In this show we find out about the ongoing upgrades to the Very Large Array in New Mexico from Dr Rick Perley (US National Radio Astronomy Observatory). We put your astronomical questions to Dr Tim O'Brien, get a summary of recent news and events and round-up the feedback we've received since the last show.
If you are going to Jodcast Live we have a page of useful information.
Very Large Array
Roy interviews Dr. Rick Perley (NRAO) on the history and the expansion of the VLA. This interview follows on from several other interviews that were recorded at the European Radio Interferometry School in Oxford.
The Very Large Array consists of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration. Each antenna is 25 meters in diameter. After more than 20 years of science, people started working on an upgrade for the VLA that would make it more sensitive and accurate. Rick also talks about how he started his career at the VLA and his hobby as a meteorologist providing data to Weather Underground.
Ask an Astronomer
Tim O'Brien answers listener questions.
- Margaret Feaster asks about the formation of the dark "seas" or maria on the Moon and about the distribution of craters. Checkout the HD video of the Moon (and Earth) taken by the Kaguya spacecraft.
- Alistair Macpherson asks whether the two orange lights he saw in the sky from Cheshire (UK) could have been anything to do with the launch of the Ares I-X rocket. It all depends on whether the rocket was visible above his local horizon.
- Jeffery Smith writes in to ask about a strange phenomenon of a pulsating cluster of stars. He suggests an explanation relating to the technique of using averted vision.
- James Flynn wants to know how to spot planets from the back garden: Stellarium software, the Night Sky This Month webpages, Astronomy Now, Sky at Night, Sky and Telescope magazines.
- Philip Le Riche asks why globular clusters aren't "evaporating" by flinging stars out into intergalactic space or down into the black hole thought to lurk at their centres.
Odds and Ends
The Leonid Meteor Shower - debris from Comet Tempel Tuttle - is taking place just as this show comes out. See Sky and Telescope for observing tips. You can also check out the Jodrell Bank Meteor Detector and the International Meteor Organization.
|Interview:||Dr Rick Perley and Roy Smits|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr Tim O'Brien|
|Presenters:||David Ault, Megan Argo, Adam Avison, Jen Gupta and Stuart Lowe|
|Editors:||Stuart Lowe and Roy Smits|
|Segment voice:||Ian McDonald|
|Cover art:||The Very Large Array Credit: NRAO/AUI and NRAO|