#38 – August 2015

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A longer episode this month as we have so much to discuss and cram into the show!

The Discussion: Upcoming full-length interviews with 4-time Shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton & Don Thomas, Skylab 3 & STS-3 astronaut Jack Lousma and Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden. Dragging Sokol spacesuits around the UK for educational endeavours, promoting astronomy with the UK Space Agency at the Harwell campus and enjoying Nelly Ben Hayoun’s asteroid movie, Disaster Playground, at the British Film Institute.

The News: This month we take a look at NASA’s historic close up of the outer most classical planet as the New Horizon’s spacecraft flies by the Pluto system. CERN’s discovery of a new particle using the Large Hadron Collider – the Pentaquark. The possibility that those mysterious white spots on dwarf planet Ceres are creating a localised atmosphere. A Neptune-sized exoplanet orbiting so close to its parent star that its atmosphere is being blown away like a comet’s tail and Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft continues to attempt re-contact with the functioning Philae comet lander.

The 5 Minute Concept: We kick off a series of back-to-basics 5 Minute Concepts for practical astronomers with a look at what those numbers on your telescope mean. This is a tour of aperture, focal length and focal ratio.

The Interview: This month we welcome back Dr Joe Liske for the final time to tell us about the future of the European Southern Observatory and their exoplanet hunting, dark energy characterising European Extremely Large Telescope.

Q&A: Listeners’ questions via email, Facebook & Twitter take us on a journey into the astronomy issues that have always plagued our understanding or stretched our credulity. This month Ralph & Paul answer:

· What’s excited you more: Rosetta or New Horizons? For me, the latter.Eric Emms, London UK, via Twitter

Sci-fi Wars: Matt Kingsnorth & Phil St Pier join us again to go through the listeners’ results in our Sci-Fi Wars series. You voted for your Top Ten Sci-fi TV Series, books and movies. We present the results!

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