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Astronomy Cast

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Astronomy Cast

Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay

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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.
 
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Astronomy Cast Ep. 622: Rockier Moons & Giant Asteroids by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So a rock is a rock is a rock. Right? Across the solar system there are giant rocky asteroids and even “gianter” rocky moons. What is the difference between these two families of objects and where do they come from?…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 621: Gas Giants by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay For the longest time the only gas giant planets that we knew about were Jupiter and Saturn. But now, in the age of extrasolar planets, astronomers have discovered thousands of gas giants across almost as many star systems. What new discoveries have been made about gas giants, both h…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 620: Why Getting to the Outer Worlds is So Difficult by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Good News! Over the next few years we’re gonna see a flotilla of new missions headed to Jupiter and Saturn. Why aren’t we seeing more missions to the outer planets like Uranus and Neptune, even Pluto? It turns out those places are far away. Today…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 619: Icy Moons & Dwarf Planets by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay The outer Solar System is far enough from the Sun that water doesn't get blasted away into deep space. In this icy realm, there are many worlds with vast quantities of water ice. Today let's look at the icy outer moons and dwarf planets.…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 618: Ice Giants by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So we’re learning more & more about the outer planets of the solar system. Uranus & Neptune are Ice Giants, filled with water and other volatiles that we'd consider ice if it was here on Earth. What’s inside these worlds and what can we expect to find across the Milky Way as we find…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 617: Hangout-A-Thon Episode 2 - Crowdfunding Science by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Funding for basic science has always been tricky business, coming mainly from universities, government, companies or wealthy individuals. But who knows how many fascinating discoveries were never made because of a lack of funding. And we now live…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 616: Hangout-A-Thon Episode 1 - The Great Observatories by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Well, you’re familiar with the Hubble Space Telescope of course, but it’s just one of NASA’s Great Observatories. After Hubble came 3 more incredible telescopes. Each greater than the last! (That’s not true… The first one was the greatest.) Bu…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 614: Centaurs, Comets & Asteroids by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So there are asteroids, and there are comets. But there’s an entirely separate class of objects called centaurs. But instead of half human, half horse, imagine an object that’s half comet, half asteroid, but 100% interesting!…
 
Astronomy Cast - Ep. 613: Pluto’s Demotion: 15 Years Later by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay It's been 15 years since Pluto was kicked out of the planet club. It also happens to be the topic of our very first episode of Astronomy Cast more than 600 episodes ago. Are there any updates? Does Pluto have a chance of regaining planethood again?…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 612: The SETI Renaissance by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about the various ways that astronomers could detect the presence of intelligent civilizations by observing technosignatures. This week we'll give you an update on the state of the search for extraterrestrials. This field has gone from a collection of p…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 611: What is Required to Confirm Alien Life: Intelligence Edition by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about what it's going to take to confirm basic biological life across the Solar System and the Milky Way. This week, we'll discuss what it's going to take to detect intelligent life out there in space.…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 610: What is Required to Confirm Alien Life: Non-Sentient Edition by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Are we alone in the Universe? It's one of the biggest scientific questions we can possibly ask. And yet, with rovers on Mars, missions planned to visit Europa and Ganymede. Powerful telescopes able to detect the atmospheres of exopla…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 609: Volcanos With Benefits: Lava Tubes, Hydro Thermal Vents & More by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Volcanos can be some of the worst natural disasters that we can experience here on Earth. But life wouldn't even exist without them. So, what are volcanos good for anyway?
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 608: NASA Perseverance, The First 100 Days by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay As you all know, Pamela refuses to talk about any missions which aren't actually doing science. Well, Perseverance has crossed the line, from fantasy to an actual working rover, scooping regolith and yeeting helicopters. What has the rover accomplished in …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 607: InSight and Earthquakes by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Mars is cold and dead today, but the massive volcanoes tell us what the planet used to be like, millions and even billions of years ago. But how volcanically active is the planet today? That's what NASA's Mars InSight lander is there to figure out.…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 606 - Time Dilation: Skipping Thru Time by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Have you ever wanted to be a time traveler? Well, good news! You're time traveling right now. Into the future at one second per second. Taking too long? Don't want to wait? Good news, Einstein's got you covered. Today, let's talk about the weird world of time…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 604: Balloon Astronomy by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So when you think about the world's observatories, I'm sure you're imagining huge telescopes perched atop mountain peaks or space telescopes like Hubble. But you might be surprised to learn that some telescopes are carried high into the atmosphere on board balloons. What can …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 603: New Colors of the Radio Spectrum by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about how new telescopes and techniques are allowing astronomers to explore the shortest wavelengths of light. This week we go to the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum and explore the longer radio waves which are now accessible to as…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 602: The New Colors of Gamma Rays - Getting Shorter by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay The Earth's atmosphere protects us from a Universe that is definitely trying to kill us. But it also blocks our view of the entire cosmos, like seeing X-rays and gamma radiation. Space telescopes are changing our view of the most extreme events in…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 601: Unexpected Light Pollution by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Day-by-day we're loosing our connection with the night sky. Already one third of humanity lives in so much light pollution that they can't see the Milky Way without a drive. And now satellite constellations are adding additional light pollution, even in the darkest s…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 598: How You Could Overturn Cosmology by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay You've probably heard of dark matter and dark energy, but maybe you don't fully understand what they are. Or maybe the idea itself just rubs you the wrong way and you'd like to know why scientists think they can just make stuff up like this. So you'd like to ov…
 
March 2021. Fred, Vidar, iWin and Martin make an episode on the new ecastr software, and recount their previous 4 player game in addition the other segments. 0:0:59 what's up. 0:09:33 news and events. 0:13:53 games and hobby. 0:34:00 latest Kings & Treachery game. 1:02:43 room for improvement. 1:12:59 other entertainment. 1:34:10 total war PC games…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 597: The Expansion of the Universe by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay It's been a while since we checked to make sure the Universe was still expanding. Yeah, apparently, that's still a thing. But in the last few years powerful new telescopes and expansive surveys have given us much more knowledge about what's happening. Especially a…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 596: The Universe’s Background Noise by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay You might be familiar with the cosmic microwave background, but that's just one of the background radiations that astronomers look at. Some are well known and cataloged. While others are just starting to be possible to see at all. All of them tell us more about …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 595: Planet Hunting - Revisited by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay This is gonna be another one of those evergreen topics where we come back again and again. Finding planets. Every time we talk about this now it seems like we've gained thousands of new planets. Well, buckle up! New techniques will grow that by tens of thousands and …
 
February 2021. Fred, Vidar and Jørgen get a few drinks and chat online about Kings of War (and a lot of other stuff)! 0:0:25 what's up. 0:24:30 news and events. 0:42:00 games and hobby. 1:19:00 new rap interlude. 1:20:45 room for improvement. 1:33:35 other entertainment. 1:45:45 epic moment.Fred & Vidar による
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 594: Juno - Primary Mission Highlights by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Pamela is always loath to talk about spacecraft until the mission's in space and the science is rolling. NASA's Juno Mission just received a mission extension, adding Jupiter's moons to the menu. Now, finally, we can talk about Juno! [Ed. Juno what I mean?]…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 592: Gamma-Ray Bursts - Updated by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Some of the most powerful explosions in the Universe are gamma-ray bursts, capable of blasting a beam of death half way across the galaxy. In just the last few years astronomers have discovered a tremendous amount about these blasts and what's actually causing them. …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 591: What Are We Gonna Do With All That Space Junk? by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Remember the good old days when there were only a few thousand living and dead satellites? Well, those days are long over. We're now entering an era where there will be tens of thousands of satellites. Not to mention the spent rocket boosters and …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 590: Lunar Hazards: Dust, Radiation and More by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay 2024 can't come soon enough. You know, that's the year when humans will set foot on the Moon again. Now don't you roll your eyes! That's the plan. Unless the plan changes. But my point is, explorers going to the Moon will need to be concerned about all k…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 589 - Lunar Resources: Water (Update) & Other Volatiles by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay We've talked about the Moon and its water many times here on Astronomy Cast, but there've been a bunch of big updates thanks to new research from NASA and others. Today we're gonna give you an update on the state of water on the Moon and the p…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 588 - Lunar Resources: Lava Tubes by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay All eyes are on the Moon. We're going back, this time to stay, right? One of the best resources on the Moon will be the lava tubes that criss-cross the subsurface of the Moon. These can provide protection from space, and a look at the geologic history of the Moon, …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 587: The Artemis Accords by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So the Moon is about to become a very busy place with multiple countries and private companies planning missions in the next few years. It's been decades since the Outer Space Treaty was negotiated. It's time for the Artemis Accords!…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 586: Life As We Know It: Habitable Exoplanets & Extremophiles by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay As scientists continue to explore the Earth, they're discovering life, surviving and even thriving in extreme environments. What hints can this give us about what we might find as we search for live on other worlds.…
 
Astronomy Cast 585: Super Earths, Mini-Neptunes & Gas Dwarfs by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Astronomers are finding even more new extrasolar planets and they're starting to discover entirely new categories. There are classes of planets out there that we just don't have any analog here in the solar system. Let's talk about them!…
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 584: Sample Return Missions From Asteroids by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So with a sample of asteroid Bennu firmly inside OSIRIS-REx's return capsule, it's time to bring this treasure home. So scientists can study the composition and history of the space rock. But it's not the only sample return mission out there, with Japan's …
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 583: The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay This year's Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three brilliant researchers who worked out some of the secrets of black holes. Today we're going to talk about the chain of discoveries that led to this award.
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 582: Building Bigger Black Holes by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Did you hear the news? Nobel prizes for Black Holes! Now, we know there are stellar mass black holes and supermassive black holes, but how do you get from one to the other? How do black holes get more massive?
 
Astronomy Cast Ep. 580: Exploding Dwarfs By Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay So you think that a white dwarf star is the end of a stellar life, and it's all downhill from there, a long, slow cool down towards the end of everything. But in some situations even dead stars can get exciting again, briefly becoming some of the brightest objects in the Unive…
 
Astronomy Cast 579: White and Black Dwarf Stars by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay I've got some bad news for you. Stars die. At some point in the next few billion years or so our Sun is going to start heating up, using up all the fuel in its core, and then eventually die, becoming a white dwarf. It'll then slowly cool down to the background temperatu…
 
Astronomy Cast 577: Mars in Opposition by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Every 2 years or so Mars lines up nicely with the Earth. It takes only 2 minutes to communicate with the rovers. You can see the polar ice caps in a small telescope. And it's the best time to send your spacecraft to the Red Planet. Oct 3rd: Moon & Mars conjunction, 1.1° separati…
 
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