We begin this episode with a look back at the life of Sir Bernard Lovell, founder of Jodrell Bank, who sadly died on the 6th of August at the age of 98. The University of Manchester's book of condolence for Sir Bernard Lovell can be found here . We also talk to Prof. Alan Hood about the solar atmosphere, Dr. Jacqueline Hodge about observing submillimetre galaxies with the VLA, and Prof. Ray Norris about Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project. This month's Jodbite features Jo Bowler, who tells us about the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and Dr Mark Purver answers your astronomical questions in Ask an Astronomer.
Obituary: Sir Bernard Lovell
We reflect on the life, work and legacy of Sir Bernard Lovell, from his radar research to the development of the Jodrell Bank Observatory and the radio telescope that bears his name.
JodBite with Jo Bowler
Science communication is not an easy job and being the junction between scientist and the general public is always tricky! In this month's Jodbite, we meet Jo Bowler, the Interim Outreach Officer for the Square Kilometre Array. She tells us about her job and gives us an insight into a few of the many science projects involving SKA.
Interview with Prof. Alan Hood
Professor Alan Hood talks to us about the solar atmosphere, what constitutes it, what drives it, and how mobile phone apps are being used to study it. He also tells us about the origin of extreme space weather events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, current efforts to understand space weather, and whether it has the potential to disrupt life here on Earth.
Interview with Dr. Jacqueline Hodge
Dr. Hodge from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg (Germany) talks to us about GN20, one of the earliest, most peculiar submillimetre galaxies ever observed (as it was 12 billion years ago). Unlike other submillimetre galaxies, which are thought to be formed during major mergers, GN20 shows indications of being formed from cold gas accretion - i.e. the gravitational agglomeration of matter.
Interview with Prof. Ray Norris
Prof. Ray Norris of CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) talked to us about the EMU (Evolutionary Map of the Universe) project. EMU is a future radio sky survey project that will use the ASKAP (Australian SKA Pathfinder) telescope, which was also discussed. Prof. Norris went on to describe the various scientific applications of EMU, such as its use in the classification of galaxies (e.g. active galaxies, star-forming galaxies and all those in between) and in constraining cosmological theories. He also talked about the use of EMU for WTF (Widefield ouTlier Finder) which will aim to identify objects of unknown type. Radio Zoo was also mentioned as a future project which, in collaboration with the Galaxy Zoo Project, will perform similar work at radio frequencies.
Ask an Astronomer
Dr Mark Purver answers your astronomical questions:
- The first question is from Philip Le Riche: "Dr Tim O'Brien said that the isotropy of the Universe implies that it must all have once been in thermal equilibrium. But when I sit down with a cup of coffee, it's generally about the same temperature as the cup of coffee I sat down with yesterday. That doesn't mean the two cups of coffee have ever been in thermal equilibrium, it's just that they both came out of a similar process. Could not the same be true of different regions of the Universe? And could it not be that, one day, we might find that fundamental constants like the speed of light have to have the values they do?"
- Charles Woolley says: "I found a 'back-of-the-envelope' calculation which said that it would take a radio dish 2.8km across to detect UHF television signals from our nearest star, Alpha Centauri. Could you detect that same signal if you used a radio interferometer with a baseline of 2.8km? And would we be able to use that signal to produce pictures and sounds?"
Mark refers to a paper which calculates that the Square Kilometre Array could detect television transmissions like our own from 50 light-years away, and he talks about making images using radio interferometers. Since recording, a paper has been published which discusses the first search for alien transmissions using Very Long Baseline Interferometry.
- Finally, CJ asks: "If time passes at different rates depending on the gravitational field, why don't satellites disappear? How far into the past or future would they have to travel before they blinked out of existence?"
In his answer, Mark discusses the difference between the rates of time passing on Earth and on a geostationary satellite.
Odds and Ends
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Kennedy Space Center has opened their doors to Google Street View. The project makes use of 6,000 photographs, taken over the space of a week by five Street View personnel, allowing access to areas usually only seen by employees and astronauts.
NASA is launching several initiatives to modernise its image and increase its appeal to young people. For example, they recently released Angry Birds Space, designed to encourage users to consider anti-gravity trajectories while they eliminate egg-stealing pigs! NASA is also responsible for the first DJ spin from space: astronaut Joe Acaba is hosting a radio show, entitled 'The Joe Show: New Rock From Space' from the International Space Station. The show is broadcast on NASA's radio station, Third Rock Radio , which is available on the NASA home page.
NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully landed on the surface of Mars, using a novel 'sky crane' landing system. Thanks to NASA's Mars Science Laboratory you can recreate this historic moment with a free Xbox Kinect game called Mars Rover Landing. Curiosity is now receiving software updates in preparation for its mission to study the Martian climate and geology.
|Obituary of Sir Bernard Lovell:||Megan Argo|
|JodBite:||Jo Bowler and Liz Guzman|
|Interview:||Prof. Alan Hood and Christina Smith|
|Interview:||Dr. Jacqueline Hodge and Melanie Gendre|
|Interview:||Prof. Ray Norris and Christina Smith|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr Mark Purver|
|Presenters:||Liz Guzman, Libby Jones, Cat McGuire|
|Editors:||Dan Thornton, Liz Guzman, Cat McGuire, Mark Purver, Christina Smith|
|Segment Voice:||Cormac Purcell|
|Segment Voice:||Cormac Purcell|
|Cover art:||Sir Bernard Lovell. CREDIT: Jodrell Bank, The University of Manchester|