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December 2018 Extra: There And Back Again

December 2018 Extra

In the show this time, we talk to Morgane Fortin about using neutron stars as multimessenger laboratories, Justin Bray tells us about developing a particle detector for the Murchison Observatory in this month's JodBite, and your astronomy questions are answered by Iain McDonald in Ask an Astronomer.

JodBite with Justin Bray

Dr. Justin Bray joins us from Australia, where he and his team have been installling a prototype particle detector at the remote Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Australia. The team have developed and constructed the prototype at Jodrell Bank over the past year, in order to detect particle showers produced by cosmic rays. We discuss the difficulties in keeping equipment cool in the Australian outback, why some telescopes need remote sites and the role that cosmic ray detections can play alongside radio telescopes as part of multi-messenger astronomy.

Interview with Morgane Fortin

Dr. Morgane Fortin from the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre in Poland discusses her work on neutron stars. The composition and structure of these extreme objects is not well understood, but Morgane outlines her work so far on how they can be modelled and the different types of exotic matter that might be present in their makeup.

Ask an Astronomer

Iain McDonald answers your astronomical questions:

Odds and Ends

The Chang'e 4 satellite is a Chinese lunar exploration mission launched on December 7th. The landing is scheduled for 3rd January 2019 (and has since been successfully made). The spacecraft is named after Chang'e, the Chinese Moon goddess. This mission aims to land on the far side of the moon and explore Von Karman Crater. The crater is located at the South Pole-Aitken basin, which is one of the largest impact craters known in the solar system. There were sayings that the impact force created the crater might travel pass from moon earth crust to its mantle. And Chang'e 4 will attempt to examine the idea. The lander of Chang'e 4 has a Landing Camera (LCAM), a Low-Frequency Spectrometer (LFS) to study solar bursts, and Lunar Lander Neutrons and Dosimetry (LND) experiment. The lander also carries a 3kg sealed container with seeds (e.g., potato) and insect eggs (silkworm) to test if plants and insects could hatch and grow together in synergy.

After 41 years in transit, Voyager 2 has recently passed through the heliopause, one of our Solar System's boundaries. Beyond this, the effects of the Sun's solar wind and magnetic fields give way to the cold interstellar medium. Both Voyager probes are set to keep on travelling and exploring their new surroundings - as well as to carry their golden discs, in the event that an interstellar traveller chances upon them.

Josh's latest planet-based rambling concerns GJ 3470b, one of only a few "hot Neptunes" currently known to us. This planet has recently been targeted by Hubble, which found the planet is surrounded by a massive hydrogen lobe, streaming off the planet under the irradiation of its host star. This offers a possible explanation for the dearth of hot Neptunes observed; they simply might not live for very long before being boiled away by their host stars.

Over at Jodwatch, we have a Doctor Who news item; the Lovell telescope was originally intended to be used in the filming of the Fourth Doctor's final TV episode, Logopolis, but a model was ultimately used instead. In a moment long prepared for, an upcoming special edition release from the BBC includes scenes which have been reshot at Jodrell Bank! More details can be found here.

If you're looking for our traditional December pantomime, it got a little out of hand - to the point where it needed its own release! You can find it here.

Show Credits

JodBite:Justin Bray, Jake Staberg Morgan and Bin Yu
Interview:Morgane Fortin and James Stringer
Ask An Astronomer:Iain McDonald and Michael Wright
Presenters:Josh Hayes, Fiona Porter and Hongming Tang
Editors:Alex Clarke, Tiaan Bezuidenhout, Lizzy Lee and Tom Scragg
Segment Voice:Tess Jaffe
Website:Jake Staberg Morgan and Stuart Lowe
Producer:Jake Staberg Morgan
Cover art:A Neolithic stone circle, sent in by Jodcast listener Piran Montford. CREDIT: Piran Montford

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