title

The Urban Astronomer Podcast

The Urban Astronomer Podcast

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Followers
7
Plays
The Urban Astronomer Podcast
The Urban Astronomer Podcast

The Urban Astronomer Podcast

The Urban Astronomer Podcast

4
Followers
7
Plays
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About Us

Twice monthly show, explaining science and interviewing South African astronomers. Now with extra Science Explainy Bits!

Latest Episodes

Star colours and what space is like

So here we are, at the final episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast's second season. As per the schedule, it's a Question/Answer episode, and you'll get to hear two new science explainy bits! These questions are a little more deep than the usual, because we wanted to save something special for the end of the season. After this, things are going to be a bit quiet while the good folks at Constellation Online Media get to work lining up fresh guests and writing new scripts for Season Three, which should air in the next few months. Why do stars seem to have the same colours? 2:18 A few months ago when I was polling my twitter followers for questions they'd like to hear answered in this show, I got this very interesting question from a science journalist I've known for a few years. I save it for the very end of this season because I love this question so much. I love it because it challenges the sorts of assumptions that are taught to us as astonomers from the very beginning of our training. She asked why it is that all the stars appear to be the same colour, and yet when I go out myself at night and look up, they quite plainly are not the same colour at all. What's going on? What's it like in space? 14:15 A few months ago, my dear wife and friend Cathrine turned to me and asked "What's it like out there, though?". When I asked her what she was talking about, she said "You know, space. What's it like?" So that's the final science explainy bit question for this season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. What is it like out there, in the depths of space?

32 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Star colours and what space is like

Interview with Nicole Thomas

In this episode, we interview Nicole Thomas, a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape with an interest in the evolution of galaxies, and the super-massive black holes that lie within. We recorded this conversation only a week ago, and I really enjoyed speaking to her. I found her childhood interest in how the universe worked very relatable, and especially her need to understand what's going on underneath it all. Sadly, this is the final interview with a real astronomer of this season of the Urban Astronomer podcast, but I'm especially happy with this one so I hope you'll enjoy it. Nicole Thomas Nicole is a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape, and the Square Kilometer Array. She recently completed a stint at the department of Astrophysics as Oxford university, thanks to the UK-SA Newton Exchange Fund Links * Nicole on Twitter* Astro Molo Mhlaba * Cosmic Soundscapes - a website containing audio recordings derived by NASA scientists, from radio signals detected...

36 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Interview with Nicole Thomas

Guns in Space and Why Venus is so Hot

I love these podcast episodes where I get to give you a double dose of science explainy bits! In this episode, the two questions I answer were both asked by people who've previously been featured the Urban Astronomer. Kerneels Mulder wanted to know what happens when a space ship fires a gun backwards. Sibusiso Biyela wanted to know why Venus is so incredibly hot. If you have questions of your own that you'd like me to answer, why not mail them to me at mailto:podcast@urban-astronomer.com What happens when you fire a gun backwards in space? 1:33 Kerneels Mulder had a friend back in 2013 who was developing a video game which involved space combat. He wanted to get the physics right, so he asked what would happen if a moving spaceship fired its guns backwards. I originally answered this question in an article on this website, but it's such a fun topic that I thought it would be worth revisiting. Why is Venus so Hot? 15:48 Sibusiso Biyela wants to know why Venus has such a high temperat...

26 MINNOV 7
Comments
Guns in Space and Why Venus is so Hot

Interview with Dr Tana Joseph

This is episode 9 of the 2nd season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, featuring an interview with Dr Tana Joseph. It's been an interesting two weeks since the last episode - I've settled further into my new home and adjusted from rural to suburban life. What I gained in access to basic utilities and saving several hours off my commute has been paid for with a loss of the sky - not to light pollution, but to a canopy of trees shading the entire property! Regular listeners would be expecting this episode to feature Nicole Thomas. Unfortunately, for the second time this season, my recordings of the interview that we made months ago, are unusable. I made the recording within Skype and downloaded it within the 30 day period. But when I tried to import it into this episode, I found that it was an empty file. Now I've been a loyal user of Skype for over a decade, but it just isn't good enough for me anymore. All my serious technical problems with interviews have been Skype related. In futur...

38 MINOCT 22
Comments
Interview with Dr Tana Joseph

Why did I defend the geocentric model?

In this eighth episode of the second season, I defend my defense of the Ptolemaic geocentric system of crystal spheres! I hadn't even realized till I started recording that this is our 50th ever episode. I really should be so blown away that I've kept things going this long, but I'm not, somehow? Perhaps it's just become a habit, and I stopped noticing milestones! But anyway, 50 episodes, I think that's pretty amazing and I'm very proud to have made it this far. I'd like to thank every one of you for sticking with me for this long, and I'd also like to ask you to please let me know what you'd like me to do for the next fifty episodes! Why I defended the Geocentric system 2:30 Today's science explainy bit is not a question that anybody specifically sent to me. Rather, it's something that people are generally quite curious to know: How am I, tireless crusader for the truth, able to justify my constant apparent defense for the old Ptolemaic system of a universe made from crystal sphere...

32 MINOCT 8
Comments
Why did I defend the geocentric model?

Interview with Dr Jarita Holbrook

In Episode 7 of the second season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, I chat with Dr Jarita Holbrook of the University of the Western Cape about her interest in cultural astronomy. This was one of the longer and more interesting interviews of my career, and our conversation continued for some time after the microphones were turned off! Unfortunately, the audio quality isn't as good as I'd hoped. There's a terrible echo on my voice which comes and goes as the recording plays. I've done my best to clean it up, but it was just a bad recording and there's only so much I can do! Still, we're all clearly audible and I believe the content is good enough to justify publishing. Dr Jarita Holbrook 1:18 Dr Holbrook is a professor of physics at the University of the Western Cape. She has a special interest in cultural astronomy. She is an expert on African Indigenous Astronomy and the principal investigator of the Astronomy & Society group at UWC. Her intellectual interest in African cultural astr...

41 MINSEP 24
Comments
Interview with Dr Jarita Holbrook

Why do planets orbit in the same plane?

In episode 48 of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, we're doing another Science Explainy bit! These segments are where you get to hear my droning voice explain some fundamentals and answer listener questions. Today we get asked why it always is that planets orbit in the same plane, and why the Moon can be seen during daylight. If you like what you hear, don't forget to tell a friend about the show, and make a small donation on our Patreon account. Why do planets orbit in the same plane? 1:50 This question was asked by Matthew du Plessis, one of our Twitter followers. He wants to know why planets always seem to orbit their star in the same direction, and why those orbits are always aligned within the same orbital plane. We take a look at how solar systems are formed in the first place, to show why this alignment is inevitable. I make reference to this video: Why can I sometimes see the Moon during the day? 12:29 This question came from Anzet du Plessis, also on Twitter. She wants to know ...

22 MINSEP 10
Comments
Why do planets orbit in the same plane?

Interview with Dr Rosalind Skelton

This is episode five of this season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. As usual, this being the 4th show of the month, we have an Interview episode today, and this is the one that gets us back to our scheduled order of things. You'll remember two episodes ago, we were supposed to interview Dr Rosalind Skelton of the South African Astronomical Observatory. Unfortunately, I messed up somewhere and the recordings we'd made well in advance of the show were lost. Luckily we were able to shuffle the slot with another guest, also from SAAO. Anyway, I've spoken to Dr Skelton again and this time everything went as planned. Dr Rosalind Skelton 2:01 Dr Skelton is a SALT Astronomerat theSouth African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town. She is part of the team of astronomers who manage the SALT telescope operations and observe on behalf of all the SALT partners. Her researchwithin the field of galaxy formation and evolution currently concentrates on the impact of mergers on the growth of galaxi...

34 MINAUG 27
Comments
Interview with Dr Rosalind Skelton

What exactly are orbits, anyway?

Welcome to another Science Explainy Bit episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. Today we try to figure out just what an "orbit" actually is. Is it really as simple as they said in primary school? How does gravity, which normally pulls things down, work to keep the Moon in space? Download this episode now, to find the answer, and also learn a little about my upcoming appearance at ScopeX! What is an Orbit? (1:28) This turns out to be quite a simple topic - much simpler than why planets are always round, which we covered last month. In fact I struggled to stretch the core idea out long enough to fill an episode! All I really want to do here is explain how things stay up and why they go around, without resorting to the inaccurate "Centrifugal Force" explanation. You know the one? Where you ask people to fill a bucket, and then spin it around? The bucket swings around them without spilling any water, and then you wave your hands and say "That's how orbits work, except that there's no h...

19 MINAUG 13
Comments
What exactly are orbits, anyway?

Dr Daniel Cunnama

Welcome to the 3rd episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, season 2, featuring Dr Daniel Cunnama. We almost didn't make it this week, thanks to a major technical hitch, but we worked around it and here we are. If you listened to the last episode, then you're probably expecting this to be an interview episode, featuring Dr Rosalind Skelton of the South African Astronomical Observatory. I spoke to her in June last year and we recorded an interview specifically for this episode. But when I came to actually produce the thing, the recording was gone! The gods of technology turned their back on me and gremlins ate it. So, no Ros today. Instead, I was lucky enough to get Dr Daniel Cunama to stand in for her. Daniel also works at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), although in a different role, and I'm very lucky that his recording was still intact! So that's what we'll be playing in this episode, and Dr Skelton will appear in a few weeks in a later episode after we've re-re...

44 MINJUL 30
Comments
Dr Daniel Cunnama

Latest Episodes

Star colours and what space is like

So here we are, at the final episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast's second season. As per the schedule, it's a Question/Answer episode, and you'll get to hear two new science explainy bits! These questions are a little more deep than the usual, because we wanted to save something special for the end of the season. After this, things are going to be a bit quiet while the good folks at Constellation Online Media get to work lining up fresh guests and writing new scripts for Season Three, which should air in the next few months. Why do stars seem to have the same colours? 2:18 A few months ago when I was polling my twitter followers for questions they'd like to hear answered in this show, I got this very interesting question from a science journalist I've known for a few years. I save it for the very end of this season because I love this question so much. I love it because it challenges the sorts of assumptions that are taught to us as astonomers from the very beginning of our training. She asked why it is that all the stars appear to be the same colour, and yet when I go out myself at night and look up, they quite plainly are not the same colour at all. What's going on? What's it like in space? 14:15 A few months ago, my dear wife and friend Cathrine turned to me and asked "What's it like out there, though?". When I asked her what she was talking about, she said "You know, space. What's it like?" So that's the final science explainy bit question for this season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. What is it like out there, in the depths of space?

32 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Star colours and what space is like

Interview with Nicole Thomas

In this episode, we interview Nicole Thomas, a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape with an interest in the evolution of galaxies, and the super-massive black holes that lie within. We recorded this conversation only a week ago, and I really enjoyed speaking to her. I found her childhood interest in how the universe worked very relatable, and especially her need to understand what's going on underneath it all. Sadly, this is the final interview with a real astronomer of this season of the Urban Astronomer podcast, but I'm especially happy with this one so I hope you'll enjoy it. Nicole Thomas Nicole is a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape, and the Square Kilometer Array. She recently completed a stint at the department of Astrophysics as Oxford university, thanks to the UK-SA Newton Exchange Fund Links * Nicole on Twitter* Astro Molo Mhlaba * Cosmic Soundscapes - a website containing audio recordings derived by NASA scientists, from radio signals detected...

36 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Interview with Nicole Thomas

Guns in Space and Why Venus is so Hot

I love these podcast episodes where I get to give you a double dose of science explainy bits! In this episode, the two questions I answer were both asked by people who've previously been featured the Urban Astronomer. Kerneels Mulder wanted to know what happens when a space ship fires a gun backwards. Sibusiso Biyela wanted to know why Venus is so incredibly hot. If you have questions of your own that you'd like me to answer, why not mail them to me at mailto:podcast@urban-astronomer.com What happens when you fire a gun backwards in space? 1:33 Kerneels Mulder had a friend back in 2013 who was developing a video game which involved space combat. He wanted to get the physics right, so he asked what would happen if a moving spaceship fired its guns backwards. I originally answered this question in an article on this website, but it's such a fun topic that I thought it would be worth revisiting. Why is Venus so Hot? 15:48 Sibusiso Biyela wants to know why Venus has such a high temperat...

26 MINNOV 7
Comments
Guns in Space and Why Venus is so Hot

Interview with Dr Tana Joseph

This is episode 9 of the 2nd season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, featuring an interview with Dr Tana Joseph. It's been an interesting two weeks since the last episode - I've settled further into my new home and adjusted from rural to suburban life. What I gained in access to basic utilities and saving several hours off my commute has been paid for with a loss of the sky - not to light pollution, but to a canopy of trees shading the entire property! Regular listeners would be expecting this episode to feature Nicole Thomas. Unfortunately, for the second time this season, my recordings of the interview that we made months ago, are unusable. I made the recording within Skype and downloaded it within the 30 day period. But when I tried to import it into this episode, I found that it was an empty file. Now I've been a loyal user of Skype for over a decade, but it just isn't good enough for me anymore. All my serious technical problems with interviews have been Skype related. In futur...

38 MINOCT 22
Comments
Interview with Dr Tana Joseph

Why did I defend the geocentric model?

In this eighth episode of the second season, I defend my defense of the Ptolemaic geocentric system of crystal spheres! I hadn't even realized till I started recording that this is our 50th ever episode. I really should be so blown away that I've kept things going this long, but I'm not, somehow? Perhaps it's just become a habit, and I stopped noticing milestones! But anyway, 50 episodes, I think that's pretty amazing and I'm very proud to have made it this far. I'd like to thank every one of you for sticking with me for this long, and I'd also like to ask you to please let me know what you'd like me to do for the next fifty episodes! Why I defended the Geocentric system 2:30 Today's science explainy bit is not a question that anybody specifically sent to me. Rather, it's something that people are generally quite curious to know: How am I, tireless crusader for the truth, able to justify my constant apparent defense for the old Ptolemaic system of a universe made from crystal sphere...

32 MINOCT 8
Comments
Why did I defend the geocentric model?

Interview with Dr Jarita Holbrook

In Episode 7 of the second season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, I chat with Dr Jarita Holbrook of the University of the Western Cape about her interest in cultural astronomy. This was one of the longer and more interesting interviews of my career, and our conversation continued for some time after the microphones were turned off! Unfortunately, the audio quality isn't as good as I'd hoped. There's a terrible echo on my voice which comes and goes as the recording plays. I've done my best to clean it up, but it was just a bad recording and there's only so much I can do! Still, we're all clearly audible and I believe the content is good enough to justify publishing. Dr Jarita Holbrook 1:18 Dr Holbrook is a professor of physics at the University of the Western Cape. She has a special interest in cultural astronomy. She is an expert on African Indigenous Astronomy and the principal investigator of the Astronomy & Society group at UWC. Her intellectual interest in African cultural astr...

41 MINSEP 24
Comments
Interview with Dr Jarita Holbrook

Why do planets orbit in the same plane?

In episode 48 of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, we're doing another Science Explainy bit! These segments are where you get to hear my droning voice explain some fundamentals and answer listener questions. Today we get asked why it always is that planets orbit in the same plane, and why the Moon can be seen during daylight. If you like what you hear, don't forget to tell a friend about the show, and make a small donation on our Patreon account. Why do planets orbit in the same plane? 1:50 This question was asked by Matthew du Plessis, one of our Twitter followers. He wants to know why planets always seem to orbit their star in the same direction, and why those orbits are always aligned within the same orbital plane. We take a look at how solar systems are formed in the first place, to show why this alignment is inevitable. I make reference to this video: Why can I sometimes see the Moon during the day? 12:29 This question came from Anzet du Plessis, also on Twitter. She wants to know ...

22 MINSEP 10
Comments
Why do planets orbit in the same plane?

Interview with Dr Rosalind Skelton

This is episode five of this season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. As usual, this being the 4th show of the month, we have an Interview episode today, and this is the one that gets us back to our scheduled order of things. You'll remember two episodes ago, we were supposed to interview Dr Rosalind Skelton of the South African Astronomical Observatory. Unfortunately, I messed up somewhere and the recordings we'd made well in advance of the show were lost. Luckily we were able to shuffle the slot with another guest, also from SAAO. Anyway, I've spoken to Dr Skelton again and this time everything went as planned. Dr Rosalind Skelton 2:01 Dr Skelton is a SALT Astronomerat theSouth African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town. She is part of the team of astronomers who manage the SALT telescope operations and observe on behalf of all the SALT partners. Her researchwithin the field of galaxy formation and evolution currently concentrates on the impact of mergers on the growth of galaxi...

34 MINAUG 27
Comments
Interview with Dr Rosalind Skelton

What exactly are orbits, anyway?

Welcome to another Science Explainy Bit episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. Today we try to figure out just what an "orbit" actually is. Is it really as simple as they said in primary school? How does gravity, which normally pulls things down, work to keep the Moon in space? Download this episode now, to find the answer, and also learn a little about my upcoming appearance at ScopeX! What is an Orbit? (1:28) This turns out to be quite a simple topic - much simpler than why planets are always round, which we covered last month. In fact I struggled to stretch the core idea out long enough to fill an episode! All I really want to do here is explain how things stay up and why they go around, without resorting to the inaccurate "Centrifugal Force" explanation. You know the one? Where you ask people to fill a bucket, and then spin it around? The bucket swings around them without spilling any water, and then you wave your hands and say "That's how orbits work, except that there's no h...

19 MINAUG 13
Comments
What exactly are orbits, anyway?

Dr Daniel Cunnama

Welcome to the 3rd episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, season 2, featuring Dr Daniel Cunnama. We almost didn't make it this week, thanks to a major technical hitch, but we worked around it and here we are. If you listened to the last episode, then you're probably expecting this to be an interview episode, featuring Dr Rosalind Skelton of the South African Astronomical Observatory. I spoke to her in June last year and we recorded an interview specifically for this episode. But when I came to actually produce the thing, the recording was gone! The gods of technology turned their back on me and gremlins ate it. So, no Ros today. Instead, I was lucky enough to get Dr Daniel Cunama to stand in for her. Daniel also works at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), although in a different role, and I'm very lucky that his recording was still intact! So that's what we'll be playing in this episode, and Dr Skelton will appear in a few weeks in a later episode after we've re-re...

44 MINJUL 30
Comments
Dr Daniel Cunnama
hmly
himalayaプレミアムへようこそ聴き放題のオーディオブックをお楽しみください。