Originally titled 'Friends of Neutron Stars'. In the show this time, we talk to Dr. Anna Watts about thermonuclear bursts on neutron stars, Benjamin Shaw tells us about a glitchy pulsar in this month's JodBite, and your astronomy questions are answered by Mateusz Malenta in Ask an Astronomer.
Extended JodBite with Benjamin Shaw
One of our Jodcast veterans, Ben is now making his first appearance on the other side of the mic. He discusses a recent paper he and Manchester colleagues published (available on arXiv), detailing the largest ever glitch observed in the Crab pulsar. The exact nature of the pulsar and mechanism behind the glitches are still unclear - but it's almost certainly not like a cup of tea. We also have the chance to reflect on his time as one of the executive producers of the Jodcast.
Interview with Dr. Anna Watts
Dr. Anna Watts (Associate Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam) talks to the Jodcast about nuclear explosions on the surface of neutron stars in binary systems. Such explosions provide ways of exploring the equation of state of the star, including the possibility of strange matter deep in the interior. Anna also talks about her work on the development of future X-ray satellites with NASA, ESO and JAXA.
Ask an Astronomer
Mateusz Malenta answers your astronomical questions:
- Colin Stenning asks: "Are there any non-Newtonian fluids that could be used in neutrino detectors instead of water, that would help limit the damage caused when one of the modules blows up and so prevent the extensive damage caused by such a situation? I'm guessing custard isn't suitable!"
- Frances Day asks: "Does the recent finding that there are 10 times more galaxies in the universe than previously thought have any impact on estimates of dark matter's contribution to total mass (in the Universe)?"
- Simon Street asks: "Is it just me, or are others worried with the degree of effort to look for (or the possibility of) life in the solar system or exoplanets? Would we be better spending the budget looking at chemistry in general on Mars, than focusing mainly on hydrocarbons? Or is this a media distortion? I totally agree it would be amazing to eventually find extraterrestrial life (independent origin from Earth), but are we in danger of not doing good science and missing something, e.g. Mars Curiosity, ExoMars, 2020 etc..?"
Odds and Ends
An ongoing interstellar mystery is that of anomalous microwave emission (AME), with a previous candidate emitter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) now no longer a main suspect. However, some new detective work seems to point the finger at nanodiamonds - tiny carbon crystals coated in hydrogen, embedded in young stellar disks.
Earlier this month, NASA announced that the Curiosity rover had discovered organic molecules on the surface of Mars. Whilst exciting, this is NOT the announcement that life has been discovered. We discuss the importance of this discovery, and how it might relate to the simultaneous announcement of atmospheric methane cycles.
In other news, Curiosity's sister rover, Opportunity is covered in dust and has gone to sleep as a dust storm the size of Asia has blotted out the Sun. Opportunity shut down, sending out this tweet to illustrate just how bad the storm was. Will Opportunity survive? We just don't know.
|JodBite:||Benjamin Shaw and Jake Staberg Morgan|
|Interview:||Dr. Anna Watts and Tom Scragg|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Mateusz Malenta and Eunseong Lee|
|Presenters:||Rachael Ainsworth, Emma Alexander and Josh Hayes|
|Editors:||Naomi Asabre Frimpong, Mark Kennedy and Jake Staberg Morgan|
|Segment Voice:||Mike Peel|
|Website:||Jake Staberg Morgan and Stuart Lowe|
|Producer:||Jake Staberg Morgan|
|Cover art:||The heart of the Crab Nebula. CREDIT: NASA, ESA|