Max Alexander Photographs
Stuart visited an exhibtion of portraits of astronomers by Max Alexander at the Glasgow Science Centre. Max describes his photographs featuring professional and amateur astronomers from around the UK.
Professor Matt Griffin (Cardiff University) talked about ESA's Herschel space observatory that launched in May 2009. Matt tells us about the latest results that were announced at the National Astronomy Meeting. After the interview, Adam told us that Herschel had recently found a hole in space too.
Ask an Astronomer
Tim answers your questions:
- Ron Davison writes in with "some information that may be useful to the gentleman who inquired about astronomy for the blind in the last episode. If you listen to the March 6th podcast of 365 Days of Astronomy the presenter discusses how to watch a solar eclipse if it is overcast by using a chart recorder and simple antenna/amplifier to monitor the radio emissions from the Sun. If one were to use an audio amplifier in addition, a blind person would be able to 'see' the eclipse aurally. I thought that would be a unique way to experience an eclipse."
- Mark Jones from Texas, asks "When viewing an image of a galaxy as seen at an angle, such as the Andromeda Galaxy or even more so with M98, to what extent is the image distorted by the fact that the galaxy is rotating and the light from the far side of the galaxy has traveled many thousands of light years further than the light from the near side? In essence, we should be seeing a lag in the rotation of the far side of the galaxy as compared to the near side. Right? Is this lag long enough to cause a significant distortion in the image?".
- We recently announced our discovery of a mystery object in the starburst galaxy M82 which appears to be moving at 4x the speed of light. Miguel Wherner writes in from South America to let us know that some people have suggested this object might crash into the earth in 2012!
- Martin from Dublin, Ireland, asks "Do you think my newborn child will see an unmanned interstellar probe launched during his lifetime?". Tim mentions the Voyager Interstellar Mission.
- Martin also asks "Do we know more about our closest stars, than those further away? Does it matter if a star is 4 light years away or 1,000 light years away when it comes to the information we get when we point a telescope at it?". Tim mentions the RECONS project.
Odds and Ends
Jupiter's Southern Equatorial Band has disappeared over the past year. According to Emily Lakdawalla, it does this every 3-15 years.
Stuart responded to some of the improvements suggested in the survey:
- One listener asked for us to have "no gaps or ads". The podcast doesn't have adverts or gaps so we assume they may be listening to the show via astronomy.fm. Subscribe to the podcast for the original show.
- Several listeners asked for southern hemisphere content in the night sky section. Ian has recently been including some content and we are working with some people in New Zealand to bring more.
- A listener asked about adding a "contents page" to the podcast. Whilst an audio contents page is not practical (because the exact content and length of the show isn't known until the final edit) we do include the times of the individual segments in the description included in the RSS feed..
- For those who don't like listening to the feedback section of the show, we pointed out that it is placed at the end of the show deliberately (following feedback in our 2007 survey!) so you can choose to turn off when we reach the feedback section.
|Interview:||Max Alexander and Stuart Lowe|
|Interview:||Prof Matt Griffin and Stuart Lowe|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr Tim O'Brien|
|Presenters:||Stuart Lowe and Adam Avison|
|Editors:||Chris Tibbs, Adam Avison and Stuart Lowe|
|Segment voice:||Nadya Kunawicz|
|Cover art:||Herschel find a hole blown in the side of NGC 1999 (the green tinged cloud towards the top of the image) Credit: ESA/HOPS Consortium|