99 episodes

The astronomy and space exploration podcast

The Star Spot Justin Trottier

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 23 Ratings

The astronomy and space exploration podcast

    Did a Supernova Cause a Mass Extinction?, with Brian Fields

    Did a Supernova Cause a Mass Extinction?, with Brian Fields

    Feature Guest: Brian Fields
    By now we are all familiar with the theory that an asteroid brought to an end the age of the dinosaurs, a period of domination that had lasted 167 million years. But asteroids are not the only harbingers of doom that lurk in the darkness of space. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Brian Fields, whose research team has found evidence linking supernovae events in deep space to mass extinction events in deep time.
    Current in Space
    Tony reports on the mystery of the vanished star. Then Jeff describes electromagnetic flare from a gravitational wave event caused by two merging black holes. And Camilla brings news of two new super-Earths. Finally Amelia and Priyanka offer an explanation for radio waves caused by pulsars.
    About Our Guest
    Brian Fields is Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Illinois

    • 41 min
    The 18411Milky Way's First Fast Radio Burst, with Sandro Mereghetti

    The 18411Milky Way's First Fast Radio Burst, with Sandro Mereghetti

    Feature Guest: Sandro Mereghetti
    Fast radio bursts are a new mystery in astronomy. These highly energetic events of unknown origin were first discovered in 2007 out in deep space. Now a team is reporting the first fast radio burst to emanate from our own Milky Way Galaxy. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Sandro Mereghetti, whose team is on the hunt for the source of this unusual phenomenon.  
    Current in Space
    Camilla shares the remarkable discovery, or rather re-discovery, of the heartbeat of a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy, found still alive and kicking ten years after being first observed. In addition to the supermassive black hole shaping the environment at the centre of our home galaxy, Amelia and Priyanka explain that something else there is also calling the shots (and no, it's definitely not like what we saw in Star Trek V). In other black hole news, Finally, Jeff brings us back down to Earth (though still above Earth), as SpaceX is launching ever more Starlink satellites into orbit to provide high-speed Internet coverage to citizens of our planet. There's only one problem: the future of ground-based astronomy may be at stake.
    About Our Guest
    Sandro Mereghetti is research staff member at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Milan.

    • 41 min
    COVID-19 Meets the NASA Space Apps Challenge, with James Slifierz

    COVID-19 Meets the NASA Space Apps Challenge, with James Slifierz

    Feature Guest: James Slifierz
    The NASA Space Apps Challenge is a feverish annual hackathon engaging teams of coders, scientists and storytellers around the world. Each year thousands of participants in over 75 countries compete to solve real-world problems in Earth and in space.  As the Challenge celebrates its 10 year anniversary it faces one of the most demanding challenges of our generation: COVID-19. To discuss how NASA is turning the global pandemic from a challenge into an opportunity, today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by James Slifierz, Co-founder and CEO of Skywatch and a 2014 NASA Space Apps global winner. 
    Current in Space
    Camille reports on the closest black hole to Earth. Then Jeff announces the Artemis Accords. Anshool shares a new high-resolution infrared image of Jupiter. Finally Amelia and Priyanka describe a planetary system with six planets that orbit in near-perfect rhythm. 
    About Our Guest
    James Slifierz is Co-founder and CEO of Skywatch, a private company with a mission to make earth observation data accessible to developers for a wide variety of applications. He is also responsible for bringing the NASA Space Apps Challenge to Waterloo, Ontario, where each year it proves to be one of the top locations in the world.

    • 38 min
    Planet Nine or Black Hole One, with Jakub Scholtz

    Planet Nine or Black Hole One, with Jakub Scholtz

    Feature Guest: Jakub Scholtz
    We’ve long believed that membership in the solar system’s planetary family was limited to those eight planets we learned about in grade school. But then astronomers began to raise the possibility of a new super-Earth-sized planet, five to ten times the mass of Earth, orbiting far off in the outer solar system. Now if you thought the concept of Planet Nine was astonishing, consider if the mysterious body wasn’t a planet at all - but a black hole. That’s right, Planet Nine might be Black Hole One, our own solar system’s very first singularity. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by astrophysicist Jakub Scholtz, co-author of a new study making the case for this fascinating proposal. 
    Current in Space
    Tony celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. Then Jeff reports on water loss from mysterious interstellar comet Borisov.
    About Our Guest
    Jakub Sholtz is Junior Research Fellow at the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University in the UK. He earned his PhD at the University of Washington, where he was awarded the Hadley Fellowship, and performed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University.

    • 40 min
    Reports of Betelgeuse’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated, with Emily Levesque

    Reports of Betelgeuse’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated, with Emily Levesque

    Feature Guest: Emily Levesque
    In December 2019, amateur and professional astronomers held their breath as the red supergiant Betelgeuse started dimming beyond anything on record, a sign the behemoth might be preparing to go supernova. But over the ensuing few months, things seemed to be returning to normal for this fascinating star. To solve the mystery, a team set out to investigate this bizarre behaviour and to shed light on the fate of Betelgeuse. Today we’re joined here at the Star Spot by Emily Levesque to discuss their findings. 
    Current in Space
    A supergiant haul of stories this week. First Camilla reports on the largest ozone hole ever seen over North Pole. Then Jeff shares evidence of an elusive mid-sized black hole. And Anshool brings news of many more satellite galaxies around the Milky Way. Followed by Amelia and Priyanka’s obituary on the passing of astronomer Margaret Burbidge. Finally Joseph updates us on the proposed mission to Enceladus.
    About Our Guest
    Emily Levesque is Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington. Previously she worked as a Post Doc at the University of Colorado, during which she held Einstein and Hubble Fellowships. She is a recipient of the Sloan Fellowship and the Annie Jump Cannon Award. Her work focuses on massive stars and galaxy formation.

    • 41 min
    Wormholes through Space and Time, with John Cramer

    Wormholes through Space and Time, with John Cramer

    Feature Guest: John G. Cramer
    They are the stuff of science fiction, but wormholes are also the subject of intense scientific debate. Can wormholes provide a mechanism for faster than light travel through space and, even more intriguing, do they open the door to travel through time? Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by one of the world’s foremost authorities on wormholes, Professor John G. Cramer, to share results from his thought experiments on wormholes and his laboratory experiments aimed at changing the past.  
    Current in Space
    Jeff starts us off with a bang... the largest bang we've ever seen in the universe. Then Camilla unveils the name of the next generation Mars rover. And Anshool ponders the chances of finding life around a black hole. Finally Amelia and Priyanka pay tribute to pioneering mathematician Katherine Johnson.
    About Our Guest
    John G Cramer is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Washington. He has made contributions to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider project at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the particle accelerator at CERN. He is known for his experiments in quantum retrocausality, which explore the possibility of effects preceding causes. Cramer is a regular guest on the Science Channel and NPR, and he has authored multiple books of hard science fiction.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

so fffhhkgxcyu ,

WOW. JUST WOW.

Hey I am nine years old and this podcast is so good😍! I cannot find another word in my vocabulary for it except WOW 🤩!

NivvyK ,

Great Podcast

Very interesting good stuff

ying0 ,

Interesting pilot episode

Very intriguing topic. The idea that there are billions of planets in our galaxy alone is astounding!

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