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teutatis
2006-Oct-03, 04:22 PM
Hi

First of all let me say thank you for your amazing work on astronomycast.com I LOVE IT !! :clap:

How about a thread where we can make suggestions for topics?

I would love to hear a podcast about unified theories, things like string theory an other possible solutions.

Thanks

Teutatis

Fraser
2006-Oct-03, 05:07 PM
A thread for story ideas is a great idea. Keep 'em coming.

bethkatz17582
2006-Oct-11, 08:17 PM
Comets as the origin of meteor showers and how we can predict meteor shower peaks would be topical in early November. Space garbage and how we can see the stuff we've left in orbit around our planet would be good. I've amazed many people by pointing out satellites while star-gazing. It's awesome that we can predict when the International Space Station goes overhead by looking at Heavens Above (http://www.heavens-above.com/). You can look up and say "There are people up there."

Kelfazin
2006-Oct-12, 05:49 AM
I would like to hear about GRB's: how they are made, what they tell us about the universe, etc.

evanoconnor
2006-Oct-13, 04:24 PM
Supernovae, I have heard so many different versions...

Set it straight Astronomy Cast

Kirill
2006-Oct-22, 09:48 PM
Hello everybody!

I have just registered and first of all I'd like to thank everybody taking part in astronomy podcast. Russia is listening to you!) I love it!

Now about suggestions.. Well, I'm not very good at english so is it possible to post texts of podcasts on the web, please? You see, I have learned english for 10 years but still I can't understand some astronomy-specific words unless I know the spelling and can search the vocabulary for the meaning by myself. I hope I'm not the only one non-english listening to this great podcast so may be this should help someone else.

P.S. If it is too complicated don't bother :)
P.P.S. And sorry for my perhaps not perfect english..)

MichaelM
2006-Oct-23, 11:15 PM
I haven't been hearing much about Magnetars recently. An update on current theories and discoveries would be interesting.

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 05:04 PM
So we are told that radio and visible light are the same phenomenon. Why does radio seem to go everywhere, filling all space, and light seems to travel in straight lines? If radio goes everywhere, how to radio telescopes form an image? Why do radio telescopes have to be soooo big? If radio telescopes can be so big, why aren't there optical telescopes that big? Why can light pass through the window glass, but not the wall, where radio goes through the wall as if it's transparent? Is there anything that can block radio?

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 05:06 PM
If the Universe started out as an explosion from a point, why is it that light from when the Universe became transparent (the CMB) is still visible? Why wouldn't it have passed us by a long time ago? Doesn't that imply that we moved away from the starting point faster than light?

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 05:08 PM
If the Universe was created Last Thursday, as i learned in Sunday School, and if nothing moves faster than light, how could we see galaxies that are millions of light years away? That light must have left those galaxies millions of years ago, which, i think, is more recently than Last Thursday, right?

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 05:15 PM
What is the evidence and argument against the "tired light" hypothesis? The "tired light" hypothesis states that light from far away sources shifts to the lower energy longer wavelengths due the distance traveled, not the stretching of the fabric of the Universe since it started out. In particular, it allows a much smaller Universe, by not demanding that red shifted galaxies be as far away as their red shift indicates.

While we're on the stretching of the Universe... a hundred years ago, two scientists showed by experiment that there was no detectable ether that is required for light to propagate. But now, we talk about the stretching of the Universe as if there's an ether. Does this new fabric of the Universe concept have a different definition than ether had? Or is the same old ether, but the events are instead explained by General Relativity? If the later, how?

For extra credit, explain the Universe, and site three examples...

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 05:20 PM
We've all heard that in 1998 it was announced that astronomers have evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accellerating. An unknown phenomenon, called dark energy has been proposed.

If nothing moves faster than light, and that includes gravity, and if the farthest bits of the Universe that are detectable are so red shifted that they are approaching the speed of light relative to us, then could it be that there is simply less stuff in the Universe that can mutually attract? This idea is that we have the same kinetic energy of expansion from the Big Ban, but over time, less and less visible mass to pull it all back together. Or, would this effect work in reverse - since this mass is acting on us from all directions, would having less of it over time act to slow the expansion?

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 06:43 PM
Nebulae. How does a "gas cloud" that does an extremely good job at imitating a vacuum, transmit sound, or collapse into a star with planets? When you see one of those Hubble Space Telescope images where, for example, the green is Oxygen 3, the red is Hydrogen alpha, and the blue is Sulpher 2, what, exactly can one infer from the colors? Can one figure out how much of these elements is present? Can one figure out which of the nearby stars illuminates the gas?

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 06:57 PM
What are the light spikes in telescope images? Hubble images show this on bright stars, and SOHO images of comets on their way to The Sun often have these. Are they beams of light emitted by the objects? If so, why do all the spikes seem to be lined up with each other in any particular image? Why, when the same part of the sky is imaged, sometimes the spikes from one image are not lined up with the spikes from another image?

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 06:59 PM
What is the evidence that we really landed on the moon? Why does anyone think this evidence is believeable? What is the evidence that we haven't landed on the moon? Why does anyone think this evidence is believeable?

Why is it that the recent MRO mission to Mars can image a rover, and yet, we can't see the Apollo landers? Is it true that MRO can see smaller objects from orbit on Mars than can be seen from Earth orbit? So, beach babe bikini's can not be seen with KH11 orbiting spy telescopes?

eric_marsh
2006-Nov-28, 01:27 AM
OK, here's a dumb question.

What's outside the universe?

I've been hearing mutterings about multiverses over the last few years as well as parallel universes (for example, to explain the wave/particle duality). A few years ago these things were just Science Fiction, but somehow it seems that Sci Fi keeps on getting turned into reality.

Seems to me that a multiverse makes sense for the simple reason that it is very improbable that our universe would have arbitrarly popped out of nothing ness with just the right constants to survive long enough for us to be around to see it. IMHO that implies either an infinate number of universes, some which succeed and some of with fail, or a God. Essentially, on the basis of Okham's Razor, it seems to me that a God is even more unlikely than the multiverse.

So what's the current thinking, even if it is just speculation about multiverses and whats "outside" our universe. It seems like a fascinating subject to me. Is there enough to do a podcast on?

squid
2006-Nov-29, 11:02 PM
That's not a dumb question at all. What's beyond the universe was actually my first scientific question that my parents couldn't answer. I've always wondered what's there. I don't think that Occam's Razor can really be of any help in this case because the possibility of a multiverse or even a God seems to be just as complicated as the possibility of a single universe randomly forming out of close-to-nothingness.

DavidAnnan
2006-Dec-04, 06:12 PM
Regarding your next show on SuperNovae, everytime someone talks about the beginning the final collapse of a really big star they always start by stating that once you get to Iron, all fusion becomes endothermic (i.e. heat using rather than generating). Since to my knowledge no one has ever got iron to fuse on earth, how exactly could anyone actually know this??? When you discuss Supernova I'd really appreciate it if you could just touch on 'how we know that fusion iron and above is endothermic'.. Thx, the show is great.
Dave

llarry
2006-Dec-06, 06:51 AM
Fraser and Dr Gay

First let me say how much I've been enjoying the astronomy cast so far. As a new amateur astronomer all of your shows have been very informative. I find Dr Gays explanations clear and entertaining. I have particularly enjoyed the shows on the birth and death of stars and am looking forward to the next segment on supernovae.

I thought it might be interesting to hear a little more about characteristics which are observable by binoculars and small telescopes and what they tell us about stars with small telescopes. ie. what does their apparent color tell us about them? (are all orange stars like betelguese red super giants?) Can we distinguish actual binary star systems from visual doubles. And what about variable stars, how to observe them and what makes them different from stable stars.

Also of interest to me is planet watching, how to find them what can we expect to see with small and medium aperature telescopes and what in particular to be looking for in the next couple of years as far as oppositions and such.

Thanks again,

Larry W in Eugene

squid
2006-Dec-07, 03:05 AM
A few days ago in physics class we watched a really interesting video on string theory and they kept relating it all back to black holes--how nobody's sure whether to use the laws regarding gravitation because of the huge mass, or whether to use quasar physics because of it's miniscule volume. String Theory is based on the concept that Gravity, Electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces are really just subsets of one equation to life, the universe, and everything. Is there really any possibility to string theory, and if so, are black holes the key to unlocking the answer?
It got me wondering more and more about black holes and how they really work, the idea that photons which don't actually have mass get sucked in, and a whole bunch of other stuff about black holes that I would have to understand before I could contemplate the String Theory.
So I guess I'd just like to know more about black holes in general.

Dragon Star
2006-Dec-07, 03:15 AM
I haven't been hearing much about Magnetars recently. An update on current theories and discoveries would be interesting.

I'll second that.

SingleDad
2006-Dec-12, 03:52 AM
So I signed up for you pod cast to help keep my daughter interested in science. Now I'm getting all these "spacey" question that frankly I never thought of before :wall:

I put this post in here, because if nothing else it might a good show idea. (and if some one happens to know the answer in language a truck driver and/or an 8 year-old can understand... even better) Don't worry if the answer is over our heads. We love trying to work it out... and if we can't... we cool our brains with a nice sundae (like with the relativity cast :o ) either way we all win.

OK now for the the question. If there is nothing we know of that can escape a black hole, not even light, where does all the stuff go that "falls into" a black hole. AND could this be the a source for dark energy/matter?

The answer I gave her was probably wrong and way off base. I know it didn't satisfy her :neutral: . I guessed it would probably dissipate as some kind of radiation or heat or something... then I admitted.. heck I have no clue, but I it sounded good :lol: .

BTW tell Dr. Gay that if this is a simple question, she is not allow to beat me over the head with a textbook!

Love your show
Brian and the brain (aka Megan)

Dragon Star
2006-Dec-12, 04:02 AM
Hi Brian. You can find your answers in the Q&A section of the forum with the Search feature. If you don't find anything that satisfies you, PM me and I will direct you to some answers. ;)

mhamel
2006-Dec-13, 11:13 PM
More questions about supernovae; this "carbon flash" thing is not all that clear to me. Why does it blow rather than just starting to fuse C+C -> O? Why does this happen at the carbon stage and not, say, silicon? How do the larger stars avoid it and go on to do the full onion thing with iron in the middle?

kn195
2006-Dec-15, 01:54 AM
first of all, excellent podcast. Dr Gay, your ability connect astronomical and physical concepts to everyday experience is truly gifted. You should consider writing a book. speaking of books and concepts, Lee Smolin has mooted his theory of cosmological natural selection has a method of explaining the apparent fine tuning of the universe. That would provide material for a great podcast as would cosmology in general. thanks for archiving the old podcasts, i'll be listening to them all.

ciao
Kent N .

Delysid
2006-Dec-16, 01:38 AM
I'd be interested to hear some exobiology theory and speculation, especially what the most adventurous (yet scientifically grounded) researchers and theorists are thinking.

Surely there must be ideas beyond the conventional notion that the only place life might be found is on rocky Earth-sized planets with Earth-like atmosphere, water content, and chemical composition, in an Earth-like orbit around a Sol-like star at a comfy Earthish distance with Earthly temperature, etc.

Obviously such planets would be likely candidates for life, but with continual discovery of life's resilient, persistent, incredibly flexible nature in all sorts of environments and conditions, and evidence that it sprang forth on our own orb with instant unrestrainable vigour sooner than anyone had imagined, I personally wouldn't be surprised to find life forms thriving in the methane seas of Jupiter and Saturn's moons, liquid water be damned (not dammed). Or even swirling in electromagnetically coherent gas bodies in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn themselves! Jupiter's Great Red Spot may be a thriving metropolis rather than a random storm that doesn't know when to quit!

Another fascinating aspect of exobiology is the whole panspermia concept, with things like that freaky meteorite that landed in a frozen lake recently with embedded membrane-bound globules of organic molecules.

It seems to me quite possible that life might turn out to be a readily emergent property of complex, dynamic systems of energy-matter interaction at many levels throughout the universe, but of such widely varying manifestation that we haven't yet recognized its ubiquity, at least within the traditonal scientific mainstream view.

But even if that's just the mushrooms talking, I'm sure that you could still fill a podcast with fascinating mind-bending exobiology material, while staying within the bounds of reasonable scientific research, theory, & speculation.

Piper
2006-Dec-22, 03:24 AM
Hello.

Keep up the good work. I took a college course (intro 101) in astronomy and enjoyed it. I graduated 7 years ago and hadn't thought about it for a while. I stumbled onto the Astronomy Cast and have listened ever since.

On to the question/suggestion. Being new to astronomy, it would be nice to hear a show about finding coordinates for celestial objects. Not only find the numbers but how to actually use them.

Thanks.

ChromeStar
2007-Jan-01, 08:33 PM
How's about a Astronomy Cast on particles and the particle model?

Been reading more about neutrinos, leptons, quarks, bosoms and all their counter part anti-whatevers... interesting stuff!!!

How is it exactly that neutrinos can have anti-neutrinos if they have a neutral charge? What is meant by that?...

Would love to learn more about that kinda stuff and anything related in general!

BTW. You (Fraser) and Pamela are doing a fantastic job! Many Thanks! :D

Best Regards
ChromeStar

luckynate
2007-Jan-02, 09:58 AM
heres a good topic for a show.....and its pretty interesting....
Where does Gravity Come from? Please someone tell me where gravity comes from! It is wrecking my health trying to figure this out !

luckynate
2007-Jan-03, 12:05 AM
So we are told that radio and visible light are the same phenomenon. Why does radio seem to go everywhere, filling all space, and light seems to travel in straight lines? If radio goes everywhere, how to radio telescopes form an image? Why do radio telescopes have to be soooo big? If radio telescopes can be so big, why aren't there optical telescopes that big? Why can light pass through the window glass, but not the wall, where radio goes through the wall as if it's transparent? Is there anything that can block radio?

light and radio waves do not move differently.....a star radiates light in all directions the same way a radio antenna radiates radio waves in all directions.
radio telescopy forms an image by translating the wavelengths of radio into visible wavelengths that we can see, just like night vision goggles. The reason light and radio waves both pass through the glass, but only the radio waves make it through your wall is because of the difference in wavelength. the longer waves make it interfere and deflect off of fewer particles in the wall, thus seemingly passing right through. the longer the frequency, the fewer types of (the same thickness of) matter that can block it. Think of driving through an underground tunnel...the radio waves are blocked.....that why the radio goes staticy in the tunnel.

luckynate
2007-Jan-03, 12:19 AM
Firstly, thankyou for providing an excellent podcast.

I have a topic suggestion or two.

We have a lot of theories floating around, and far fewer laws. My suggestion for a show would be, when does a theory become a law, and why has The Theory of Relativity not become a law. It appears to be the basis for much of the 20-21st Centuries Astronomy ... and yet its not a law. Is there really a chance that it could be proved wrong?

My other suggestion, is if we live in an infinate universe, how can we say that the Universe is expanding ... Universe = Infinity+1 ? How can we talk about the Edge of the Universe if its infinite. If its Infinite, wouldn't Dark Energy/Dark Matter just be all that stuff out beyond what we can see/detect distance wise.

Cheers

the expansion is happening between the matter and objects in the universe. The space between objects and bodies is growing, and will never run out of room to grow, if the universe itself is truly infinite(or even finite in the case of a universe with no boundary or edge)

luckynate
2007-Jan-03, 12:37 AM
We've all heard that in 1998 it was announced that astronomers have evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accellerating. An unknown phenomenon, called dark energy has been proposed.

If nothing moves faster than light, and that includes gravity, and if the farthest bits of the Universe that are detectable are so red shifted that they are approaching the speed of light relative to us, then could it be that there is simply less stuff in the Universe that can mutually attract? This idea is that we have the same kinetic energy of expansion from the Big Ban, but over time, less and less visible mass to pull it all back together. Or, would this effect work in reverse - since this mass is acting on us from all directions, would having less of it over time act to slow the expansion?

The furthest parts of the universe are not yet so redshifted that they appear to be approaching the speed of light...I thought of a similiar scenario myself involving dark energy(which is accelerating the expansion....not slowing it down) in which the largest possible size of the universe could be calculated by getting a few accurate distance measurements to distant galaxies, calculating the redshift proportional to the distance, and then calculating how far you could look until the dark energy is not strong enough to accelerate the mass any further(approaching speed C), and the matter density reaches a maximum (approaching infinity). This in effect would make the universe be shaped as a sphere with its center localized in the observers center of mass(that's you, wherever you move). This effect would NOT however, limit the amount of stuff in the universe no matter where you go because the stuff on the edges would move closer to you as you move "toward" the edge, and the stuff behind you would ride around the edge till it was in front of you. Unfortunately the lack of accurate distance measuring capabilities we now have limit this calculation's accuracy, and i'm no mathematician.....

Starfighter
2007-Jan-05, 01:04 PM
Hi Fraser and Pamela

Great show. Very much appreciated.: dance:

My suggested topic concerns the shape of the Universe. Does it make sense to talk about the shape of the Universe? Is it open or closed? Is it a sphere; a doughnut; a saddle shape or some more complex topological construct? Does space go on forever? If one travelled far enough would you eventually return to your starting point? How can astronomy help determine the shape of the Universe. What role does the cosmic microwave background al la COBE and WMAP have to play in such explanations?

Boromark
2007-Jan-05, 03:26 PM
Thanks very much for these podcasts, which are very enjoyable and absolutely fascinating. You are very good at putting across difficult concepts (or difficult to me, at least!)

I'd be interested to hear you discuss the prospects for finding life in the solar system, for example Europa seems very interesting and the cancellation of JIMO is depressing, and do the discoveries of water flowing however briefly on Mars suggest that there is life there? What should be our next steps in looking for life in the Solar System, or for intelligent life out beyond?

Additional point: is Fermi's Paradox the last word on intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy? Or does it tell us that interstellar travel is impossible because one of the several obstacles is insuperable?

RobSchottland
2007-Feb-13, 05:06 AM
I would enjoy a program on recurring structures in the universe with explanations and theories on their existance. Specifically, it's apparent that spherical and disk-like structures occur commonly in the universe at widely ranging scale. For example, the Earth, Moon, and Sun are basically spherical, but the solar system, spiral galaxies, and black hole accretion disks are disk-shaped. Planets such as Saturn have rings that are disks, and systems of moons that describe an ecliptic plane which is roughly disk-like.

I've assumed that spherical structures get that way because of gravity, and that disk-shaped structures form as the result of rotation of masses around a center-of-gravity. From the descriptions I've read, the accretion disks around black holes appear to be (structurally) the "flattest" disks dimensionally yet observed. Since the ideal disk is described in two-dimensions, and a sphere a three-dimensional structure, it seems that there is a dimensional aspect to mass, gravity, and rotation.

Here are some questions I would like Pamela to take on in such a program:


Do systems of galaxies (such as the local group) rotate? If so, does this impart a disk-like structure to the group?

One of the amazing features in the Hubble Deep Field to me is that the planar orientations of the spiral galaxies in the picture appear random. Statistically, is there a "preferred orientation", or are their orientations effectively random.

Is the Universe rotating?

spent
2007-Feb-15, 07:08 AM
I agree with nova.

What are the technical differences and different ways they can come to play.

Like a type 1a vs a supernova. Star going to nova vs going to white dwarf or getting a second chance? and going type 1a? after getting an chance at an accretion disk of material from companion. VS. a type II.

That little area there was (and still is kinda) the confusing part for me.

Star skipping nova and going straight to black hole? I read that somewhere too.
Science magazine maybe. Can't afford NATURE so I know it was not that one.

=)

The Cheap astronomy guy. What do you expect. Had some time on my hands today.

giggles..............

p.s.

That precision adjust gadget from orion telescope for binoculars and spotting scope is way cool and fairly cheap. A little heavy though. But help's alot.

llarry
2007-Feb-19, 07:51 PM
Hi Frazer and Dr Gay,

Thank you very much for the variable star episode you made my day for sure. While the Seti type cosmology episodes are interesting to me, I actually have some more fundemental questions about Current astronomcal theories and where we might find the answers.

Next week the NASA "New Horizons" Probe will be experiencing closest encounter with Jupiter. This is interesting to me for two reasons. A.) My understanding is that the plan is to use Jupiters massive gravity to sling the probe toward Pluto, Charon and the Kuiper belt. This in itself might be interestint to discuss... i.e Keplers laws, Newton mechanics and applied balistics. I understand the jest of this but Pamela has a talent for clarifying things. B.) What do we currently know about Pluto and Kuiper Belt Objects and what do we expect to learn when the Probe reaches the edge of the solar system in about 8 years?

Thanks Larry

Walla
2007-Mar-27, 03:52 PM
How about a Episode on Quantum Mechanics.

suitti
2007-Mar-28, 02:59 PM
OK, so the stars in globular clusters tend to have a chemical signature in common. That suggests that the stars all formed from the same stuff - a molecular cloud. And, they move as a unit because they have the original momentum of that cloud. Some globular clusters orbit our galaxy in orbits other than in the plane of the galaxy. Does that imply that there are molecular clouds that do this also? If not, where did these globulars come from?

suitti
2007-Mar-28, 03:10 PM
<i>So we are told that radio and visible light are the same phenomenon. </i>

I really have a pretty good idea how radio and light work. To me, it is a interesting topic for a show, because the evidence is, at first, contradictory. So, the answers can be formed into a cohesive story. Many amateurs want to look at neat stuff in scopes. Others want to take pretty pictures. But real astronomy courses talk about rainbows and glories and sun pillars, and northern lights and green flash. I used to think of these as terrestial optical phenomenon, having little to astronomy. But, if you don't understand how photons behave, how are you supposed to know what you're looking at? For example, rainbows work, partly, because the water droplets act as retroreflectors. So, zodiacal light can be understood as a related phenomenon. So, if you get a center brightening during a full moon, it isn't a complete surprise.

suitti
2007-Mar-28, 03:30 PM
<i>The furthest parts of the universe are not yet so redshifted that they appear to be approaching the speed of light...</i>

Here's how i see it (so to speak). There is observational evidence for z=6 or so red shifted quasars. The cosmic microwave background radiation has a shift of something like 1000 (i've heard 1700). As near as i can tell, that's the red shift edge, or close to it.

If the Universe is finite in size, then one day we won't be able to detect the CMB anymore. I've no idea if that will tell us how big the Universe was at the moment of the Big Bang. The CMB photons came from somewhere. Since the CMB photons moved in more or less a straight line, and since they move at the speed of light (duh), and since they started their trip to our detectors some 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe was at least that big at that time. As the Universe has been expanding, it must be bigger now. That is, unless there's some sort of wrap around topology. That sort of thing hasn't been detected (that i know of).