#104 – February 2021 Part 2


The Discussion:

  • Correcting the orbits of Jupiter’s moons
  • Welcoming Galaxy Rise’s Dustin Ruoff onto the Podcast Crew
  • Causing terrorism scares with telescopes

The News: Rounding up the space exploration news we have:

  • NASA provides more details for its lunar space station plans
  • China’s space station plans
  • Turkey look to become a spacefaring nation
  • The European Space Agency looks for more astronauts
  • The UAE’s Hope Mission & China’s Tianwen-1 make it into Mars orbit

Moons of the Solar System: Our new show segment exploring the discovery, exploration and our knowledge of the solar system’s moons. And we begin with Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos.

Q&A: ‘Will commercial ventures, render SLS useless at some stage?‘ From our good friend Steven Sean Spyvee in Leeds, UK.

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#104 – February 2021 Part 1


The Discussion:

  • Jeni on the Highbrow Drivel podcast
  • More astronomy goodness at Sky Guide
  • The amateur astronomy/dogging connection
  • A review of George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky
  • Listener emails about the birth of amateur astroimaging & ‘Arecedos’

The News: Rounding up the astronomy news in February, we have:

  • A hot Jupiter world with a totally transparent atmosphere
  • New research suggest the most abundant stars can fuel photosynthesis
  • Elliptical galaxies forming new stars hundreds of times faster than our Milky Way
  • Citizen scientists creates a 3D map of largely invisible brown dwarf stars

Main News story: @ESA’s #CHEOPS satellite looks at a star with exoplanets and finds even more planets in a system that should be able to exist.

The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Perseus with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in February.

Q&A: Are there any other planets in the solar system that could support geostationary communications satellites? From Steve Carter in Welwyn Garden City, UK.

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#103 – January 2021 Part 2


The Discussion: If you like your introductions rambling, you’re in for a real treat! We discuss the Jeni’s PhD thesis submission, The Real Right Stuff documentary on Disney+, Jeni’s foray into book writing and read some listeners questions, which devolves into discussions of whether Queen Elizabeth is Elizabeth I in Canada, the colonisation of the New World, the entertainer Nosmo King and insurance fraud.

The News: Rounding up the space exploration news we have:

  • Puerto Rico stumps up funds to decommission and scope out a replacement for Arecibo
  • China opens up FAST Telescope access to other nations
  • Hyabusa 2 asteroid and Chang’e 5’s lunar samples
  • Progress update on the 3 Mars-bound missions & where to follow them
  • SpaceX accelerate Starship rocket production in Texas

Q&A: ‘How and where did the Awesome Astronomy team first meet?‘ From our good friend Paul Weiler in Pennsylvania USA.

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#103 – January 2021 Part 1


The Discussion: As we welcome in the New Year, we discuss the holiday season and your suggestions to replace the Guide to the Electromagnetic Spectrum section of the show.

The News: Rounding up the astronomy news at the beginning of 2021, we have:

  • Finding exoplanets that have a good chance of being able to see us
  • The ‘Missing Lithium Problem’
  • Chasing down the Hubble Constant
  • A new method for detecting exoplanets
  • Was there another dwarf planet in the inner solar system?

Main News story: That intriguing radio signal found coming from the vicinity of Proxima Centauri.

The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the great winter constellation of Auriga with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in January.

Q&A: We know there is a lower temperature limit (absolute zero), but is there an upper temperature limit? From Matt in California.

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#102 – December 2020 Part 1


A jolly romp around viruses and tasers!

We look back at the astronomy and space exploration highlights of 2020:

  • Phosphine in Venus atmosphere
  • The saga of SpaceX
  • Chang’e 5 at the Moon
  • Comets Atlas & Neowise
  • 3 missions to Mars

The lows of 2020 in astronomy and space exploration:

  • Cancellation of SPICA
  • The loss of the Arecibo radio telescope

We look forward to the anticipated events of 2021:

  • Luna 25, Chandrayaan-3 & Artemis 1 to the Moon
  • 3 Mars arrivals
  • Vera C Rubin telescope & Maybe JWST

And we run through our own predictions for next year before signing off with our customary end-of-year outtakes.

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#102 – December 2020 Part 1


The Discussion: We discuss National Geographic’s The Right Stuff series on Disney+, get a little bit ranty about the use of jokey titles in research papers and read out a few of your emails.

The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have:

  • An update to the Geysers on Jupiter’s moon Europa
  • Another asteroid flies scarily close to Earth
  • The latest developments in Muskworld
  • China’s ambitious chang’e-5 mission en-route to the moon

Main News story: The Hayabusa 2 mission and the imminent return of samples from asteroid Ryugu

The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the great winter constellation of Orion with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in December.

Guide to the Electromagnetic Spectrum: In November we concluded our look at the electromagnetic spectrum. But as we now have a new method of detecting events beyond the electromagnetic spectrum, this month we explain gravitational wave astronomy.

 

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#101 – November 2020 Part 2


The Discussion: The ongoing saga of Jeni’s PhD thesis and a couple of listener emails.

The News: Rounding up the space exploration news we have:

  • More destruction to the giant Arecibo radio telescope
  • Keeping in touch with our intergalactic emissaries
  • More information from the Rosettta mission.
  • A new exoplanet characterising spacecraft gets the go ahead form ESA
  • NASA’s Mars sample return mission plans
  • China picks its Mars landing zone for February’s arrival
  • Lockheed propose a new space launch facility in Scotland

Main news story: Congratulations to OSIRIS-REx at asteroid Bennu.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum: The gamma ray end of the spectrum. How these telescopes were developed and became ever more powerful.

Christmas gift ideas: We replace the Q&A section this episode as the holidays are getting closer and we thought you might appreciate some suggestions for the young, new or amateur astronomer in your life.

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#101 – November 2020 Part 1


The Discussion: Beginning the show droning on about us for bit, we cover Jen presenting her latest paper at the dust conference (yes, there is such a thing) in Marseilles, and filming in the wilds of Wales at night for the BBC’s Weatherman Walking TV programme.

The News: Rounding up the astronomy news this month we have:

  • A return to the phosphine on Venus story for an update
  • Earth gets a litterbug mini-moon
  • Water abundance on The Moon
  • The nearest black hole to Earth might not be a black hole after all
  • Citizen science project finds the coolest stars of all in our galactic backyard

Main News story: Did humanity narrowly escape extinction in 1908?

The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Cassiopeia with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in November.

Guide to the Electromagnetic Spectrum: In November we conclude our look at the electromagnetic spectrum, what, it is, what is shows us and why it’s so important to astronomers. This month we explain the gamma-ray part of the spectrum and its relevance to astronomy.

Q&A: How do you tell the difference between a star that is nearer to the end of its lifecycle, and a younger star that is actually travelling away from us at a faster speed? From Tony Horton in Herefordshire, England.

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Venus Biosignatures Update Podcast Extra


As the exciting news of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus turns into a point of contention in the astronomy world, we caught up with the study’s lead scientist Professor Jane Greaves for the inside track. In this interview we discuss:

  • Getting time on a range of professional telescopes time for a risky hypothesis
  • How life could survive in the extreme environment of Venus’ highly acidic atmosphere
  • Floating graphite balloons in Venus’ atmosphere
  • Scientific challenges to this discovery being helpful rather than unwanted
  • Blinding NASA pilots in the name of science

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#100 – October 2020 Part 2


The Discussion: The publication of Jeni’s new research paper, a review of Netflix shows Challenger and Away (sublime and ridiculous).

The News: Rounding up the space exploration news we have:

  • ESA and JAXA’s future infrared space telescope cancelled
  • Mercury-bound Bepi-Colombo is passing Venus – with sensors…
  • Get ready for next month’s launch of China’s epic Chang’e 5 moon mission.
  • A change in crew for Boeing’s creed Starliner test flight to the ISS
  • NASA’s shiny new plan for Artemis and human exploration of the moon
  • A gallop through SpaceX’s achievements

Main news story: Astrophysicists scoop up Nobel Prizes again this year.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum: The ultraviolet and X-ray parts of the spectrum. How these telescopes were developed and became ever more powerful.

Q&A: If you had to choose just one mission or big science experiment to proceed in your remaining lifetimes, what would you choose and why? Victor Carroon, London, UK via email.