest Dr. David Grinspoon, Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

-1 s2010 OCT 20
Comments
Episode 9: Cosmic Chemistry

Episode 8, Part 2: Supernovae

From time to time "guest stars" have appeared in the sky, at times shining bright enough to see during the daytime. We now know the "guest stars" are gigantic stellar explosions called supernovae. A supernova is the final explosion of a giant star coming to the end of its life. In a desire to understand supernovae, astronomers seek them out, hoping to learn more about how the universe is seeded with the raw materials needed for new stars, planets, and ultimately life. In the second part of this special two-part edition of Astronomy Behind the Headlines we talk with Dr. Alex Filippenko about some current research and findings about supernovae.

-1 s2010 SEP 14
Comments
Episode 8, Part 2: Supernovae

Episode 8, Part 1: Supernovae

From time to time "guest stars" have appeared in the sky, at times shining bright enough to see during the daytime. We now know the "guest stars" are gigantic stellar explosions called supernovae. A supernova is the final explosion of a giant star coming to the end of its life. In a desire to understand supernovae, astronomers seek them out, hoping to learn more about how the universe is seeded with the raw materials needed for new stars, planets, and ultimately life. In the first part of this special two-part edition of Astronomy Behind the Headlines we talk with Dr. Alex Filippenko about some current research and findings about supernovae.

-1 s2010 SEP 14
Comments
Episode 8, Part 1: Supernovae

Episode 7: Gamma-Ray Bursts

First detected in 1967 by satellites searching for the signatures of nuclear weapon detonations in space, gamma ray bursts, or GRBs, are extraordinarily luminous events visible in only the highest energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since then, scientists have speculated about the origin of these distant and highly energetic events. Recent observations have provided enough information for astronomers to figure out what some of the GRBs are. With guest Dr. Dale Frail from National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

-1 s2010 JUL 7
Comments
Episode 7: Gamma-Ray Bursts

Episode 6: Kepler and the Sun-Like Stars

Over the past decade and a half, astronomers have used both ground-based and space-based telescopes to discover more than 400 "extrasolar" planets. The Kepler space-based mission uses a technique called transit photometry to search for these planets. In January 2010 the Kepler mission team announced the discovery of five new planets. Four of them are massive worlds similar in size to Jupiter; the fifth is smaller, more like Neptune or Uranus. The ultimate goal of the Kepler mission is to search out the existence of Earth-like planets. With guest Dr. Natalie Batalha from San Jose State University.

-1 s2010 APR 1
Comments
Episode 6: Kepler and the Sun-Like Stars

Episode 5: Measuring the Black Hole

The Milky Way Galaxy has a black hole at its heart -- an object called Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star). We can’t see it visually, but radio astronomers can easily spot it. A group led by Dr. Shep Doeleman at MIT’s Haystack Observatory made a startling measurement of the accretion disk around Sagittarius A*. In this edition of Astronomy Behind the Headlines we talked with Dr. Doeleman about his team’s discovery.

-1 s2010 JAN 22
Comments
Episode 5: Measuring the Black Hole

Episode 4: Impact on Jupiter

On July 19, 2009, Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley spotted a dark-colored scar high in the clouds over Jupiter’s southern polar region. It looked like the scars left behind by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 when its shattered fragments crashed into Jupiter in the summer of 1994. Dr. Heidi B. Hammel is one of the astronomers who have studied the aftermath of this latest collision to learn about how Jupiter’s atmosphere responds to such collisions. In this episode, Dr. Hammel discusses what her team learned from their observations of the collision site using Hubble, Gemini, and Keck cameras.

6 MIN2009 NOV 5
Comments
Episode 4: Impact on Jupiter