#44 – February 2016

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The Discussion: As we lament the passing of some great people we remember how lucky we are to live in an age of great discovery. We discuss British astronaut Tim Peake’s spacewalk with American Tim Kopra outside the International Space Station and take a look back at the annual festival of TV astronomy StargazingLIVE.

The News: There’s a packed news section in this month’s show as we discuss:

Have astronomers discovered another planet in our solar system?

LIGO’s possible detection of gravitational waves

Does an irregular star host evidence for alien life?

A possible explanation for the ‘Wow signal’

The most powerful supernova ever detected

Poor Philae gives up the ghost

Attempting to photograph a black hole

The Interview: This month Jen bags herself an astronaut. While celebrating the launch of Tim Peake, Jen grabs an interview with Spanish/ESA astronaut Pedro Duque: a veteran of two space missions having flown the Shuttle, Soyuz and the International Space Station.

WooBusters: With a long back catalogue to call upon to understand objects and concepts in astronomy, Paul calls it a day on his 5 Minute Concept. In its place comes WooBusters! Send in your suggestions for conspiracy theories, bonkers ideas and general pseudoscientific nonsense and we’ll add them to Paul’s Big Hat of Woo.

This month we kick off WooBusters with a debunking of alien abductions.

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.

If Mars’ gravity is too weak to hold onto its atmosphere, how did it ever get one? Andrew Osbourne from the UK via email

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