JWST looks at the Ring – Interview with Dr Robert Wessen

This months interview looks at that stunning imagery that JWST toom of the Ring Nebula – that familiar Messier planterary nebula in Lyra and favourite of star parties. This new study has revealed new and unexpected details and once again demonstrated the brilliant science of our golden wonder telescope in space.

Dr Jeni talks to Dr Robert Wessen, Research Associate at Cardiff University who has worked on the Ring Nebula data, about what astronomers have revealed as well as talking about his career and life astronomy. He also exclusively reveals what is going to happen next in this area of study. Enjoy!

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#135 – September 2023 Awesome Astronomy

This month we are joined by special guest Neill Sanders from Go Stargazing who is making a special announcement about astronomy cruise Holidays.

We have news of a new type of star, mud on Mars and JWST breaking cosmology once again. After our skyguide we chat about the recent Indian and Russian moon missions. 

In our discussion topic we have a Battle of the Planets as we decide which should get in the bin, Saturn or Jupiter.

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#134 August 2023 Pt2 Awesome Astronomy

For this podcast extra, we return to NAM 2023, this year held at Cardiff University. We’re delighted to bring you the conversational style of Dr Stephen Wilkins, public engagement extraordinaire. Dr Stephen is an STFC Public Engagement Fellow (so you know this talk will be just brilliant) and serves as a Director of Outreach and Public Engagement for the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex. This episode, we have the Tale of Two Telescopes, exploring NASA’s new flagship James Webb Space Telescope, and ESA’s pioneering Euclid, set to uncover the Dark Universe. Enjoy!

Produced by Paul, Jen, John, Damien & Dustin

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#134 – August 2023

This month we have a packed show, with stories about the European space agency launching a new space telescope to study The Dark Universe. India going to the moon with Chandrayaan-3, astereroid boulders, a key ingredient for life just 1 billion years into the Universe’s history, measuring a crater with highway seismology, hot lava piles on the moon, and a farewell to Ariane 5.

We discuss observing meteor showers in our monthly skyguide and we ask the important question- where would you let superman take you in the solar system?

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How to grow a supermassive black hole with Dr Becky Smethurst

Once a year, astronomers descend upon an unsuspecting UK city in the greatest gathering of astronomically curious minds: the National Astronomy Meeting, otherwise known as NAM (no, not that ‘Nam, though it is quite the battle of the minds). Jen was lucky enough to attend this year and this episode is the first in a series of talks recorded at NAM 2023. 

We’re delighted to bring you the expertise of none other than Dr Becky Smethurst of Oxford University (you may know her as Dr Becky on Youtube). In this talk, Dr Becky teaches us how to grow a supermassive black hole – and it’s not as easy as you think! Always picture a black hole as a gigantic hoover, sucking up everything that dares to stray too close? Think again…

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#133 Awesome Astronomy July 2023

It’s a summer vacation special with Jeni in the mountains of South America astronomising at altitude and visiting the Vera C Rubin telescope as well as obstech.


We have an interview with a Vera Rubin Observatory astronomer as well as a skyguide and an astronomy news round up.

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Interview with Dr Kathy Thornton

We chat to Dr Kathy Thornton, nuclear physicist turned NASA astronaut who went on to fly on four Space Shuttle missions. Dr Thornton flew for over 40 days and completed over 21 hours of EVA, including the famous operation to fix the blurry Hubble Space Telescope. We talk about her life as an astronaut, the Hubble fix and that fateful day in mission-control on Columbia’s last re-entry.

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#132 – June 2023 Awesome Astronomy

This month Jeni and Paul talk about the recent supernova in galaxy M101; volcanic exoplanets; the growing observational evidence putting the current Big Bang theory under strain and the history of water on both Earth and Mars.

There is discussions on alien contact; exoplanet detection and how long it would take to accelerate to the speed of light.

Paul does a summer reading book review with three space books to keep you entertained on the beach this summer.

Jeni has a look at the Juice mission, Axiom 2, future space station plans and a round up of launches.

This months skyguide includes discussion noctilucent clouds and deep sky in the centre of our galaxy.

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Skylab 50 – Interview with Astronaut Jack Lousma

To celebrate the Skylab 50th anniversary here is one our favourite astronaut chats from 2012 where we caught up with Skylab 3 and STS-3 astronaut, Jack Lousma. Jack was also capcom during Apollo 13 and he tells us about taking that ominous ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem’ call and how they solved each life-threatening issue in sequence to get the astronauts back alive. He talks about missing out on flying Apollo 20 to the moon, being a crew member on the Skylab space station and taking one of the first space shuttles out for a test drive.

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#131 – May 2023 Awesome Astronomy

This month Paul and Jeni in astronomy news talk about new data on the M87 blackhole, the architecture of planetary systems, the hottest stars, an impact crater in France and how Mars might not have been oxygen rich.

In exploration news there is the latest on  JUICE and they welcome an old friend back to the show to talk about Starship.

There is a review of the recent AstroCamp where the team witnessed one of the biggest geomagnetic storms of recent times and saw one of the most impressive Auroral displays while standing on a Welsh mountain.

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