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January 2012 Extra: Bitten

January 2012 Extra

In the show this time, Dr David Floyd tells us about quasar microlensing and we talk to Dr Tim O'Brien about his role at Jodrell Bank in the first JodBite. As always, your questions are answered by Dr Iain McDonald and we round up some odds and ends from the world of astronomy.

JodBite with Dr Tim O'Brien

In this first JodBite, Dr Tim O'Brien discusses his role at Jodrell Bank, including his research into classical and recurrent nova explosions, supernovae and planetary nebulae. Tim also talks about his public engagement activities including the BBC show Stargazing Live, and some unique events like Live from Jodrell Bank, a rock festival in the shadow of the Lovell telescope.

Interview with Dr David Floyd

Dr. David Floyd (Monash University, Australia) talks to Leo and Mark about quasar microlensing. He describes what a quasar is and why their central engines, massive black holes surrounded by disks of very hot matter, are interesting. He also explains how gravitational microlensing allows us to use the stars in foreground galaxies to probe the centres of distant quasars and understand the black holes that power them.

Ask an Astronomer

Dr Iain McDonald answers your astronomical questions:

Odds and Ends

Spectacular images of Comet Lovejoy have been taken by NASA astronaut Dan Burbank from the International Space Station.

It has been reported that a former astronaut (Mae Jemison) has been appointed as head of the 100 Year Starship project. This is a project aimed at paving the way for technologies to be developed that would be required for a mission to another star system in 100 years time.

The RadioAstron 10 metre space radio telescope was used for the first time in November 2011 as part of an interferometer array including several telescopes on the ground. Using aperture synthesis, the RadioAstron team effectively have a telescope 30 times the size of the Earth.

Globe At Night is a public participation research project aimed at measuring how the night sky around the planet has changed over the past six years. You can, at the time of release, take part in the current survey here.

Show Credits

JodBite:Dr. Tim O'Brien and Libby Jones
Interview:Dr David Floyd, Leo Huckvale and Mark Purver
Ask An Astronomer:Dr Iain McDonald
Presenters:Stuart Harper, Leo Huckvale, Libby Jones and Christina Smith
Editors:Jen Gupta, George Bendo, Mark Purver and Christina Smith
Producer:Christina Smith
Segment Voice:Mike Peel
Website:Christina Smith and Stuart Lowe
Cover art:Comet Lovejoy just before Dawn. CREDIT: lrargerich (flickr)

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