Walkabout the Galaxy

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

Ten years after the development of a dramatic new picture of the early history of the solar system, dubbed the Nice model (it was created at the Observatory in Nice, France), it has undergone several tweaks and modifications. The model posits a reshuffling of the big planets that led to a number of our current solar system's notable features, such as the late heavy bombardment, the distribution of orbits of asteroids and comets, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. On this episode of WtG, we welcome Akbar Whizin to discuss new research that reshuffles the Nice reshuffling, as well the new Star Trek TV show and the charming nature of baseball statistics.

Direct download: Nice_Model_Not_So_Nice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14am 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