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June 2014 Extra: Detonate

June 2014 Extra

In the show this time, Dr Daniel Mortlock talks to us about astrostatistics, Dr Matias Vidal tells us about his research in this month's JodBite, and your astronomical questions are answered by Dr Joe Zuntz in Ask an Astronomer.

JodBite with Dr Matias Vidal

Dr Matias Vidal from the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics talks to Indy Leclercq about his research.

Interview with Dr Daniel Mortlock

Indy Leclercq speaks to Dr Daniel Mortlock from Imperial College London about Astrostatistics.

Ask an Astronomer

Dr Joe Zuntz answers your astronomical questions:

Odds and Ends

The Gaia spacecraft, which was launched by the European Space Agency in December 2013 to map the positions of stars in the Milky Way, has run into some problems. The highly-sensitive detectors on the spacecraft are detecting stray light from multiple sources, including the Sun. This is particularly surprising because the scientific payload, including the optical components and the detectors, is located in a 3m wide cylindrical structure located behind a 10m wide sunshield. This may simply illustrate how light from a very bright source can diffract around any surface. More technical information is available here, or you check out the BBC article.

Attempts are still being made to accurately measure Newton's gravitational constant, G. Most of our measurements of G come from an apparatus designed by Cavendish in the 1700s. Unfortunately, measurements made with the Cavendish set-up are not consistent with each other. A team of scientists have devised a new way of measuring G, by observing interactions between cold rubidium atoms. You can read about it here, and check out the Nature paper.

Show Credits

JodBite:Dr Matias Vidal and Indy Leclercq
Interview:Dr Daniel Mortlock and Indy Leclercq
Ask An Astronomer:Dr Joe Zuntz and Indy Leclercq
Presenters:George Bendo, Fiona Healy and Indy Leclercq
Editors:Sally Cooper, George Bendo and Indy Leclercq
Segment Voice:Tess Jaffe
Website:Sally Cooper and Stuart Lowe
Producer:Sally Cooper
Cover art:Artist's impression of the E-ELT. CREDIT: ESO/L. Calcada

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