Walkabout the Galaxy (Science)

Yes, it's just as bad as the title suggests, because when a supermassive black hole in a galactic center really gets going it can shut down star formation in the galaxy by blasting out all the raw star materials also known as atoms. The astroquarks explore galaxies with large and small star formation rates, plus we catch up on space news with Voyager 2 and the return to the Moon, and some throwback Voyager trivia.

Direct download: When_a_Giant_Black_Hole_Blows_a_Lot_of_Gas.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:57pm EST

Some clever detective work has found one of the smallest black holes known. The astroquarks also take a look at the puzzling mess of the Hubble Constant and the disagreement over its value. Plus, the interstellar comet's supply of water seems consistent with our own solar comets, and the Lagrange Points (the musical quintet, not the set of gravitational potential equilibria in an orbiting two-body system, duh!) sponsor our show. Tune in for all that and universal trivia. It's a veritable astroquark soup!

Direct download: Astroquark_Soup.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:38am EST

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Renee Weber from NASA's Mars Insight mission to bring us the skinny on that spacecraft's mole's struggles to burrow into Mars. We also check in on polluted white dwarf stellar remnants and what they are teaching us, remarkably, about the interiors of exoplanets, plus spacecraft trivia, philosopher wars, and of course yet another sponsor for Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Episode172_101819_Edit1.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:33pm EST

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Adam Burgasser from the Cool Star Lab at the University of California San Diego to talk about the mysterious members of the astrophysical menagerie that lie between planets and stars. Brown dwarfs are lurking in the dark, sometimes closer than we might think. We also have spaceflight history trivia, 20 new moons, and a spot about G.

Direct download: Bananas_About_Brown_Dwarfs.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 8:58pm EST

The astroquarks spin around the universe, from an ancient tree's rings providing clues to magnetic reversals on Earth to planets wandering among the stars and the first detection of the filamentary structures of hydrogen gas strung between clusters of galaxies. Plus space news, nerd news, and Star Wars Lego trivia! This episode is a veritable Kessel Run.

Direct download: Lost_in_Space__Rogue_Planets_and_the_Intergalactic_Web.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:27pm EST

The astroquarks welcome Stephanie Jarmak from UCF to discuss the study of gluons, the hilariously named force-carriers that hold quarks together, Trojan asteroids sharing Jupiter's orbit, eyeball planets and snowball planets, and more. All this plus space news, nerd news, and relativistic trivia on the latest episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Ive_Got_My_Eyeball_Planet_on_You.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:54am EST

Ever wonder what goes on at an international meeting of planetary scientists? Who hasn't?! This special episode of Walkabout comes to you from a hotel room in Geneva Switzerland following the joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society's planetary science division and the European Planetary Science Congress. Josh and Addie are joined by original Top Quark Dr. Tracy Becker and Dr. Bonnie Meinke for a free-wheeling discussion of highlights from the meeting, the solar system's most recent visitor from interstellar space, and new findings about how an ancient asteroid collision helped diversify life on planet Earth.

Direct download: The_One_from_Geneva_V2.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:47pm EST

The astroquarks revisit the importance of H2O on the Moon, even if it is tied up inside rocks, before taking a visit to the realm of the Milky Way's gigantic bubbles of plasma emanating, it seems, from the central black hole. Plus, artificial intelligence reaches a milestone, while the astroquark intelligence is just hanging on. Tune in and decide for yourself.

Direct download: Moon_Water_and_Galaxy_Bubbles.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:11pm EST

Hurricanes are regular visitors to the Walkabout Studios at the University of Central Florida, but not to the planet Venus, whose slow rotation makes for rather dull weather. High of 900 degrees is forecast for Venus for the foreseeable future. But there are some mysteries in its upper atmosphere. We'll also talk about the mysteries of quantum gravity, which doesn't exist yet, and the role of supernovae in starting planetary systems and evidence for a bunch of them popping off in our neighborhood recently. Plus space news and hurricane trivia!

Direct download: The_Podcast_of_Dorian_Hurricane.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:07am EST

Join us for a special musical episode of Walkabout the Galaxy with guest Adam LaMee as we take a look at a nearby giant exoplanet and a very distant supernova of a type that has never been seen before. 

Direct download: Starforker.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:25pm EST

Astronomy and cosmology challenge our perceptions of space and time, make us ponder our place in the universe, and give us wonders from the infinitesimal to the nearly-infinite. Then there's Walkabout the Galaxy, where we attack the question of which is a bigger relative bite: when the Sun in its red giant phase swallows the Earth, or when Jim Cooney in his fishing phase swallows a gnat. For that and the other truly important questions, you can count on the Astroquarks. Walkabout the Galaxy: for the truly important questions in life.

Direct download: Will_the_Sun_Burp_When_it_Eats_the_Earth_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:42am EST

We never get tired of Einstein being right, and once again his general theory of relativity is up to the challenge. The astroquarks take you on a tour to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way for another test of Einstein's theory of gravity, while closer to home the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission has successfully grabbed some more asteroid rubble. Dr. Zoe Landsman, aka Beauty Astroquark, joins Josh and Jim on this walkabout with spaceships being propelled by sunlight, nerd news, and Apollo trivia.

Direct download: When_Light_Climbs_Out_of_a_Hole.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:09am EST

A thousand bonus Trekkie points for getting the reference of the title of this episode, and another 1000 points for connecting it to our main science topic (spoiler alert): voids in space. Space is very empty, and some parts are emptier than others. Giant voids are helping us narrow down the rate of expansion of the universe. NPR's Brendan Byrne, space reporter for WMFE 90.7, joins us to give a peak behind the scenes of NASA's plans to send people to the Moon, plus some physics-y space trivia and much more.

Direct download: Where_Silence_Has_Lease.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

Supermassive black holes lurk in nearly every galaxy, and stellar-mass black holes are making news with mergers that we see with our gravitational wave observatories. But what about the black hole middle class? And just how massive are these things anyway? Plus, Hollywood director and astroquark brother K.C. Colwell ("Deep Impact", "The Mummy", "The Wolverine", "The Walking Dead") joins the astroquarks to talk about science and special effects in movies. And we honor the 50th anniversary of the amazing achievement of Apollo 11 with bonus Apollo trivia. 

Direct download: Houston_the_Astroquarks_have_Landed.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:27am EST

We're going back to Saturn! NASA has selected the Dragonfly mission to the planet-moon Titan to explore its atmosphere and carbon-rich chemistry with a dual quadcopter capable of flying several km at a time. Work continues on the Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter's own Ocean World. The astroquarks catch you up on these new missions, plus some nerdy sci-fi trivia, Josh mangles French, and, as always, be sure to listen through to the end for a unique and surprising outro to the show. 

Direct download: Dragonfly_Me_to_the_Moon_of_Saturn.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 7:20pm EST

There is no center of the universe, no top or bottom (except for our astroquarks!), but all sorts of things in the universe have a definite handedness, and this includes fundamental particles, whose left-ness or right-ness is captured in a quantum property called spin. Top astroquark Jim Cooney takes us for a spin around new results looking into why there is a preference for certain directions of spin. Closer to home we look into the spin of the early Sun and how it ties into the early evolution of life and rocks on the Moon! So take the universe for a spin with us, and get a tangential trivia and all your space news on Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Left_and_Right_in_the_Universe.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 7:18pm EST

The universe began in a hot, dense state, as the song goes, and we can, oddly, see that heat from the thing that we are still in. The universe. Strange stuff. The radiation leftover form the big bang, known as the cosmic microwave background, or CMB, has cooled off, but analysis of measurements of this radiation by the Planck spacecraft point to some odd hot and cold halves of the universe. The astroquarks take a deep dive into the CMB, plus lots of new spaceflight news and of course your Walkabout trivia.

Direct download: The_Universe_is_Running_Hot_and_Cold.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:11pm EST

The astroquarks take a stroll through the extrasolar planetary zoo where there are new members of the close-to-Earth-sized club and a peculiar Neptune-y thingy orbiting super close to its star. Meanwhile there are rapid developments in NASA's renewed focus on sending astronauts to the Moon, and we revisit the strange case of quarks, anti-quarks, and the existence of matter in the universe. Plus a very deep dive into Forbidden Planet-inspired trivia.

Direct download: Episode157_053119_Edit1.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:00pm EST

NASA unveils a new accelerated timeline to get astronauts forward (not back, get it?) to the Moon in 2024 with the new Artemis program. The astroquarks bring you up to speed on the latest space exploration news, and are joined by author Dennis Taylor of the "Bobiverse" trilogy of science fiction novels ("We are Legion", "For We Are Many", and "All These Worlds"). This gets us into Von Neumann machines, the Fermi paradox and the Great Filter, and bonus Bob trivia.

Direct download: All_About_Bob.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:59pm EST

The astroquarks discuss news about lunar quakes and Venus... volcanoes. But volcanoes doesn't rhyme with quakes, so I sacrificed alliteration for rhyming. Venus may be volcanically active, at least on relatively recent geological timescales. If only we could go back in time to see! Top quark Jim Cooney will bring us up to date on a new experiment that fiddles with the direction of time's arrow. All that, plus space news and bonus trivia on this episode of Walkabout.

Direct download: Moon_Quakes_and_Venus_Shakes.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:57pm EST

From a human-made crater (well, spacecraft-made) on an asteroid, to the Moon-forming impact, to an accelerating pace of black hole merger detections, the astroquarks survey the latest news in astronomical collisions. The asteroid Apophis has a close date with Earth in 2029, and what episode of Walkabout would be complete without some general relativistic frame dragging? Zoe Landsman joins us while Charm quark Addie Dove is off launching things into space! Plus space news and a historical/avengical trivia.

Direct download: Impacts_Large_and_Small_and_Very_Large.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:43pm EST

Scientists have been chasing methane on Mars for years. It's a slippery little molecule that doesn't stick around very long and has several biological (as well as non-biological) sources. The armada of spacecraft at Mars have conflicting measurements of the presence or absence of methane in Mars' atmosphere. Fortunately the astroquarks are here to make sense (or fun) of it. Plus, we discuss a cool new way to figure out the rate of expansion of the universe, and bonus methane trivia!

Direct download: Is_Mars_Farting_or_Burping_.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:39pm EST

We discuss the dramatic first view of a black hole in a special episode recorded in front of a live audience. In addition to the Event Horizon Telescope's image, bonus nerd trivia, and an abundance of space news, we review the latest in space impacts, including the dramatic fossil field in North Dakota revealing the death and mayhem just minutes after the catastrophic asteroid impact that wiped out nearly all life on Earth 65 million years ago.

Direct download: I_Can_See_Your_Black_Hole_From_Here.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:31am EST

Just when you thought Dark Energy couldn't get any stranger, new measurements of the history of the expansion of the universe show an era well after the big bang and inflation but long, long ago when the rate of expansion was different than today. We are running out of dark names for the unknown. Closer to home the astroquarks discuss evidence for rain and water on Mars at a surprisingly recent (well, still a long time ago) epoch. All that plus space news and nerd trivia can be found on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: There_are_Dark_Forces_at_Work_in_the_Universe.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:22am EST

We are joined by asteroid expert and "b" quark Dr. Zoe Landsman to discuss the remarkable discovery by the OSIRIS-REx mission that the asteroid it is orbiting, Bennu, is spitting pebbles and rocks out into space. The mechanism for this remains a topic of research. Also, another thing named after Enrico Fermi, another super moon with a silly name, and examining Apollo samples that have been sealed since they were recovered from the lunar surface. All in all, just another episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Bennu_is_Puking_Asteroid_Pebbles.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 6:38pm EST

Our guest, André Bormanis, has spent a considerable amount of time thinking about extraterrestrial intelligence, as well as warp travel, holodecks, artificial life forms, and more. Having spent more than a decade as an advisor and producer on the Star Trek franchise, André is now an executive producer and writer on "The Orville", Seth MacFarlane's trekkiest of shows. André joins the astroquarks for a discussion of Trek, humor, and the vexing Fermi paradox. Maybe we're just too early to the party. Check it out, and check out "The Orville", plus a special Trek trivia on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Direct download: Too_Early_to_the_Party.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:34pm EST

Science Fiction great Joe Haldeman ("The Forever War", "Marsbound", "The Hemingway Hoax", "Worlds") joins the astroquarks for a wide-ranging discussion from microwave-plasma-grapes to cosmic rays, science in science fiction, and the latest space news including SpaceShipTwo returning to space and Hayabusa-2 touching an asteroid. 

Direct download: The_One_with_Joe_Haldeman.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:28pm EST

Sometimes it seems like you can't count on anything, and now the Earth's north pole is on the move at a dramatically accelerated rate, more than 30 miles per year. Of course, that's not the rotation pole, but the magnetic pole, and it's not the north magnetic pole, it's the magnetic north pole. Confused? That's what the astroquarks are here for. Tune in for this, more interesting news about the complicated environments around the cool red stars that are home to so many exoplanets, space news, and trivia.

Direct download: Episode147_020819_Edit1.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 6:59pm EST

The astroquarks welcome Professor Mohamed Noor from Duke University, author of "Live Long and Evolve" to talk about evolution of humans and aliens, interspecies sex, and what we can learn about the big questions of life, the universe and everything from Star Trek. As if that wasn't enough, there's new intriguing information about Dark Energy, plus Nobel Prize trivia and space news featuring our recent payload flights with Blue Origin's New Shepard. Tune in for all your space and alien news.

Direct download: To_Seek_Out_and_Explore.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:10pm EST

Hold on to your solar system, the Milky Way may be in store for a galactic collision sooner than anticipated. And speaking of collisions, evidence from craters on the Moon as well as an apparent dearth of craters on the Earth (I just wanted to say dearth and Earth in the same sentence) suggest that the current rate of asteroid and comet impacts on the Earth is 2-3 times higher now than it was a few hundred million years ago. Zoe Landsman joins us for a traveling Addie to discuss all this, new research on the likelihood of life in the ocean of Europa, and Top quark trivia.

Direct download: Galaxy_Right_Ahead.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:57am EST

2019 began with the successful flyby of Ultima Thule (2014 MU69 - more on the name in the show!) by the New Horizons spacecraft, but there's much more to talk about, including a discovery of more Fast Radio Bursters (mysterious sources of tremendous energy), and observations that show phase transitions in White Dwarf stars. Josh, Addie and Jim have got it all, plus space news and trivia, in this episode that kicks off the Year of the Astroquark. You heard it here first!

Direct download: The_Year_of_the_Astroquark.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 5:58pm EST

The astroquarks look back on a momentous year for space exploration and look ahead at what to expect in 2019. Strange and Charm will have payloads flying to space, and Saturn's rings will still be around for a few years. But new studies of the mass of the rings and the rate of erosion, measured indirectly, suggest that if you wait a few hundred million years they may well be gone. Plus, Top Astroquark provides a bonus trivia for our year-ending holiday special episode!

Direct download: 2018_Year_in_Review_with_Top_Quark_Trivia.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:16pm EST

Space Reporter Brendan Byrne from WMFE 90.7, home of NPR in Central Florida, joins the Astroquarks to look at NASA's new exploration programs for the Moon and Mars. We have our first listener contribution with the pronunciation of the Mars 2020 Landing Site, and Jim goes off on Fahrenheit AND Celsius. Do not get him started! Plus space news and trivia and more.

Direct download: Jim_Goes_Off_on_Fahrenheit.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 11:31am EST

A long time ago a galaxy very close by plunged through the Milky Way, and a trail of dark matter from that miniature galaxy is passing through us all right now, including Dr. Brad Sandor who joins the astroquarks to talk dark matter, the Mars InSight lander, the Mars 2020 rover, Venus's atmosphere, lots of space news, and trivia. So much spacing going on in this episode! It's a real walkabout the galaxy.

Direct download: Dark_Matter_Hurricane.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 9:03pm EST

In our first letter-themed episode, the Astroquarks check in with Ryugu, Bennu, Ultima Thule, and Oumuamua, while Jim contemplates muumuus. We also talk about dynamically trapped dust clouds near the Earth to make Addie happy, and we have a truly embarrassing sponsor. We're sincerely sorry, but you'll enjoy all the U's, from asteroids, to missions to a U-themed trivia. We do it all for you!

Direct download: Its_All_About_U.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 10:52am EST

We almost called this "Everything you wanted to know about alien sex with Dr. Michael Wall", but it's not alien sex with Mike Wall, it's Mike Wall telling us about alien sex! A senior writer with Space.com and author of the new book Out There, Mike joins the astroquarks to talk about aliens, paranormal beliefs, and an exotic type of star called a dark star. Plus space news, trivia, and it turns out the astroquarks are really interested in three-way alien sex.

Direct download: Everything_You_Wanted_to_Know_About_Alien_Sex.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 3:28pm EST

In this wide-ranging episode, the gang takes a look at the recently launched BepiColombo mission to Mercury and why it takes so long to get to such a relatively near planetary neighbor. On the astrophysical front, the relatively cool stars that host most of the observed exoplanets in our corner of the galaxy are prone to large solar flares. The astroquarks discuss the implications for extraterrestrial life, and that brings us back to Europa, an ocean world orbiting Jupiter whose surface may be punctuated by tall ice spires called penitentes, also seen in snow and ice on Earth. Plus trivia, space news, and, as always, a new sponsor!

Direct download: Fireballs_and_Penitentes.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 4:28pm EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

"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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST