The Star Spot

The Star Spot

The astronomy and space exploration podcast... Show More

Episodes

September 15, 2019 34 min

Feature Guest: Sherry Suyu

The Hubble constant, which measures the expansion rate of the cosmos, may not be a constant after all, and if that’s true it means we’re missing something big in our understanding of the universe. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Sherry Suyu, who leads the aptly named H0LiCOW project which uses the phenomenon of gravitationally lensed quasars to measure the expansion ... Read more

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Feature Guest: Jorge Zuluaga

Astronomers have yet to confirm a single detection of an exomoon, that is a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system. Now it turns out at least part of the explanation is that we may have been looking in the wrong place all this time. Introducing ploonets. No, I did not just mispronounce the word planet. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Jorge Zuluaga... Read more

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Feature Guest: Vikram Ravi

They come to us from deep space. They last a tiny fraction of a second. They contain as much energy as the sun’s total output in 80 years. Yet we still haven’t figured out what causes these so-called Fast Radio Bursts or FRBs. I don’t want to say it’s aliens, but... no, it’s probably not aliens. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Vikram Ravi whose team is quic... Read more

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Feature Guest: Dan Falk

Scientists are finding themselves increasingly squeezed between academics sounding the limits of science and a public increasingly taken in by pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. Today we conclude our review of science under attack with science writer Dan Falk.

Current in Space

NASA is looking to make space exploration a little greener, and Joseph ... Read more

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Feature Guest: Dan Falk

Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by science writer Dan Falk.

We’ll start today’s interview with a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the landing of humans on the moon and the internationalism of that critical moment. But then, 50 years after this triumph of science, we’re going to confront head on a set of old and new challenges to the scientific enterprise its... Read more

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Feature Guest: Brian Schmidt

Today we offer a best of from our vault here at The Star Spot. We dug back to a fan favourite, our December 2014 interview with Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt, who won the biggest prize in science for discovering the accelerating universe. 

The 1929 discovery of the expanding universe by Edwin Hubble forever changed our picture of the cosmos and our understanding of our ... Read more

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Feature Guest: Jane Greaves

Remember that nursery rhyme, “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky?” Well they were on to something, because it turns out diamonds - albeit nanodiamonds - are ubiquitous across the Milky Way galaxy. So-called diamond dust is even here in our own solar system. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor Jane Greaves, whose team made the discovery t... Read more

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Feature Guest: Cynthia Phillips

In the 1970s, the Viking landers performed historic experiments aimed at detecting life in the Martian soil. The results were disappointing although to this day still not entirely conclusive. Now over 40 years later a new lander with a next generation set of life detection equipment is under assessment by NASA. This time the target is not the Red Planet, but the ocean moon ... Read more

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Feature Guest: Simona Pirani

The planet Jupiter occupies a position today that is far from its home 4.5 billion years ago, a destination resulting from a primeval migration that started way out around the current location of Uranus. Like the god for which it was named, Jupiter enjoys the company of thousands of followers, the so-called trojan asteroids, which have remained by its side all these years, and... Read more

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Feature Guest: Bonnie Buratti

The spacecraft Cassini went out in spectacular fashion, travelling through Saturn’s rings for a final death dive into the gas giant. Even in its final heroic moments, Cassini was relaying back data shedding light on the bizarre worlds known as the ring moons of Saturn. The origin of these small bodies, which manage to maintain orbits within the turbulent environment of Saturn... Read more

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Feature Guest: Fred Adams

If you thought the far distant future of our universe was going to be bleak, dreary and dark, well, you’d be right. But remember, the universe is still just a baby and it has many new experiences ahead of it. Over the many trillions of years of its unimaginably long life, new processes will take over, new forms of galactic structure will emerge and types of stars that have... Read more

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Feature Guest: Rosemary Wyse

The universe is past its prime, by about 8 to 10 billion years. Sorry if you missed it. From the rate of star formation to the frequency of galactic mergers, the cosmos just isn’t what it used to be. Yet remarkably all is not lost, for there’s an astronomical archeology available to us. It turns out stars retain a memory of their ancient origins and galaxies hold clues t... Read more

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Feature Guest: Katrin Heitmann

The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto, hosted its annual signature symposium event on Friday, February 15th, 2019. This year’s theme was “Boom to Bust,”with three keynote speakers covering, in turn, the birth, life and death of the cosmos. Once again The Star Spot was privileged to be on location to cover the ev... Read more

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Feature Guest: Ulf Danielsson

Our universe is big. But what if all of this was just one of an unimaginably large number of bubble universes. That’s the proposal by a group of scientists who recently introduced a new model for the universe which for the first time links string theory with dark energy and higher dimensions. But how does it compare to rival multiverse theories? Today we’re joined here at The... Read more

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Feature Guest: Rayna Slobodian

As we dream of space, we must remain anchored to humanity. Space exploration is a human story, and music may be the perfect medium to capture the emotive drama of discovery, risk and the mystery of the unknown. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by singer-songwriter, space ethicist, homelessness researcher and all around geek, Rayna Slobodian, for a far-ranging di... Read more

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Feature Guest: Darren Grant

A one hundred year old astronomical mystery may finally have been solved. Scientists have long wondered just what caused high energy particles called cosmic rays, which arrive on Earth from the far unknown reaches of the universe. But now we have a discovery by the South Pole Neutrino Observatory, appropriately named IceCube, which points the finger at a peculiar phenomena know... Read more

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Featured Guest: Cameron Smith

One of the challenges in building a future where humans are able to explore other worlds are the massive, clumsy and expensive spacesuits currently in use. Now enter into the picture Pacific Spaceflight. They’re a grassroots team with a do-it-yourself attitude and they’re busy perfecting the next generation space suit technology. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by th... Read more

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Featured Guest: Katharina Brinkert

On Earth, we can thank the sun for making life possible. Now what if we could harness the power of the sun to make life possible on long duration space missions. Introducing the concept of artificial photosynthesis. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by chemist Katharina Brinkert, whose pioneering experiments on the International Space Station turning sunlight into... Read more

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Featured Guest: Cosette Gilmour

The proper relationship between science and faith is a core question for the modern age. At the centre of this debate has often been the Vatican observatory. The fascinating history of the Vatican Observatory stretches from the 18th century up to today, controversially combining scientific scholarship and religious tradition. In the last few decades the Observatory hosted a... Read more

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Featured Guest: Bruce Jakosky

Don’t shoot the messenger. The terraforming of Mars has been the dream for many of us who long for a future where humanity has colonized the Red Planet. But is it time to rethink those plans? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Bruce Jakosky, Principal Investigator of the Martian MAVEN Mission, and he’s got some bad news.

Current in Space

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