Walkabout the Galaxy (science)

Candy Hansen, veteran of Voyager, Cassini and Mars missions and head of the JunoCam on Juno at Jupiter joins the astroquarks to talk about the edge of the solar system. The astroquarks discuss what the edge of the solar system is, plus stars from other galaxies, space trivia and superhero news. 

Direct download: Where_No_Podcast_Except_This_One_Has_Gone_Before.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:52pm EDT

Planet 9 is Pluto, but Planet X is back in the news with the discovery of another object in the deep and distant recesses of our solar system, nicknamed the Goblin! It adds another piece of evidence to the idea that a big planet-y thing is lurking our there. So the astroquarks start Halloween season off with a Goblin-themed episode with a planetary Goblin and goblin trivia. Get your spook on, plus a multitude of asteroid hoppers and news from the surface of Mars in the latest episode of Walkabout the Galaxy, the only one that is this actual episode!

Direct download: Of_Goblins_and_Planets.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

It would take a falcon huge episode to cover all the space news this month, so the astroquarks take a crack at it. From Space-X's latest plans for a crewed lunar flyby mission to the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission's landers on the asteroid Ryugu, to the latest news about the missing matter in the universe, this episode has it all. It's falcon huge.

Direct download: The_Big_Falcon_Episode.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

The astroquarks have your bases covered, from Juno's discovery of a magnetic nubbin at Jupiter (check your Friends references) to confirmation of the decay mode of the Higgs Boson to what does it matter anyway because we're all living on the Holodeck! Adam LaMee joins us again to thwart us with a taste of our own quark-thwarting questions. Plus comet trivia and your sponsor. 

Direct download: An_Exthwartation_of_Quarks.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:48pm EDT

Zoe Landsman, "b" astroquark, joins Josh, Jim, and guest Adam LaMee to talk about an ancient (or very young, depending your point of reference) galaxy that's popping off stars so fast we almost called this the Pop Off episode. Plus Adam turns the tables on the astroquarks, updates and trivia on the Mars rovers, plugging leaks in space with your thumb, and the solar cycle.

Direct download: The_One_That_Should_Have_Been_Sponsored_by_Starburst.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 7:33pm EDT

Move over Mars, the Moon wants in on the water game! Attention is focused on the south polar region of the Moon which is both dark (and therefore cold and water-friendly) all the time, and also bright (and therefore solar-panel friendly) all the time. What?! Yep, that's right. The astroquarks are back from summer break to break it all down for you in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy, plus space trivia and news.

Direct download: When_the_Moon_Hits_Your_Eye_You_Might_Get_a_Little_Wet.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

In this week's "water on Mars" there's actual news of a potential liquid water reservoir on the red planet today. Well, more in it, than on it, but that adds it to the icy moons with subsurface lakes. This lake is very cold, so that water must be very salty. The astroquarks bring you up to date, touch on a new verification of general relativity, and most importantly delve into obscure superheroes and super-energetic cosmic rays. Great name for a rock band by the way. Catch it all on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Really_Real_Actual_Water_IN_Mars._Probably..mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:16pm EDT

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a little neutrino left a very large black hole headed straight for a point in space that would be occupied by the Ice Cube neutrino observatory at the Earth's south pole just in time to detect it! This is the story of that neutrino, Scrabble(TM) competitions, neutrino trivia, and a very embarrassing sponsor message. We're all very sorry about that sponsor message, but they paid, so we honored the contract, okay?!

Direct download: The_Little_Neutrino_That_Could.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:49am EDT

Objects in our solar system can take pretty torturous paths to get from point A to point B. Nature can scramble the orbits of asteroids, and people can make satellite orbits scramble in just the right way to go from one orbit to another. Strange, Charm, and Top explore the ways orbits change and a new research report that says that most of the asteroids in the inner part of the asteroid belt may be the debris of just five primordial protoplanets that got smashed to smithereens billions of years ago. That's why the new name for asteroids is going to be "smithereens". Plus: nerd news and spaceflight history trivia!

 

Direct download: What_Goes_Around_Comes_Around.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:12pm EDT

An ambitious Japanese mission, Hayabusa-2 has arrived at its target asteroid Ryugu. Are-you-good with that? See what we did there? (Ryugu'd? Get it?) Yes, that's the level of discourse on Walkabout the Galaxy, but we also find out about the great science to come from this exciting asteroid sample return mission, and a look ahead to the James Webb Space Telescope, whose launch has been slipped to make absolutely sure that nothing got Ryugu'd while building it. Plus we talk about the science of learning, and un-learning, with our special guest Anna Turner. 

Direct download: Wouldnt_You_Like_to_Hayabusa_Too_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

NASA does many inspiring and amazing things, from fundamental research into the evolution of the universe and the formation of planetary systems, to development of new technologies to enable humans to go to other worlds. They also sponsor research to monitor the Earth and to monitor the space near the Earth for potential impactors. The astroquarks weigh in on their own preferences for NASA's research priorities and discuss the results of a new survey of Americans on the subject. There's also the discovery of new weird stellar objects near the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, updates on Mars' early climate, and space trivia as always!

Direct download: USA_to_NASA__Save_Our_Planet.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:54am EDT

The astroquarks have often wondered where all our alien friends are hanging out. Maybe they're all just in a different universe? Well, most of those universes are probably duds, and anyway, we'll never know! That's the whole definition of a universe. New research sheds light on the surprisingly small role dark energy plays in the early evolution of a universe, and then there's the question of AntMan and the Wasp: do they conserve mass or not when they shrink? We must know!

Direct download: Wont_You_Be_My_Neighbor_Universe_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:44am EDT

It may sound like the title of an astroquark's sex tape, but we actually do have news about a potentially new long-term resident of the solar system captured from another planetary system, and Top astroquark Jim Cooney tells us all about a black hole gobbling up so much stuff that it's the brightest object in the universe! Honorary "Bottom" astroquark Dr. Zoe Landsman joins us to discuss these odd objects, Deadpool and Solo, and asteroid trivia.

Direct download: The_Interstellar_Interloper_and_the_Ravenous_Black_Hole.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

We all know Mars is crunchy on the outside, but does it have a chewy center? The NASA Mars InSight mission is en route to the red planet to answer that question. The astroquarks talk about InSight's science and instruments, Han Solo, and Richard Feynman in another wide-ranging episode of Walkabout the Galaxy!

Direct download: Does_Mars_Have_a_Chewy_Center_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:37pm EDT

Check out our first literally-titled episode! David Grinspoon, co-author of "Chasing New Horizons", the behind-the-scenes story of the Pluto mission, joins the astroquarks to dish on Pluto the planet, space exploration, Carl Sagan, and Mickey Mouse's dog! 

Direct download: Chasing_New_Horizons_with_David_Grinspoon.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:19pm EDT

The astroquarks remember Yuri Gagarin's historic first flight in this episode before zooming off to the galactic center to see what's what with the discovery of thousands of black holes packed into the region. Then they zoom out to the galactic halo for a quick distance check on a globular cluster. Hopefully they won't get lost in space!

Direct download: Danger_Astroquarks.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

What do Annihilation, Buckyballs, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and an itsy-bitsy galaxy have in common? They're all topics for the latest walkabout the galaxy with the astroquarks. A small galaxy has been observed with essentially no dark matter (most are mostly made of the dark stuff). Paradoxically, this is very strong evidence for the existence of dark matter. Speaking of things that are hard to see, we'll also check in on TESS, the next space telescope designed to discover lots of Earth-y exoplanets. Join Josh, Addie, and Jim for another whimsical jaunt through the latest news in astronomy and a peak at science fiction.

Direct download: I_Think_I_Stepped_in_Some_Dark_Matter.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:54pm EDT

The astroquarks discuss the late Stephen Hawking's first major breakthrough in astrophysics: radiation from black holes, now known as Hawking Radiation and what that means about what would happen if you through all the recordings of Walkabout the Galaxy into a black hole. UCF student and astronomer Anna Metke joins Josh and Jim to talk about telescopes near and far, and the giant radio telescopes of the Deep Space Network used to talk to spacecraft across the solar system. 

Direct download: For_Stephen_Hawking.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:20pm EDT

Some things are hard to see, like black holes. In this episode of Walkabout the Astroquarks discuss a couple of new observations that help us see the earliest stars in the universe and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Plus: Josh struggles to understand superhero movies, Jim provides the trivia, and Addie, as always, is Charm. 

Direct download: Magnetic_Field_Ink_Blot_Test_in_Space.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:54pm EDT

The Astroquarks welcome Dr. Phil Metzger, expert on the use of local materials on the Moon, asteroids, and Mars, to tell us about the prospects for prospecting in space. Find out how to build your Moon home from the space dirt on hand, plus nerd news and space trivia!

Direct download: Print_Me_a_Space_Base_Please.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:30pm EDT

"Starman" in the Tesla Roadster is headed out past the orbit of Mars, and NASA has some cool new missions in the works for exploration of the solar system. One of those, Mars 2020, is the next high-tech rover for the red planet, and this one will be carrying with it an unusual rock sample. The astroquarks cover that and the two finalists for NASA's next New Frontiers mission, and we'll hear about a new study suggesting lots of interstellar planets in a distant galaxy. Plus, of course, our sponsor, and space trivia!

Direct download: The_One_Sponsored_by_Space_Sex.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:51pm EDT

It's a satellite theme on this episode, with a sparkly disco ball in space, a long-lost scientific satellite tracked down by an amateur astronomy sleuth, and space trivia about all the junk in space. Join the astroquarks for a quirky quarky tour of our solar system, and some new evidence about the earliest history of life on Earth.

Direct download: I_Could_Swear_I_Left_My_Satellite_in_Orbit.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:12am EDT

Clues to dark matter may be buried in the relics of the oldest stars in the galaxies. The old stars probably formed when the dark matter did, so their motions are probably similar. The astroquarks discuss what this means for understanding that mysterious stuff, plus using X-rays to navigate spacecraft and yet another peculiar meteorite. Dr. Jonathan Kollmer joins the gang for these topics, as well as a sci-fi trivia and nerd news updates.

Direct download: The_Old_Stars_Tell_Tales.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:40pm EDT

Thank you Australia for giving us a meteorite called Bunburra Rockhole, and not just because the name is endlessly fun to say, but also because it hints at an origin from a missing asteroid. In this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy, the Astroquarks also take a look at Saturn's youthful rings, the link between star formation and the supermassive black holes in the hearts of galaxies, and space trivia and nerd news.

Direct download: The_One_About_Bunburra_Rockhole.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:14am EDT

The astroquarks kick off the new year with a look at a clever and challenging new technique to detect gravitational waves created by supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, and maybe even by the big bang itself. The waves make the Earth's position change, resulting in apparent changes in positions of things we look! Plus: astronomy predictions for 2018, nerd news, and space trivia. 

Direct download: A_Very_Low_Rumble_in_Space.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:46am EDT

While terrestrial matters were frequently dark and depressing, 2017 was a banner year for the cosmos, or at least for our understanding of it. From Cassini's Grand Finale to LIGO's detection of neutron stars colliding, the astroquarks review the highlights of the year and a new story about a very old black hole from the dawn of the universe. A supermassive black hole formed before the universe was a billion years old, suggesting galaxy formation was off to a robust and early start. Join Josh, Addie and Jim for all that, nerd news and space trivia to wrap up 2017.

Direct download: 2017_-_A_Great_Year_for_Space.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:22am EDT

Antimatter, the stuff that lets the USS Enterprise fly about the galaxy is the topic of this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy because it's made in your garden variety thunderstorm. Lightning strikes have enough energy to drive nuclear reactions that produce antimatter electrons. Join the astroquarks for this and other heady topics such as the wobble of the Earth's axis in space trivia.

Direct download: Antimatter_from_Your_Local_Thunderstorm.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

Disappointed that we don't have jetpacks and flying cars? Dr. Amanda Hendrix joins the Astroquarks to suggest an alternative: colonize Saturn's moon Titan, where a thick atmosphere and weak gravity mean we could all just fly like birds! Really! But, wait, there's more! Tune in to this episode of Walkabout for discussions of nearby moons and planets to colonize, space trivia and more.

Direct download: Fly_Me_To_The_Moon_Of_Saturn.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:31pm EDT

Stars have a voracious appetite, gobbling up most of the stuff in their immediate neighborhood, leaving just a few scraps to make planets. Sometimes, though, even the planets do not escape the stellar maw. In this episode of Walkabout, the astroquarks discuss a neat observation that shows a star likely gobbled several rocky worlds at some point in its past. Plus, help NASA name a Kuiper Belt Object, and find out the link between the planet eater and Greek mythology in this episode's trivia.

Direct download: Kronos_the_Planet_Eater.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:41pm EDT

That asteroid is rogue, and that's hyperbolic, but not hyperbole. The astroquarks welcome Dr. Dan Durda to discuss the first detection of a planetary object passing through our solar system that definitively came from another planetary system. All those Star Trek episodes where there is a wandering planet or comet or asteroid in space are now officially validated! 

Direct download: Rogue_Asteroid.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:12am EDT

If two neutron stars collide in a galaxy 130 million light years away and no one has a gravitational wave observatory to detect it, does it make a sound? Well, that's a silly question, but it happened, and not only was this cosmic catastrophe observed in the high energy light it emitted, but the rippling of spacetime was detected as well. Astronomy now has two independent ways of observing energetic events, and for the first time, something was seen using both techniques: electromagnetic waves (light) and gravitational waves. Join the astroquarks to hear about the first "kilonova" observed this way and what it has to do with your gold jewelry.

Direct download: To_Kilonova.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 7:53pm EDT

The astroquarks welcome noted science blogger and author Dr. Ethan Siegel whose new book Treknology takes a look at the intersection of science and science fiction. While you may already have a tablet computer, warp drive is probably still a few years away. But Elon Musk may be sending missions to the moon in less time than it takes the U.S.S. Enterprise to complete its 5-year mission (so, less than 5 years, get it?). Tune in for the latest news on exploration of the solar system as well as a look back to some classic Trek-nology with Dr. Ethan Siegel on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: I_Left_My_Communicator_on_Sigma_Iotia.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:15pm EDT

The astroquarks welcome WMFE space reporter Brendan Byrne who recounts his flight on the SOFIA airborne observatory. They hen vent about how the Nobel Prize committee has unaccountably once again passed them over. Here about this year's winners in physics, and a discussion of the history of the Kuiper Belt in this episode's space trivia. 

Direct download: SOFIA_Nobel_and_Kuiper__Whats_in_a_Name.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:00pm EDT

How exactly (and why) does a spacecraft get a "gravitational assist" from a planet en route to another planet? Where does that energy come from? The Astroquarks take a look at gravity assists and the OSIRIS-REx mission to grab some bits of a Near-Earth Asteroid and bring them back to Earth. Plus, the field of gravitational wave astronomy expanded now with the detection of a new black hole collision by two separate gravitational wave observatories. It's a weighty episode.

Direct download: OSIRIS-REx_Gets_the_Gravity_Assist_and_Scores.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:43pm EDT

Josh recounts experiencing the end of the Cassini mission and recalls more than a quarter century of involvement with the project in this episode. Then the astroquarks take a look outward toward our galaxy and its retinue of dwarf galaxies and what that may say about how typical, or not, the Milky Way is in the grand scheme of things. All that plus Cassini trivia, nerd news, and a meteorological sponsor on this episode of WtG.

Direct download: To_Be_Cassini_Or_Not_To_Be.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:37am EDT

Asteroid Florence with her two mini-moons pays a visit to the Earth, while Tabby's Star continues to mystify with its unpredictable fluctuations in brightness. The astroquarks also cover the latest LIGO rumors about the detection of neutron star collisions, expanding the realm of gravitational wave astronomy. Plus Nerd News and Space Trivia!

Direct download: Florence_and_the_LIGO_Machine.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT

New experiments have created diamonds in the conditions expected in the interiors of Uranus and Neptune. Former Top Astroquark Tracy Becker joins Josh, Addie and Jim to discuss diamond rain deep in the atmospheres of these giant planets. Join the astroquarks for nerd news, space trivia, and a bit of planetary science for good measure.

Direct download: Are_Those_Diamonds_on_Uranus_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:52pm EDT

The astroquarks tell their eclipse stories from the Great American Eclipse. The Sun and every star has weather, spots, oscillations, flares and all sorts of activity. Some of this is revealed during an eclipse to the naked eye. Now, telescopes have enabled us to map the appearance of the red supergiant, Antares. Join Josh, Addie and Jim for this stellar episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Starspots_and_Eclipses.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT

The weight on that box of breakfast cereal ultimately traces back to "le grand K", a metal sphere in a vault in Paris, a wonderfully archaic standard for how much stuff makes a kilogram. We'll talk about the efforts to update that standard, the next Kuiper Belt Object to be explored by the New Horizons spacecraft, eclipses and occultations, and of course Zombies. Join the astroquarks for the latest astro-news, nerd news, and this episode's trivia about the length of the month!

Direct download: Of_Zombies_Comets_and_Kilograms.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:49pm EDT

The Sun doesn't just shine, it rings like a bell, or a drumhead wrapped into a ginormous ball of incandescent plasma. The astroquarks talk about how helioseismology tells us about the interior of the Sun, and new research shows some surprising changes in the Sun's outer layers. And the disappointing news from the realm of cosmology is that dark matter is probably not warm and fuzzy, depriving us of endless opportunities for jokes, not to mention that it would be awesome if we had fuzzy dark matter throughout the universe. Catch up on the latest astronomy, nerd news, and space trivia with the astroquarks on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Cold_and_Hard_not_Warm_and_Fuzzy.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:47am EDT

If the controversy over Pluto's planetary status weren't already enough, what do you call a planet that is not even orbiting a star? The astroquarks explore rogue planets in this episode, planets that wander interstellar space, without a fire to keep them warm. We discuss how they nevertheless have been detected. Also, Addie's favorite body (rhymes with loon) and Jim's new favorite name, nerd news, space sponsor, and space trivia.

Direct download: Going_Rogue.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:38pm EDT

Dr. Kristen John of NASA's Johnson Space Center joins the Astroquarks for a wide-ranging discussion on topics from Jupiter's Great Red Spot to teleportation (yes, it's a real thing) and just what that means (not at all clear, but don't get ready to step into that transporter beam just yet). 

Direct download: Teleport_me_to_the_Great_Red_Spot.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Phil Metzger who spends a lot of time thinking about how our civilization can make the great leap into space. We may not be that far away from truly moving off our home planet and becoming a "Type 1 Civilization" that inhabits the solar system and not just one planet. We discuss how we'll get there, how long it might take, the challenges we face, and of course the latest nerd news and trivia from the world of Pandora (the Avatar one, not Saturn's moon).

Direct download: Where_No_One_Has_Gone_Before.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:06am EDT

Planet 9, also known as Egotron in honor of its supporters, has never been seen. A new statistical analysis of a deep sky survey suggests that's because it doesn't exist. The object's existence has been proposed to explain an apparent clustering of the orbits of some objects that have the charming quality of actually having been directly observed. The astroquarks discuss the arguments for Egotron and how statistics and observation bias play into all this. Speaking of statistics and planets, Kepler's list of planet candidates keeps growing. Hear about the latest discoveries, nerd news, space trivia and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Is_Planet_9_Lost_in_Space_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:02am EDT

The astroquarks take a look at new indications of water ice on the Moon, evidence that Jupiter formed in less than a million years, and the third detection by LIGO of gravitational waves from a black hole merger. All that, NASA's new astronaut class, New Horizons, and the summer sci-fi blockbuster and blockbuster wannabes on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Leggo_my_LIGO.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:15am EDT

How many jokes can the three astroquarks make about the pronunciation of the seventh planet? You'll have to tune in to this episode of WtG to find out. Josh, Addie and Jim discuss how aurorae on planets are made and why seeing them on Uranus is surprising. Also, is there a new type of planetary object, or is it just more hot gas? Find out about the Synestia, Uranus, nerd news and Star Trek trivia on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Uranus_Gets_Bedazzled.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:21am EDT

You may think of inflation as prices creeping higher, but to a cosmologist it's been an important idea to explain why the universe is so uniform on very large scales in every direction we look. But does inflation pass muster as a testable scientific theory? The astroquarks review what inflation is all about as there is renewed discussion in the scientific community about the theory and its predictions. Plus, nerd news and the Great American Eclipse. 

Direct download: Is_That_Inflation_Or_Are_You_Just_Happy_to_See_Me_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:54am EDT

The Juno mission is studying Jupiter's interior, but its citizen-scientist JunoCam is returning stunning images of the largest planet. Hear the astroquarks Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney provide equally stunning descriptions of those pictures. You will hear color! If you're on mind-altering substances. Otherwise it will be a tour of the solar system, from Jupiter to Mars to Comet 67P. All that plus nerd news and space trivia.

Direct download: Juno_What_I_Mean.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:02pm EDT

Josh and Addie welcome two special guests for this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy where we learn about a new and clever measurement of the size and shape of the heliosphere. Cooler still, some of the critical data came from our old friend Cassini and even older friends the Voyager spacecraft. All this, plus trivia, nerd news and a galaxy-sized wave of hot gas. 

Direct download: The_Solar_System_is_a_Bubble_in_Space.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:55am EDT

No, that ain't no negative mass, but yes, for Cassini the end is nigh. The series of 22 Grand Finale orbits has begun, providing unique views of Saturn and its rings and a way to probe the planet's interior and magnetic field. The astroquarks also check out yet another exoplanet in the habitable zone of a nearby star and discuss the headline about a discovery of "negative mass". 

Direct download: The_Grand_Finale_is_Finale_Here.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:16pm EDT

The astroquarks dissect the latest news from Saturn's intriguing moon Enceladus. Molecular hydrogen in its geysers suggest that Enceladus' ocean floor has the same kinds of hydrothermal energy sources that may have powered the origin of life on Earth. Plus, lots of Star Wars nerd news, and from the cosmological realm the first map of dark matter bridges connecting pairs of galaxies. 

Direct download: Enceladus_is_a_Little_Bit_Gassy.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

The Large Hadron Collider announced five new subatomic particles recently. Top astroquark Jim Cooney is our go-to quark for all things quarky, so he explains what's going on with these new particles. Charm astroquark Addie Dove gives us the latest rocket news, and Strange astroquark Josh Colwell discovers that there's something good about "Starship Troopers". Tune in for the latest news in astronomy, from the planetary to the cosmological, nerd news, space trivia, and "what's on Josh's whiteboard" on each episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Thats_Quite_a_Hadron_Youve_Got_There.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:17pm EDT

What are gravitational waves good for? Getting rid of that pesky supermassive black hole that's outstayed its welcome, for one thing. Join the astroquarks, Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney, for a journey from a comet with landslides to a distant galaxy that is losing its central black hole. All that, nerd news, and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: The_Great_Black_Hole_Escape.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:56pm EDT

On this Pi-Day recording of WtG, the astroquarks have a special trivia question and science topics ranging from interplanetary dust to Saturn's intriguing ravioli-shaped moon Pan, and antimatter. Find out how much more energetic you'd feel if you metabolized food the way Star Trek's antimatter engines work instead of through boring chemical reactions.  

Direct download: Space_Dust_Keeps_Falling_on_my_Head.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

There are black holes and interferometry in this episode, but the nerd news segment on Patrick Stewart either sets a new standard or a new low. You be the judge as the astroquarks, Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney take a look at advances in imaging the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Direct download: The_One_About_Patrick_Stewart.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 6:23pm EDT

A system of seven Earth-sized planets has been observed orbiting a (relatively) nearby star. At least three of these planets are in the habitable zone, or as Top Astroquark Jim Cooney would say, the haBITable zone. That's where there may be liquid water on the surface of the planet. The star for these planets is tiny and not so hot, so the planets are huddled around it like campers around the embers of a dying fire. Tune it for that plus: Star Wars! Note to Star Wars and Star Trek: next movie have some planets that are, like these, so close to their star that they have synchronous rotation, with a permanent dayside and a permanent nightside!

Direct download: Strange_New_Worlds.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

It's the plural episode of Walkabout as the Astroquarkae discuss the formation of White Dwarfs and Planetary Nebulae, what they have to do with each other, planets, and the price of tea in China (answers: lots, something superficial, and nothing at all). Also in this episode: nerd news, fishing advice, space trivia, and an imperial sponsor. 

Walkabout the Galaxy is a fun and informative discussion of news in astronomy hosted by astronomers Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney.

Direct download: White_Dwarfs_and_Planetary_Nebulae.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:37pm EDT

The astroquarks welcome Brendan Byrne from WMFE 90.7 to discuss the some jaw-dropping images of Saturn's rings as Cassini begins working its way in towards its fateful plunge into Saturn on September 15, 2017. Along the way we'll dissect F/X no-no's in Star Wars and find out from Brendan if we're there yet. There = Mars, by the way, and time's a wastin'. 

Direct download: Stripey_Buggers_1.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:43pm EDT

One of these rocks is not like the other. One is a meteorite, and one is an asteroid, and we know that meteorites come from asteroids. So how come they look so different? The astroquarks discuss new research into ancient meteorites that shows how the tumultuous history of the asteroid belt is to blame. Plus charm quark Addie Dove points out that one rock is on the ground and one isn't, so there's a pretty big different right there. Strange quark Josh Colwell gets very strange with the sponsor message, and top quark Jim Cooney tells us that if you'd like to age about 1 second slower than everyone else you just have to move to the center of the Earth's core. In other words, just another episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: A_Space_Odyssey.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:24pm EDT

Venus continues its record-setting warm streak now at over 1 billion years and counting, while the Earth just set its own modest record for the hottest year in the last 150 for the third record-setting year in a row. We've got a lot of work to do if we want to catch up with Venus. Speaking of Venus, something weird happened in its atmosphere that's probably the result of a gravity wave, not to be confused with gravitational waves which are a different beast altogether. Let the astroquarks take you on a journey from Venus to distant galaxies, and from greenhouse warming to non-Newtonian dynamics in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: The_Hottest_Year_in_a_Row.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT

In this piece of time of "Walk About the Great Big Group of Stars" we talk about two stars that will run into each other and make a big bright red thing five years from now. We also talk about two new big boxes with computers and stuff inside. The space team for our land will put these big boxes on two up-goers in years ahead to study things made of rock and also made of stuff that is like rock but heavier than rock that we use to make cars. These things go around the Sun and are smaller than our world, but are still a lot bigger than a person.

Direct download: Walk_About_the_Great_Big_Group_of_Stars.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:12pm EDT

The astroquarks examine new observations of the rate of expansion of the universe and its consequences for Dark Energy, the mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. That, and what it would be like to live on Titan, a world where methane (natural gas) takes the place of water on the Earth: it rains methane into methane lakes, and it freezes out depending on the season. It's a veritable methanological cycle.

Direct download: The_Fartological_Cycle.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

The astroquarks are back with a wide-ranging discussion from actual quarks to exoplanets with rain of molten glass and clouds of vaporized rock, as well as the latest news in rocket launches and sci-fi movies.

Direct download: Three_Quarks_for_JJ_Abrams.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:09pm EDT

The astroquarks, Josh, Addie and Jim, return from a break to catch up on the latest planetary and galactic news. There is new indirect evidence that a largish body may be lurking in the distant regions of our solar system. Others have called this "Planet 9". Listen in to hear why strange quark Josh prefers the moniker "Egotron". Charm quark Addie fills in on the latest rocket news and mishaps. That, plus a new census on the number of galaxies in the early universe shows ten times more than previously thought. Top quark Jim tells us why that's no big deal. 

Direct download: I_Dub_Thee_Egotron.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

The astroquarks commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. New this episode is the discovery of the Philae lander's final resting place on a comet, the launch of the OSIRIS-REx mission to grab some asteroid stuff and bring it home, the unveiling of Blue Origin's New Glenn reusable orbital rocket, and a proposal for a competitor to fantasy football: fantasy astrophysicists!

Direct download: To_Boldly_Go.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:28pm EDT

With a new "Earth-like" planet orbiting the nearest star to our Sun and frequent headlines popping up about interesting signals from SETI programs, and a flurry about a mysterious "Em-Drive" to facilitate interstellar travel, the Astroquarks put on their skeptical hats (actually, they are always on) to ask "is that a thing?". Spoiler alert: nah. But the Pale Red Dot at Proxima Centauri is definitely a thing, and it's pretty cool. Or hot. Depends which side of it you're standing on. Tune into Walkabout the Galaxy for this and all the latest astro-news.

Direct download: Extraterrestrials__Are_They_a_Thing_Yet_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:04pm EDT

The astroquarks delve into the critical issues facing our world: what reboot is more awesome or more terrible: Star Trek, Star Wars, or Tarzan? Also, lots of comparative planetology as we discuss who is more lovable: Venus, Earth, or Mars in the past, present and future? Venus and Mars may have been lovely a few billion years ago, and we visit Titan, Saturn's moon and honorary planet and home of great lakes of liquid methane fed by methane river canyons. Join us for these exciting topics and imponderable questions such as what makes a lake a lake and not a sea.

Direct download: StarzaniTrekWars.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:09am EDT

NASA's Juno spacecraft is orbiting the largest planet with the primary goal of understanding its internal structure. It will do this through a clever technique we at the Walkabout studios call "science". Check it out. It also comes in handy in just about every aspect of life. Join the astroquarks for the latest discoveries in our solar system on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: For_the_World_is_Not_Hollow.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:38am EDT

The Sun may be showing signs of belatedly entering a mid-life crisis of sorts. A sporty new car may improve the Sun's mood, as its spin and sunspot production may be slowing now that it's nearing the 5-billion year mark. Well, still a few hundred million years to go before ol' Sol reaches that sobering birthday, but he can see it coming. Don't worry Sol, the Walkabout gang and the rest of humanity is here for you. Josh, Addie, and Jim discuss the Sun's mid-life crisis and the color of quarks among other things in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: The_Sun_Needs_a_Red_Corvette.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Lurking out there beyond the orbit of the Moon is a sneaky little asteroid that is stalking the Earth, meandering around and pretending not to be paying attention. But you can't fool the fools on Walkabout the Galaxy. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie as we spill the beans on Earth's tiny not-quite-a-moon companion and review the latest discovery of black hole mergers by the LIGO gravitational wave observatory. 

Direct download: Earths_Mini-Stalker.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT

While we stick by our longstanding advice never to enter a black hole, Jim Cooney and Zoe Landsman join Josh and Addie in this episode to discuss new findings that radiation emitted by black holes through quantum effects may carry information about the stuff the black hole gobbled up. Also, the rate of expansion of the universe may be a bit faster than previously thought. File this under "things I don't need to worry about before I run my errands."

Direct download: Black_Holes__What_Goes_In_Might_Come_Out.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:38am EDT

In the good old days you needed a lens or a mirror to have a telescope, but now they'll use any old thing to look at the sky: ultra-precise orthogonal laser interferometers to measure gravitational waves or big tanks of water to see gamma rays from supernovae (that's Latin for supernovas). Jim Cooney and Zoe Landsman join Josh and Addie to talk about a new gamma ray observatory and why anyone might build such a thing. Also, planets and stuff. 

Direct download: Watching_Supernovae_with_H2O.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

Josh and Addie welcome Julie Brisset to discuss the comings and goings of SpaceX Dragon capsules to Earth as well as planned (unmanned) missions to Mars in the very near future. Catch up on the latest in space exploration on Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Take_me_to_Mars_and_back_again.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT

Just when you thought a supernova couldn't get any cooler (metaphorically speaking, of course), the Kepler spacecraft comes along and spies for the first time the "breakout" of the exploding star from itself. Confused? Then this episode of Walkabout will clear things up for you. Josh and Addie welcome Dr. Phil Metzger to talk supernovae, meteors and the far side of the Moon.

Direct download: Supernova_Breakout.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:16pm EDT

Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about the origin of galaxies and the observation of a galaxy from when the universe was but a teeny weeny baby of a universe, less than 1/12th its current size. Also, Scott Kelly is back on terra firma and has to deal with gravity. Hear all about redshifts, the big bang, and hyposprays on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: The_Babiest_Galaxy.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:44am EDT

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, two big black holes (no jokes, please) collided with each other releasing a ginormous amount of energy that has propagated across the universe as the tiniest stretching and jiggling of space itself. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about the first direct detection of the waving of space-time (in other words, gravitational waves). 

Direct download: Attack_of_the_Gravitational_Wave.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:23pm EDT

Not content with being the self-proclaimed "Pluto Killer", CalTech professor Mike Brown has now co-authored a paper hypothesizing the existence of, in his own words, "the most planet-y of planets" or "Planet 9", in the far outer reaches of our solar system. We get it: you hate Pluto! But personal planetary battles aside, this is an interesting bit of dynamical detective work in which lead author Konstantin Batygin and Brown argue that a roughly Neptune-sized planet several hundred times further from the Sun than the Earth is needed to explain the peculiar configuration of a dozen or so objects in the Kuiper Belt. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about Planet 9. If it's the most planet-y of planets, let's come up with a new name for whatever the Earth is.

Direct download: Planet_9_From_Outer_Space.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:49pm EDT

So what do floods in the southwest have to do with the price of anchovies? Join Josh, and Julie Brisset and find out in this episode of Walkabout from our guest Professor Dan Britt. But first: Star Wars. Spoilers abound. 

Direct download: El_Nino_and_the_Price_of_Anchovies.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:11pm EDT

Join us for a discussion with Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and hear about the mission and its discoveries from the man who made it happen. New Horizons is headed towards its next target, a smaller object in the Kuiper Belt, the region of space beyond Neptune that was also, as it turns out, the birthplace of comet 67/P Churyomov-Gerasimenko. Yep, that's the comet that the ESA mission Rosetta is studying, and none other than Alan Stern is the P.I. of the ultraviolet spectrometer on that mission. It's all about the Kuiper Belt and missions to explore it with Alan Stern on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Exploring_the_Kuiper_Belt_with_Alan_Stern.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

Why is there no air on Mars? NASA's MAVEN mission has supplied some details on how our neighbor lost what was likely a robust atmosphere comparable to Earth's. Spoiler alert: size does matter. Mars' diminutive scale poses a number of problems for holding onto the atmosphere. MAVEN has now witnessed erosion of the atmosphere due to the solar wind. Hear about Mars and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: The_Mystery_of_Mars_Missing_Air.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:09am EDT

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