Welcome to your Astrophysics Podcasts: Hear from a different special guest each fortnight, & the latest astro news

Astrophiz 38: Richard Stephenson ‘Talking with Spacecraft’ & Dr Ian Musgrave’s ‘What’s Up Doc’


Our feature interview is with Richard Stephenson, who is the Operations Supervisor at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla in Australia.

The CDSCC is part of the Deep Space Network of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), managed in Australia by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Thanks to Glen Nagle (Episode 17) for facilitating this interview

Richard explains the technologies he uses to have up to 100 spacecraft contacts each week, and how he and his counterparts in Goldstone/Mojave and Madrid work in shifts around the clock to maintain two-way communications with 27 missions, including Cassini, Juno, New Horizons and the distant Voyager probes.

[Follow @nascom1 and @CanberraDSN on Twitter]

In our regular astrophotography and observations segment, Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave tells us what to look for in the night sky and reports on continuing ideal viewing conditions for Saturn and Mercury. In ‘Ian’s Tangent’ he tells us about different types of occultation and how they can be used to tell us the position, size and shape of asteroids.
[Follow @ianfmusgrave on Twitter]


Astrophiz 37: Robert Arrowsmith ‘The 8 metre Dish’ + Dr Ian Musgrave ‘What’s Up Doc’

In this episode we’re celebrating our first 12 months of Astrophiz, where we have published 37 episodes, and it looks like our diversity and social media policies are working well, for we’ve featured 15 male and 22 women astrophysicists, astronomers, NASA rocket scientists, particle physicists, mission scientists and instrument scientists from the UK, Spain, India, Norway, Japan, Russia, Romania, Germany, Canada, the US and Australia and had well over 9000 downloads to listeners in more than 50 countries. 
For our special anniversary episode, we are re-interviewing our very first guest, Robert Arrowsmith from Melbourne, Australia, who is now leading the construction of an 8 meter radio telescope for the Astronomical Society of Victoria. 
Rob is one of the leaders in the Radio-Astronomy arm of the ASV and in Episode #1 he described the work being done at the ASV Leon Mow Radio Observatory, which is located in a RF quiet zone site about 90 minutes north of Melbourne in SE Australia
In our regular astrophotography and observations segment, Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave tells us what to look for in the night sky and reports on ideal viewing conditions for Saturn and Mercury. In ‘Ian’s Tangent’ he tells us about a very rare discovery where a white dwarf and a brown dwarf are dancing in a very closely orbiting binary star system called a cataclysmic variable.
Next Episode: Richard Stephenson from the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex explains the technologies he uses to talk with Spacecraft like Cassini and the Voyagers.

Episode 36 – Danielle DeLatte ~ ‘It’s Rocket Science’ + Dr Ian Musgrave’s ‘What’s Up Doc’


Our feature interview is with Danielle DeLatte who is a PhD Student in Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Tokyo. Danielle is an aerospace engineer who has worked  at NASA Goddard as part of the Satellite Servicing Projects Division working on instruments for the Canada arm on the ISS. (Primarily on the SSPD mission,  and contributed to a few others). She runs ISU Space Cafe Tokyo, a monthly public space talk in Shimokitazawa where the themes range from space science/engineering to space policy and business strategies. Follow @DanielleDeLatte on Twitter

In our regular observing and astrophotography segment Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave tell us what’s up in the night sky this week, and how we are starting to discover ringed exoplanets. Follow @ianfmusgrave on Twitter and Astroblog

In the news this week: 
The ‘Wow signal’, and how it was probably not caused by a comet

Episode 35 Dr J-P Macquart ~ ‘Probing intergalactic space with Fast Radio Bursts’ – Dr Ian Musgrave ‘What’s Up Doc’

Image Credits: Pascal Tampubolon / A. Cherney

Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart – Senior research fellow at Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), Perth, Australia. He explains new discoveries about the mysterious FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts) and his team’s use of the CSIRO ASKAP array to use the latest FRB discoveries to better understand the properties of the intergalactic medium.

Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave – ‘What’s up Doc’ Tells us what to look for in the night sky this month, includes an update on the recent impact of an object on Jupiter and the ‘apogee moon’

News update: NASA’s Parker Solar probe, Citizen Scientists Identify Prehistoric Supernova and astrophysicists  solve mystery of how most antimatter in the Milky Way forms

Episode 34 – Dr. Anthony Horton – “Huntsman” & “Space-Eye” + Dr. Ian Musgrave’s ‘What’s Up Doc’

HORTON1Image Credits: A. Horton

Our feature interview is with Dr. Anthony Horton – Instrument Scientist at the AAO who tells us all about life as an Instrument Scientist for AAO and the Huntsman Telescope and the Space-Eye CubeSat telescope project. (Follow @vacant3rdman on Twitter)

In our regular Astrophotography and observing feature, Dr Ian ‘astroblog’ Musgrave gives us the skinny on the great current conditions for observing our Gas Giants.
(Follow @ianfmusgrave on Twitter)

In the News:
1. Vale Harold Weaver, 99, discoverer of Masers in space.
2. Renegrade Supermassive Black Hole hunted down
3. The smallest (oxymoronic) Supermassive Black Hole
4. The first image of a black hole (almost)

Astrophiz 33: Dr Elodie Thilliez – Debris Disks & Big Data + Dr Ian Musgrave “What’s Up Doc?’


Our feature interview is with Dr Elodie Thilliez. Elodie is a Data Scientist at the Deakin University Software and Technology Innovation Laboratory in Melbourne Australia, and completed her PhD at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University.  Elodie tells us about her research into debris disks and the role of big data in modern astronomy. Follow Elodie as @ET_Astro on Twitter

Dr Ian Musgrave in his regular feature, “What’s Up Doc”, tells us when and where to find our planets, how to catch the Eta Aquariid meteor shower this weekend, exoplanets and rings around asteroids. Check out Ian’s excellent Astroblog (just google it) or follow @ianfmusgrave on Twitter.

In the News:

With the Cassini mission all over the internet, we instead give you the background on Cassini the scientist.

Follow @Astrophiz on Twitter and Astrophiz on Facebook

Astrophiz32: Manisha Caleb Nails Fast Radio Bursts ~ Dr Ian Musgrave “What’s Up Doc?”


Our special guest is PhD candidate Manisha Caleb who has just made a wonderful breakthrough by using the revamped Molongo Observatory Synthesis Telescope to bring us breakthrough knowledge about mysterious FRB’s – Fast Radio Bursts

In our regular segment, we feature Dr Ian Musgrave of ‘Astroblog’ fame, and he tells us what to look for in the night and morning skies over the next few weeks. Watch for Jupiter, Saturn, Comets and rogue asteroids! 

And for Australians … get thee to the Warrumbungles.

In the News:

  1. Supermassive black holes collide revealing baby stars, by guest reporter Lara O’Brien, 
  2. Dark Matter in the Bullet Cluster, via Cosmos magazine  

Astrophiz 31: Dr Elisabetta Barberio “What’s the Matter with Dark Matter” ~ Dr Ian Musgrave “What’s up Doc”

Our feature interview is with Dr Elisabetta Barberio who explains a new Dark matter Experiment deep in a goldmine in South Eastern Australia. 
Astrophiz 31 is available on iTunes and Soundcloud.
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 2.42.53 pm
Elisabetta is a member of the Experimental Particle Physics Group at the University of Melbourne. Previously, she was a staff researcher at CERN, the European laboratory of Particle Physics. She was involved with data analysis in the OPAL experiment at the Large Electron Positron Collider at CERN, and has worked on the Higgs Boson and ATLAS, which is a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.
Dr Ian Musgrave in our regular feature, ‘What’s up Doc?’ tells us what to look for in the night sky this week using naked eye, binoculars or telescopes, and Jupiter is ruling our skies.
In the news:
Dr Brad Tucker and ANU astronomers launch a Citizen Science project and public search of the southern skies for the elusive ‘Planet Nine’ using data from the Skymapper telescope at Siding Springs in Australia. 
2.The largest magnetic fields ever found in the universe are caused by collisions between immense galaxy clusters, and these giant magnetic fields are millions of light years across and 100 times larger than the  Milky Way.
3. How to hunt for a black hole with a telescope the size of Earth. How do you photograph a black hole? Impossible you say? Inventive researchers have plans to do exactly that, and hope to grab the first images of an event horizon — the point of no return from the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way.
4. Using the Australian AAOmega+2dF Spectrograph and the Southern African Large Telescope astronomers have just discovered one of the most massive superclusters  in the universe hiding behind the Milky Way in the constellation of Vela. This is a massive group of several galaxy clusters, each one containing hundreds or thousands of galaxies. The researchers estimate that this Vela supercluster could contain somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 trillion stars. Their calculations also show Vela is about 800 million light-years distant and zooming farther and farther away from us at a speed of about 40 million mph (18,000 kilometers per second).

Astrophiz 30: Dr Elizabeth Tasker debunks ‘Earth2.0’ in Trappist-1 system + Dr Ian Musgrave ‘What’s Up Doc?’

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 11.22.11 am(This is Tallis, who owns Elizabeth)

Astrophiz30: Out now on iTunes and Soundcloud.
Dr Elizabeth Tasker Debunks the notion that ‘Earth 2.0’ has been found in the Trappist1 system + Dr Ian Musgrave’s “What’s Up Doc”
Our feature interview is with Dr Elizabeth Tasker who gives a reality check to the claims that ‘7 earth-like planets’ have been found around TRAPPIST-1, a small star about 40 light years away, and in her most recent paper, calls for a more accurate definition of our use of the term ‘habitability’.
Elizabeth is a British astrophysicist who works at JAXA, the Institute of Space and Astronomical Science, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Our regular segment features Dr Ian Musgrave of ‘Astroblog’ fame, and he tells us what to look for in the night and morning skies over the next few weeks.

In the news:

1. The Explosive beginnings of a supernova spotted for the first time (via Amy Middleton reporting for cosmosmagazine) and she writes about a new paper in Nature Physics about the spectacular transformation of a star, assumed to have been a red supergiant, into a supernova, just three hours after it began.

2. The unexpected discovery of young stars in old star clusters may send scientists back to the drawing board and change our understanding of how stars evolve (via Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, posted in physDOTorg/astronomy)

3. A White Dwarf star X9, is the closest star ever found orbiting a black hole, and it’s orbiting at an astonishing 12 million km/h. The stellar dance between these two objects is taking place inside a globular cluster 47 Tucanae, a group of about a million stars orbiting the galactic centre about 15,000 light years from Earth. (reported by Marcus Strom for the Sydney Morning Herald)

Next episode: Dark Matter with Dr Elisabetta Barberio (out on 6 April)

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