#43 – January 2016

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The Discussion:
In our first invasion of 2016 we discuss Paul’s work promoting British astronaut Tim Peake’s stay on the International Space Station and his visit to Parliament; Jen’s ongoing work in General Relativity and black holes; and John tells us about his trip to visit the Sutherland Astronomical Society in Perth, Australia.

The News:
This month we return to NASA’s Dawn spacecraft at Ceres where we might just have the answer to those intriguing white spots on the dwarf planet. Then we discuss the findings that put to bed the puzzle about why gas giant exoplanets don’t seem to have the right amount of water in their atmospheres. And we finish January’s news with a wandering Kuiper Belt object snapped by NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft.

The 5 Minute Concept:
We conclude our series of back to basics 5 Minute Concepts with a look at the last essential items in the amateur astronomers toolkit – eyepieces. Whay are they, whey do we need them, how to get the most from them and how to get the balance between cheap stock eyepieces and expensive behemoths.

The Interview:
This month we continue to honour 100 years of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity as Jen talks to Professor Mark Hannam, Dr Patrick Sutton and Dr Stephen Fairhurst from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

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:

How will the decision in Hawaii to stop the construction of the Thirty Metre Telescope affect progress in commissioning bigger & bigger Earth-based scopes? Eric Emms from London, England via Twitter

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