In this episode we discover that meteorites can tell us a surprising amount about our solar system and its local neighbourhood.
During May, Professor Ernst Zinner visited Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and Stuart and Jen caught up with him. Around 22 years ago a group at the University of Chicago managed to isolate tiny dust grains in primitive meteorites. It turned out that these dust grains were actually little bits of star dust from stars that existed before our solar system. Many of the grains that have been studied have come from the Murchison meteorite but also meteorites collected in Antarctica. There are two types of grain seen: carbonaceous or oxygen rich grains. All of the carbonaceous grains were formed in stars rather than our solar system.
In this interview we find out how the meteorites are studied, about the existence of water on asteroids, and the discovery of nano-diamonds.
Ask an Astronomer
Roy puts listener questions to Tim O'Brien.
- John asks: "Instead of beaming the light from two sources together in an 'analog' way using mirrors to control the light paths, would it be possible to 'record' the light from two sources, digitally, along with an accurate timing signal, then combine the sources digitally in a computer?"
- Andrea asks: "Is it possible that we would ever feel stronger effects from a gravitational wave, i.e. if there was a large event in the universe close to us? I understand they're hard to detect but if something happens nearby would they be easier to detect and would we also notice any physical effects ourselves?"
- Paul says: "At around 10pm last night I sat out in the garden as I looked out into the sky there was a big bright orange ball like there was something on fire, so I rushed in to get my binoculars and looked at the object, it looked at about 32,000 feet probably more. The object WAS on fire and it was a dark triangular shape. Was anything reported your end? Thanks for your time on this. The area I live in is Leek in Staffordshire"
Odds and Ends
Over in the Forum, the list of astronomical acronyms is growing.
We talk more about Jodcast Live event which will be in either September, October or November. If you want to be there and have a preference, let us know in the comments.
|Interview:||Prof Ernst Zinner, Stuart Lowe and Jen Gupta|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr Tim O'Brien and Roy Smits|
|Presenters:||Megan Argo, Jen Gupta and Roy Smits|
|Editors:||Megan Argo, Roy Smits and Stuart Lowe|
|Segment voice:||Danny Wong-McSweeney|
|Cover art:||SEM-image of a presolar SiC-grain extracted by a new method avoiding the use of any acids. Credit: School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Uni. Manchester|