2013 End of Year Special




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This pantomime of an episode contains some mild bad language and puerile humour.

Join us for a round up of the best astronomy news from 2013, a look forward to the highlights in 2014 and a glimpse inside the normally secretive Cydonia Base at Christmas time.

Naturally, no end of year Awesome Astronomy show would be complete without the habitual gaffes and outtakes.

Happy Holidays, thank you for downloading and listening to us in 2013 and best wishes for 2014.

#18 – December 2013

We have the planets, meteors showers and moon phases to look out for in December and a look at the deep sky objects in the constellations, Taurus & Gemini.

In the news we have Comet ISON at perihelion, a guide to comets, the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s MAVEN both setting sail for Mars and a bizarre asteroid that thinks it’s a comet. In the 5MC, Paul explains the mysterious and awe-inspiring majesty of a familiar object in the night sky – The Orion Nebula. Perfect to listen to as you observe it!

We open up our Christmas competition to win a year’s subscription to Astronomy Now magazine and the European Southern Observatory’s 2014 calendar.

We have two interviews this month – Dr Gareth Williams, who officially calculated Comet ISON’s trajectory, tells us all about the comet; and Dr Gerhard Schwehm, ESA Project Scientist on the Giotto and Rosetta comet-chasing spacecraft missions.

Finally, we answer listeners’ questions about the evidence for ancient alien visitors and the visibility of merging inactive black holes.

#17 – November 2013




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This month we have the planets, meteor showers and moon phases to look out for in November and a look at the deep sky objects in the Cetus, Pisces & Sculptor constellations.

In the news we have the sad death of Scott Carpenter, the US government shutdown, water in Martian rocks, the completion of ESO’s ALMA  array & ESA’s upcoming GAIA mission.

In the 5MC, Paul reveals all we know about dark energy: a cosmological constant, a qualtum vacuum energy or quintessence (you decide).

We interview Pauline Gagnon from CERN about the Higgs and how we find dark matter, supersymmetry and extra dimensions; and we round off with listeners’ questions on rogue planets, the Earth’s gravity & observing.

#16 – October 2013




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Highlights of September’s skies at the AstroCamp star party with the BBC TV cameras. The Sky at Night team joinined us for some observing in Wales.

A penumbral lunar eclipse, a round up of the planets visible in the northern hemisphere this month, a couple of meteor showers to get you outside, and the deep sky treats in Perseus, Camelopardalis and Auriga in our October sky guide.News that Voyager 1 is in interstellar space, NASA’s latest mission to explore the thin lunar atmosphere and moon’s dust and some research to get us hopeful for a fine display from Comet ISON later this year.

The violent but universe enriching ‘Death of Stars’ is explained in Paul’s 5 Minute Concept.

An interview on the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, astronomy research funding cuts and the Planck and Herschel space telescopes in this month’s interview with researcher, writer and broadcaster Dr Chris North.

And in Q&A we answer listeners’ questions on brown dwarfs and Saturn’s rings.

#15 – September 2013


A daytime lunar occultation and a favourable libration of the moon, the ice giants and a round-up of all the planets on view and the deep sky treats in Cassiopeia and Andromeda in our September sky guide.

A bright nova in Delphini, declassification of Area 51 plans, an update on Kepler, Juno and the Mars Science Laboratory, Voyager 1 leaving the solar system (maybe!), and new science from ESO’s ALMA array.

Nucleosynthesis and the life of stars explained in Paul’s 5 Minute Concept.An interview on solar dynamics and the upcoming solar maximum with Dr Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory, and in Q&A we answer listeners’ questions on the moon’s atmosphere and Han Solo’s Kessel Run.

#14 – August 2013

The wonderful upcoming Perseid meteor shower, planetary & lunar spectacles and the deep sky objects on offer in the Summer Triangle & Ophiuchus in our August sky guide. The new names for Pluto’s 4th & 5th moons, a new moon disocered around Neptune, the discovery of mysterious extragalactic radio emissions and a photo of home from the Cassini spacecraft. Cepheid Variable stars explained in Paul’s 5 Minute Concept and we draw a winner for a pair of magnificent astronomy binoculars. An interview with Professor Thierry Montmerle of the International Astronomical Union on astronomy education & outreach, naming conventions and buying celestial objects. And in Q&A we answer questions from listeners on the effect of the moon on bringing Kate Middleton to labour, the likelihood of Betelgeuse going supernova in our lifetimes & supermassive black holes.


#13 – July 2013

Your July sky guide & a competition to *win a pair of binoculars!* News on the Goldilocks Zone, 3 new interesting exoplanets, a busy time on Low Earth Orbit, Curiosity & radiation risks for Mars-bound astronauts and black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy. Paul’s 5 Minute Concept to explain an astronomy theory or idea in simple terms. An interview with the ESA ExoMars Project Scientist and Ralph & Paul get overrun with a listener’s cookie-craze in Q&A.


#12 – June 2013

Bringing you your sky guide for June, a salute to ISS Commander Chris Hadfield and news on Kepler. Paul tells us all about ET in his Five Minute Concept, Ralph interviews astronomy communicator Mark Thompson and Q&A includes questions on lunar impacts, the end of the universe and the five best astronomy objects to observe!