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April 2018 Extra: Very Close and Very Far

April 2018 Extra

Very Close and Very Far. In the show this time, we talk to Dr. Steven Longmore tells us about star formation in the galactic centre, Dr. Rachael Ainsworth tells us about advocating for open science and addressing gender inequality in this month's JodBite, and your astronomy questions are answered by Dr. Iain McDonald in Ask an Astronomer.

JodBite with Dr. Rachael Ainsworth

Dr. Rachael Ainsworth talks about how she is advocating for open science in astronomy through the Mozilla Global Sprint 2018 and her project entitled Resources for Open Science in Astronomy. She also discusses and combatting gender imbalance in STEM through the women in data meetup group Her+Data MCR (also on Twitter at @herplusdata).

Interview with Dr. Steven Longmore

Dr. Steven Longmore discusses his work on star formation, particularly his work studying star formation in the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy and how the environment is very different from the region near the Sun. He also discusses the general research activities of the Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University, the robotic Liverpool Telescope, whch is operated by the research group, and the application of astronomy to conservation efforts.

Ask an Astronomer

Dr. Iain McDonald answers your astronomical questions:

Odds and Ends

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the most distant individual star ever seen. The star, nicknamed Icarus but officially designated MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1, is located in a spiral galaxy 9 billion light years away. This means that Icarus appears as it was when the Universe was only about a third its current age. Analysis of the colours of the new point of light showed to be a blue supergiant star. However, despite how intrinsically bright Icarus is, it would still be much too faint to be seen by Hubble at a distance of 9 billion light years. Luckily, the light from Icarus underwent two instances of gravitational lensing in which the gravitational forces from two objects between the star and Earth have bent and magnified the light from the star.

The IAU has officially approved the names for the first set of surface features on Charon, Pluto's largest Moon. After the first ever observations of these features by the New Horizon probe which visited the Pluto system in 2015 the New Horizon's team, following suggestions by the public submitted using the OurPluto.org website, created a list of names which have now been officially approved by the IAU. The features have all been named after real or fictitious explorers and visionaries. Among the most notable names are Argo Chasma (named for the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts), Clarke Montes (named after science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke), Dorothy Crater (named for Dorothy Gale in L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz), and Kubrick Mons (named for film director Stanley Kubrick).

NASA make their case to the United States Congress for funding for future missions to the Moon. There are many exciting scientific prospects that the moon provides ranging from studying its composition to placing telescopes on it and utilising its sparse atmosphere to make improved observations than on Earth. See this news article from SpaceNews for more information.

Show Credits

JodBite:Dr. Rachael Ainsworth and Alex Clarke
Interview:Dr. Steven Longmore and Tom Scragg
Ask An Astronomer:Dr. Iain McDonald and Eunseoung Lee
Presenters:Adam Avison, Tana Joseph and Nialh McCallum
Editors:George Bendo, Naomi Asambre Frimpong, Alex Clarke, and Jinjin Xie
Segment Voice:Tess Jaffe
Website:George Bendo and Stuart Lowe
Producer:George Bendo
Cover art:A Hubble Space Telescope of the cluster of galaxies MACS J1149+2223, which contains the most distant star ever seen. CREDIT: NASA, ESA, S. Rodney and the FrontierSN team; T. Treu, P. Kelly and the GLASS team; J. Lotz and the Frontier Fields team; M. Postman and the CLASH team; and Z. Levay (STScI)

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