Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast

Take a fact-based journey through the cosmos. Tune in to hear weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Hosted by Fraser Cain (Universe Today) and Dr. Pamela L. Gay (Planetary Science Institute), this show brings the questions of an avid astronomy lover direct to an astronomer. Together Fraser and Pamela explore what is known and being discovered about the universe around us. Astronomy Cast is supported thru patreon.com/AstronomyCast.

Episodes

October 3, 2022 28 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 655: 65 Years of Space: Sputnik 1 Anniversary by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Streamed live on Sep 26, 2022. It’s been about 65 years since the Soviets launched the first orbital satellite into low Earth orbit: Sputnik 1. Now there are thousands of satellites in orbit, with tens of thousands on the way. Let’s look at the impact that Sputnik had on the history of spaceflight.
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 654: The Side Effects Of Clean Energy by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay To battle climate change, we’ll need to rapidly move to carbon-free sources of energy. But this technology isn’t a free lunch. They require metals, generate waste and deplete the environment. What’s the best way to balance this shift?
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 653: Climate Change: Looking at the Variables by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Climate change is on our mind these days with increasing wildfires, droughts and floods. What are the variables that play into a planet’s changing climate and what can this teach us about the search for habitable planets in the solar system and across the Milky Way?
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 652: The Rocket Race Towards Reusability by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about how single-use rocketry has changed over time, and the role it still plays in launching payloads into orbit and beyond. Today we’ll address the stainless steel elephant in the room and talk about the shift to reusability.
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 651: Artemis & The Decline of Single Use Rockets by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Season 16 opener. On the day that we’re recording this, NASA’s Space Launch System is about to blast off. But everyone is expecting it’ll be delayed to October. When it does launch, it’ll be the most powerful rocket on Earth. Well, until Starship blasts off. So are we about to see the end of single-use rockets and enter the e...
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July 20, 2022 30 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 650: Did JWST Work? by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Sign up through to make a difference in the climate crisis, and Wren will plant 10 extra trees in your name! Well, this is it. We’re FINALLY going to talk about the James Webb Space Telescope. After decades of development, delays, budget creep, the powerful infrared observatory is at its final home at the L2 Lagrange point. Yesterday (at the time we’re reco...
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 649: Highlights From NASA’s Holiday Ruining History by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Have you ever noticed that significant space and astronomy events seem to happen during the holidays? It’s not a coincidence. There’s actually a reason why. Today we’ll talk about some of the key events that happened during holidays and the underlying rationale.
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July 4, 2022 28 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 648: Summer Observing by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Summer is officially, astronomically here, and for the folks in the northern hemisphere that means it’s a perfect time to head outside and see what’s happening in the sky. Today we’ll give you a good list of things to keep an eye out for with or without a telescope.
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June 27, 2022 27 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 647: Best Sci Fi Beach Reading by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Summer’s here! And that means finally tackling that huge list of books piled up on your bedside table and filling up your Kindle. What books do we recommend for some fun reads this summer?   - The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scsalzi - Space Opera by Katherine Valente - The Culture series by Iain M. Banks (The Player of Games) - Six Wakes by...
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 646: Our Long Term Future in Space by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay We always say that we're living in golden age of space and astronomy, but it feels like things are just accelerating. Space travel is happening! What does the long-term future hold for our place in the Universe?
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June 13, 2022 29 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 645: The Future of the ISS by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited for over 20 years now, serving as a peaceful collaboration between space-faring nations. But it's a machine, and it's getting old. In addition, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made things, complicated. What's the future for the ISS?
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May 30, 2022 31 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 644: Is Earth… Normal? by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay We've now discovered thousands of exoplanets, we're learning more and more about the kinds of planetary systems there are out there across the Universe. But are planets like Earth unique or totally rare?
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May 17, 2022 29 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 643: Sagittarius A* by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay All the waiting is over, we've finally seen the image of the event horizon from the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. Different shaped blobs! And a black circle in the middle. What are we looking at? Today we're going to explain the picture, and what's next for the Event Horizon Telescope.
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May 16, 2022 28 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 642: Is the Sun... Normal? by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay We've always assumed that we lived in a perfectly normal star system with a normal star and normal planets. It's all... normal. But with our modern understanding of billions of stars, just how normal is our Sun, anyway?
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May 9, 2022 26 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 641: Can Planets Be Alive? by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay The Earth is teeming with life, but the upper atmosphere to kilometers underground. There's no question that our planet has life. But is our planet itself alive? This is a question posed back in the 1970s as the Gaia hypothesis, and it got its share of criticism. Some new ideas have been proposed to bring this hypothesis to the modern era as we se...
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 640: Survey Science: Newest Projects & Results by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay There are general-purpose telescopes and missions that astronomers can use to study specific objects. And there are the survey missions that look at the entire sky, which astronomers can use to answer questions about the Universe. We've talked about surveys in the past, but the landscape is changing quickly so it's time...
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 639: Big Qs Update: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Etc. by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Knowledge moves forward, and so, we must move with it. Today we'll give you an update on some of the most fascinating, fast-changing topics in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.
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April 11, 2022 29 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 638: Simulating Space Missions by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Although humans have never actually been to Mars, explorers have simulated many aspects of Mars missions here on Earth. There are missions under the ocean, on the tops of volcanoes, in the harsh Canadian north, and even in bed that simulate the limitations of spaceflight, and teach us many of the lessons to prepare us for the real thing
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 637: Machine Learning in Astronomy by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Computers are a big part of astronomy, but mostly they've been relegated to doing calculations. But recent developments in machine learning have changed everything, giving computers the ability to do jobs that humans could only do in the past.
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March 28, 2022 29 min
Astronomy Cast Ep. 636: Blowing Bubbles by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay We think of space as a vacuum, but there are regions of different density. There are winds blowing from stars and other objects that clear out vast bubbles in space, and look absolutely fantastic in pictures. And they might have been critical for Earth to even exist in the first place.
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