The Discussion: Jeni’s astronomy research yields its first results in the hunt for exoplanet phase variation and we revisit our Star Wars podcast extras with a listener’s book review.
The News: Rounding up the space and astronomy news this month we have:
- An ‘Earthlike planet detected by ESO around our nearest stellar neighbour
- The upcoming launch of OSIRIS Rex to sample an asteroid
- That bump in the data at CERN turns out to be a false hope
- That alien megastructure story just won’t foxtrot oscar
- The Cassini spacecraft spots methane filled canyons on Saturn’s moon Titan
- A meteorite lands in Yorkshire garden. Real or fake?
Woobusters: Continuing our quest to debunk the myths and conspiracy theories that persist in every dark corner of the news and the internet. This month’s topic, picked at random from Paul’s festering Hat of Woo: Area 51 – the remote and secret installation in the Nevada desert where sanity gets dissected and reason is left to die.
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 we get a question that probes certainty in science and how high certainty discoveries can still turn out to be wrong:
Why when the Bicep two team found the evidence for primordial gravitational waves did they claim it was a five sigma result, and later wasn’t it shown the result was not accurate? I thought a five sigma had a 1 in 350million chance of being wrong! There has to be something I don’t understand about the sigma scale or the Bicep results? Rodney Cuthbertson.