Astronomy Podcasts


Listen to great podcasts with interviews and discussions associated with astronomical news and theories.

Episode 239: DOWNLINK - Kyla Edison Sorry about the links not working! Squarespace knows about the issue, but still hasn’t fixed it. Visit theorbitalmechanics.com/show-notes / kyla-edison for links and photos! Spaceflight news— First results from Parker Solar Probe! The Orbital Mechanics
Designing The Next Spacesuit For future missions to the moon or Mars, astronauts are going to need a new suit. Engineers like MIT’s Dava Newman are hard at work — but it’s a big ask. Designing a suit that protects astronauts while still allowing them the mobility to work in space or on another planet is tough. Are We There Yet?
54E-66-Opportunity Celebrates 10 years on Mars The Opportunity Rover has been joined by, a car sized robot, named Curiosity. So far it has found that ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. You can follow its journey on the NASA Curiosity website. What will it find next? Travelers In The Night
December 2019 Who's afraid of big, bad numbers? In the show this time, we talk to Bobby Seagull about the mathematics of astronomy and popularising maths among the public, Michael Wright rounds up the latest news and we find out what we can see in the December night sky from Ian Morison, Haritina Mogosanu and Samuel Leske. The Jodcast
Moon and Aldebaran You don't need a thermometer to take the temperature of a star - at least not a bright one. All you need is your eyes. Cooler stars look orange or red, hotter stars are blue or white, and in-between stars are yellow. A star on the cool end of the scale shines near the almost-full Moon tonight. StarDate
More Tabbies Sometime in the last million years, Tabby's Star may have swallowed a planet. One of the planet's moons survived the encounter, though, entering its own orbit around the star. But the star's heat is causing the moon to evaporate. That's leaving a trail of dust around the star. StarDate
Emptiness It's lonely out here in the galactic suburbs. The closest neighbors are light-years away - distances that are truly astounding. The distance to the Sun's closest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri, is almost 29 million times the Sun's diameter. StarDate
Pollux There's no formula for predicting just how long a person will live. Genetics, nutrition, exercise, and other factors all play a role. But you can't just plug in a few numbers and come up with an exact lifespan. But that's not the case with stars. A single number determines how long a star will live: its mass. StarDate
565-Ancient Crater In ancient times, Aboriginal people in southwestern Australia quarried fine grained rock on an ancient hill called Barlangi Rock to make very sharp tools. Dr. Travelers In The Night
51 Pegasi A discovery that was announced a quarter of a century ago set off an astronomical Gold Rush. Two European astronomers reported finding a planet orbiting a star in the constellation Pegasus. It wasn't the first "exoplanet" ever found - and not even the first confirmed planet. StarDate
Pulsar Planets The first confirmed exoplanets were shockers. They orbit the remnant of an exploded star. And astronomers are still trying to figure out how they were born. The star is a pulsar. It formed when the core of a massive star collapsed, causing its outer layers to blast into space. StarDate
First Planet Gamma Cephei has a couple of distinctions. For one thing, it's a future North Star. A thousand years from now, it'll be closer to the north celestial pole than Polaris, the current North Star. In fact, you can find it standing directly above Polaris at nightfall at this time of year. StarDate
Episode 238: Moon Prep Sorry there are no links in this episode! Squarespace has broken that feature. — 5 pm Sunday, December 8th — tempe.laboccapizzeria.com — S. Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281This week in SF history— December 4, 1945, Birth of Roberta BondarNext week in 1984: What’s the point of a weather balloon with a sample rate of 75 seconds? The Orbital Mechanics
From Cave To Cosmos: A History Of Human Exploration Exploration is hardwired into our DNA. From early humans in sub-Saharan Africa to the Apollo moon walkers, humans have always had a thirst for knowledge and the need to understand the world around them. Andrew Rader is a SpaceX mission manager. He’s one of the many new-age explorers now reaching out to the stars. Are We There Yet?
Liftoff 113: Barbecue Freezer Commercial Crew is moving forward, Vikram's crash site has been found, and there's a big black hole in the news. There are also claims of a new particle, but questions surround the announcement. Liftoff
53E-65-Your Shield The NEOShield project is an international group of scientists and engineers from space faring nations. They are doing the detailed analysis and planning required to provide an effective means of dealing with an asteroid which is on a collision course with planet Earth. Travelers In The Night
AaS! 117: Is String Theory Worth It? How did String Theory get started? What has made the idea so popular over the decades? Can we ever truly have a theory of quantum gravity? What is supersymmetry, the landscape, and the AdS/CFT Correspondence? What do holograms have to do with this? How many dimensions do we live in? Ask a Spaceman!
Earliest Sunset The shortest day of the year - the day with the least amount of daylight - is coming up on the winter solstice, which is less than three weeks away. One of the odd things about the solstice, though, is that it's not the date of the latest sunrise or earliest sunset. StarDate
Ep. 550: Missing Epochs - Observing the Cosmic Dark Ages Powerful observatories like Hubble and the Very Large Telescope have pushed our vision billions of light-years into the Universe, allowing us to see further and further back in time. But there are regions which we still haven't seen: the Cosmic Dark Ages. Astronomy Cast
Icy Rocks The ice fields of Antarctica might seem like an odd place to hunt for rocks. But the Antarctic is the best place on Earth to hunt for rocks from beyond Earth. Meteorite hunters have picked up thousands of space rocks there. And they're getting ready to hunt for more. StarDate
December 2019: Giant-Planet Finale Download this month's Sky Tour podcast for a guided tour of the evening sky's adieu to Jupiter and Saturn and tips for spotting some early-winter constellations. The post December 2019: Giant-Planet Finale appeared first on Sky & Telescope. Sky Tour Podcasts
Big Balloons It's balloon season in Antarctica. NASA's getting ready to launch three giant balloons from McMurdo Station, on the Antarctic coast. At least it will try to launch them. Last year, high winds kept its balloons grounded. So some of this year's launches are re-dos. StarDate
90 - December 2019 Part 1 The Discussion: A look at the BBC’s new Martian invasion documentary, The War of the Worlds; the recent transit of Mercury; Celestron’s new phone adapter; Jen’s upcoming talks in Wales, an update on Jen’s research paper, a new research project and a debate over the start and end of a decade. Awesome Astronomy
Adopted Cluster The Milky Way Galaxy is a big mishmash of stars with different origins. Some, such as our own Sun, were born in the Milky Way itself. But many others were born in other galaxies. These galaxies merged with the Milky Way, and our galaxy made their stars its own. StarDate
564-Heavy Traffic In the space of less than 13 hours four small space rocks zipped through the Earth-Moon neighborhood. All of them were discovered by my team, the NASA funded, Catalina Sky Survey, before they made close approaches to our home planet. Travelers In The Night
Spicy Clusters The Gaia Sausage isn't made with oregano or garlic or pepper flakes. Yet it's plenty spicy. It appears to be a streamer of stars captured by the Milky Way billions of years ago. And it includes some of the biggest and oldest star clusters in the entire galaxy. StarDate
Moon and Planets Bright, brighter, and brightest congregate in the southwest this evening. They set not long after the Sun, though, so there's not much time to enjoy them. The three objects are the brightest in the night sky: the Moon and the planets Venus and Jupiter. StarDate
Heavy Merger In the afternoon of August 14th, detectors felt the universe "jiggle" in a way they hadn't seen before - the possible result of a black hole swallowing a neutron star in a single gulp. The "jiggles" were gravitational waves - ripples in space and time produced by the motions of extremely dense bodies. StarDate
Episode 237: DOWNLINK - Elena Zorzoli Rossi Spaceflight news— Starship overpressure explosion — Rumors on 4Chan, via Reddit and NSF forum Short & Sweet— Some insights into failed lunar landings have come out. — Starliner rolls out. The Orbital Mechanics
Talking To Aliens Are we alone in the universe? Probably not. Scientists are hard at work looking for signs of life here in our solar system and beyond. But what will we say to those extraterrestrials when we find them? Are We There Yet?
52E-64-Asteroid Brings Life's Ingredients to Earth A unique opportunity occurred in January of 2000, when a large meteoroid exploded and rained down pieces onto the frozen surface of Tagish Lake in British Columbia.Dr. Christopher Herd of the University of Alberta said that the first Tagish Lake samples were quickly collected from the frozen surface. Travelers In The Night
Making Models Strange things have been known to happen on quiet country roads. Travelers on New Mexico highway 6563, for example, blaze past the planets of the solar system at more than 10 times the speed of light. Or, to be more precise, they pass road signs with the names of the planets. StarDate
Light Tourists Perpetual darkness and frigid temperatures don't usually pack in the tourists. But when you throw in some shimmering curtains of light in the sky, they show up in bunches. In the last decade or so, the aurora borealis - the northern lights - has become big business. StarDate
Episode 174: Fuzzy Dark Matter, with Lachlan Lancaster Feature Guest: Lachlan Lancaster Quantum mechanics is strange. Until recently we could comfort ourselves with the belief that its odd properties were safely confined to the world of the microscopic. But what if quantum mechanical effects were suddenly magnified to cosmological scales. The Star Spot
More Venus and Jupiter One of nature's most unforgettable light shows is the aurora - ribbons and curtains of color in the night sky. But the auroras on Jupiter, the Sun's largest planet, are a thousand times more powerful - and much more complicated. On Earth, an aurora forms when charged particles from the Sun bombard our planet's magnetic field. StarDate
Moon, Mars, Mercury Mars, Mercury, and the Moon have more in common than just the letter M. All three are small, rocky worlds. They all have large deposits of ice at their poles. And for the next couple of days, they clump together in the dawn sky. The Moon is the smallest member of the trio - about 2200 miles in diameter. StarDate
563-Pre-Autumnal Harvest On a clear but windy night, near the fall equinox, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Greg Leonard was able to discover and verify 23 new Earth approaching objects as they passed through our celestial neighborhood. Travelers In The Night
Moon and Spica A star system with an explosive future stands to the lower right of the Moon early tomorrow. One of the system's two known stars is massive enough to end its life as a supernova. Spica is the leading light of the constellation Virgo. It's only about 250 light-years away. StarDate
The biggest space missions launching in 2020 This episode we look at the big space missions launching in 2020 that will visit the Sun and Mars. Plus, the latest from Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx, and what to expect from commercial human spaceflight over the next 12 months. Sky at Night Magazine
Ep. 549: Stellar nucleosynthesis revisited: In and on and around dead stars Last week we gave you an update on the formation of elements from the Big Bang and in main sequence stars like the Sun. This week, we wrap up with a bang, talking about the death of the most massive stars and how they seed the Universe with heavier elements. Astronomy Cast
Ep. 548: Stellar nucleosynthesis revisited: In stellar cores & atmospheres The Universe started out with hydrogen and helium and a few other elements, but all around us, there are other, more proton-rich elements. We believe these heavier elements formed in stars, but which stars? And at what points in their lives? Today we'll update our knowledge with the latest science. Astronomy Cast
The Whale's Tail A star can be both young and old at the same time. It can be young compared to other stars, yet old in terms of its own life cycle. An example is Deneb Kaitos - a name that means "the tail of the whale." The star marks the tail of Cetus, the whale or sea monster. StarDate
The Interstellar Travels Of The Twin Voyager Spacecraft Voyager 2 punched a hole through our heliosphere sending it into interstellar space. The space probe launched more than 40 years ago along with its twin, Voyager 1, on a mission to visit the outer planets. Now the two have exited the boundary of our solar system and are beaming data back to scientists here on Earth. Are We There Yet?
Venus and Jupiter The two brightest points of light in the night sky are having a bit of a get-together. They're quite low in the southwest as the Sun sets, though, so there's not a lot of time to look for them before they set. The brighter light is Venus, the second planet from the Sun. StarDate
Episode 236: Panel jettison Questions, comments, corrections— Win a book! — Zach and Kelly Weinersmith wrote Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. — We have signed copies to give away! In honor of the alternate first words featured on the new TV show For All Mankind, tweet at us with what your first words on Mars would be. The Orbital Mechanics
Liftoff 112: Apollo 12 Apollo 12 forever lives in the shadow of the mission before it, but it shouldn't. Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Al Bean made plenty of their own history, with some terror and plenty of laughs along the way. Liftoff
51E-63-Rocks From Space Bearing Vitamin B3 Research indicates that Vitamin B3 can form on ice crystals in deep space. From there asteroids and comets can bring it to Earth. How rocks from space play into life as we know it remains a mystery for us to ponder. Travelers In The Night
AaS! 116: Is String Theory Worth It? How did String Theory get started? What has made the idea so popular over the decades? Can we ever truly have a theory of quantum gravity? What is supersymmetry, the landscape, and the AdS/CFT Correspondence? What do holograms have to do with this? How many dimensions do we live in? Ask a Spaceman!
More Apollo 12 PETE CONRAD: There it is! Son-of-a-gun! Right down the middle of the road! ALAN BEAN: Outstanding, Pete. CONRAD: I can't believe it! Amazing! Fantastic! Pete Conrad and Alan Bean had reason to be excited. 50 years ago today, the Apollo 12 astronauts were moments away from making the second manned lunar landing. StarDate
Moon and Regulus Pete Conrad and Alan Bean had just completed their first moonwalk 50 years ago this week. The Apollo 12 astronauts were the second crew to land on the Moon. And during four hours on the surface, they'd set up scientific instruments and gathered rocks and dirt. StarDate