In the show this time, Katie Detwiler talks to us about the cultural anthropology of ALMA, Dr. Joe Zuntz tells us about weak lensing and his departure from Jodrell Bank and your astronomical questions are answered by Minnie, Ben and George in Ask an Astronomer.
Jodbite with Dr. Joe Zuntz
Dr. Joe Zuntz returns to the Jodcast to talk to Monique about his time at the University of Manchester. No longer bouncing around different wavelengths, Joe has spent the last few years playing a crucial role in the Dark Energy Survey, which aims to probe the dynamics of the Universe and learn more about dark energy. He's leaving Manchester for a lectureship at the University of Edinburgh, where he will continue working on the Large Synoptic Sky Survey.
Interview with Katie Detwiler
Katie Detwiler is a Doctoral Candidate for Cultural Anthropology from The New School for Social Research, New York City. She has been visiting Manchester to talk to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) team about how the massive data loads generated by ALMA are managed. Previously Katie has spent time visiting the basecamp of ALMA, the Operations Support Facility in Chile, ALMA, and tells us about her time doing anthropological fieldwork in Chile, filming at the ALMA site, and studying the practices of both the teams contracted to build ALMA, and the radio astronomers themselves. She is interested in the revolution of big data: in many aspects of modern life, including in the field of astronomy, we are now producing far too much data to analyse using the techniques of the past. Questions such as how this data is managed, stored and distributed, intellectual property rights and the inevitable problem of necessary data disposal are all discussed in this interview. Katie also discusses contributions that ALMA have made to its local community in Chile, the rise of astro-tourism, the politics behind the development of such a large radio telescope site, and the neccessary policies which must be put in place in order to protect and conserve the pristine conditions of Chile's night sky- an important project for a country which considers the sky to be one of its natural resources.
Ask an Astronomer
Minnie, Ben and George answer your astronomical questions: The distance to the Sun, life on Mars and the number of stars in the Universe
- Emelia asks, "How far away is the Sun?"
- Natalie wants to know if there's life on Mars
- Joshua asks "How many stars are there in space?"
Odds and Ends
- The mechanism that leads to the presence of rings around planets is not established. It's possible, according to a new study, that tidal interactions between the giant planets and peices of debris left over during the Late Heavy Bombardment are responsible for the presence of rings around the 4 giant planets in our solar system. This model even accounts for the differences in ring composition between Saturn and the ice giants. You can read more on this result here.
- On the night of Monday November 14th, the moon was at its closest point to Earth since 1948. This is because the moon orbits in an elliptical, rather than perfectly circular) path around the Earth, and it will soon reach perigee - the point in its orbit when it is some 50,000 km closer to us than at apogee (the point where it is furthest from us). The resulting supermoon appears to be much brighter, and about 7% wider than an average moon. But this is somewhat more difficult to tell with the naked eye than you would expect. So have you ever looked at the moon and thought it appeared larger than it really was? If so, chances are the moon was close to the horizon at the time, and all sorts of illusory factors were coming into play. So never fear, even if you missed this supermoon, there will be plenty of opportunities to see it looking larger than life in the future!To read more about the supermoon, and the moon illusion click here and here.
What happens to satellites once they're no longer useful? In an ideal scenario, satellites would be designed to fall safely back to Earth once they've finished operating. In practice, there are thousands of pieces of debris circling the Earth, much of which dates back to the Cold War. In the show we discuss the Kessler syndrome, which describes the growth of space junk over time, and an upcoming ESA mission to collect a satellite. The podcast 99% Invisible also has a fantastic episode on space junk, where they speak to an archaeologist who studies space junk.
|Interview:||Dr Joe Zuntz with Monique Henson|
|Interview:||Katie Detwiler with Charlie Walker|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr. Minnie Mao, Benjamin Shaw and Dr. George Bendo|
|Presenters:||Benjamin Shaw, Monique Henson and Charlie Walker|
|Show Editors:||Adam Avison and Naomi Asabre Frimpong|
|Segment editors:||Tom Armitage, George Bendo and Jake Morgan|
|Website:||Benjamin Shaw, Andy May and Stuart Lowe|
|Producers:||Benjamin Shaw and Andy May|
|Cover art:||A computer-generated image representing space debris as seen from high Earth orbit. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons|