Solstice Present. In this show we talk to Sir Francis Graham-Smith about his life, being Astronomer Royal and his work on pulsars. We put your astronomical questions to the Jodcast panel, and round-up the feedback we've received during the Live shows.
Sir Francis Graham-Smith
Nick interviews Sir Francis Graham-Smith (Jodrell Bank). Sir Francis started working in radio astronomy at Cambridge at a point before it was even called radio astronomy. He joined Sir Martin Ryle, shortly after World War II, when he was using a simple interferometer to detect radio waves from the Sun. They went on to build better interferometers to accurately determine the position of the objects that they started to discover.
In those days our Galaxy was about as far as astronomers looked and there was very little observational work on objects much more distant. Once they had found around 50 extra-galactic sources a statistical picture started to emerge about the Universe as a whole.
Sir Francis was given the first job he had ever had at Manchester. He tells us about his move to the north, the move of the Royal Observatory from Herstmonceux to Cambridge, being Astronomer Royal and his long-term research interests in pulsating neutron stars.
Ask an Astronomer
In a change to normal, the entire Jodcast team answer questions from the live studio audience (and Twitter). Amongst the questions were:
- What is a meteorite actually made of?
- What happened before the big bang?
- What stops spiral arms in galaxies from wrapping up? In answer to this question we showed this video of a circular traffic jam from New Scientist.
- What is the difference between absolute and apparent brightness?
- When do you think people will go to Mars? (As long as we get there and it doesn't go this badly.)
- Why do some planets not have their axis of rotation orientated with their orbit?
- Sir Francis Graham Smith discusses his breakfast
- Chris Lintott dreams of breakfast
- David Ault: the man of one voice
|Interview:||Sir Francis Graham-Smith and Nick Rattenbury|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr Chris Lintott, Dr Nick Rattenbury, Dr Megan Argo, Dr Stuart Lowe, Jen Gupta, Neil Young and David Ault|
|Presenters:||David Ault, Megan Argo, Jen Gupta, Chris Lintott, Stuart Lowe, Nick Rattenbury and Neil Young|
|Editors:||Stuart Lowe and Jen Gupta|
|Segment voice:||Kerry Hebden|
|Cover art:||The Jodcast Team Credit: Chris Ward|