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Naked Astronomy, from the Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Astronomy, from the Naked Scientists Podcast

Description

The latest news from the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies, plus interviews with professional astronomers and the answers to your space science questions.


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http://www.thenakedscientists.com/astronomy

Mission Control


Sun, Apr 09, 2017


This month, Space Boffins highlights the unsung heroes of the space programme - mission controllers. Featuring the director of a new documentary film on mission control, David Fairhhead, we hear from a man at the heart of the Apollo 13 drama, Sue meets the voice of the Space Shuttle and we catch up with Dan Dare...

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Space Tomatoes in Urine


Fri, Mar 10, 2017


SpaceX and NASA compete to get people back to the Moon, Richard meets a man who grows space tomatoes in human urine, and heads to a lab where volunteers are being paid to stay awake. This month, Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined by rocket scientist David Wade, and space scientist Helen Fraser to discuss how ice in space could form planets and celebrate the 80th birthday of Valentina Tereshkova.

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Space Boffins at Astrofest


Fri, Feb 10, 2017


The Space Boffins are at Astrofest in London in front of a live audience. Guests include an Antarctic meteorite hunter, the scientist tracking down the Solar System's missing planet and the flight director who's landed a spacecraft on a comet. It's also a chance to hear again from last man on the Moon, Gene Cernan...

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Welcome to Mars


Wed, Jan 25, 2017


This time, we're journeying to the Ruby Red Planet, Mars. Elon Musk thinks he'll have people there by 2024; NASA will be following closely behind with a touchdown expected in the 2030s. That means that in our lifetime, we will become an interplanetary species. But what will it be like for those brave individuals? Graihagh Jackson investigates...

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Double Hubble


Tue, Jan 10, 2017


Broadcaster Dallas Campbell joins the Space Boffins at the British Interplanetary Society to discuss the giant new replacement for Hubble, hypersonic spaceplanes and balloon flights to the edge of space. They hear from astronaut Ron Garan about President-elect Trump and talk to one of the witnesses of the Apollo 1 fire, which killed three astronauts in 1967. Plus, discussions on urinating on the astronaut bus and books on sex in space.

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The End of Night?


Sun, Dec 25, 2016


As we enter the darkest depths of winter, the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Or at least that's how it's supposed to be. But since the invention of the light bulb, we've long been working towards the end of night. But does this matter? Graihagh Jackson investigates...

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The Best of Space Boffins


Sat, Dec 10, 2016


In a bumper end of year special, Space Boffins features Buzz Aldrin, last man on the Moon Gene Cernan, the nurse to the astronauts, a cosmic piano and a space sofa. Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by space journalist Sarah Cruddas to celebrate 2016 in space exploration, commemorate John Glenn and look forward to the year ahead. Where will President Trump take NASA?

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Where is everybody?


Fri, Nov 25, 2016


Most astrophysicists would agree that it's highly likely that there's life beyond Earth. But then, why haven't we found any? This month on Naked Astronomy, Graihagh Jackson tackles one of the fundamental questions of mankind with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jim Al-Khalili and Dallas Campbell.

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X15: To Infinity and Beyond!


Mon, Nov 14, 2016


Space Boffins' Sue Nelson was at ESA mission control recently when the ExoMars spacecraft arrived at Mars after a seven month journey. She hears from ExoMars and Open University scientist Dr Manish Patel on the highs and lows of the orbiter and lander and Richard Hollingham reports from Arizona on the X15 space plane. Author Michelle Evans reveals the space plane's extraordinary history and, over at the Pima Air and Space Museum outside Tuscon, James Stemm is with the B52 bomber - undergoing restoration - that carried the X15 during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The podcast comes from the Royal Astronomical Society in London where Sheila Kanani discusses its centenary celebration of women astronomers.

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Going Gaga Over Gaia


Mon, Oct 24, 2016


Gaia launched back in 2013 and has been mapping the Milky Way ever since. In fact, it aims to give us the most detailed survey of our galaxy, ever. But is that all its set to do? Graihagh Jackson explores why scientists are going gaga over Gaia...

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Roving Over Mars


Mon, Oct 10, 2016


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are on Mars - which turns out to be behind a blue door in the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage. With guest Airbus head of science, Ralph Cordey, they discuss the final moments of Rosetta, Europe's latest mission to Mars - due to land in October - and Elon Musk's plans for martian colonisation. Sue reports from ESA's mission control in Germany and Richard hears about the fastest man on Earth. They also catch-up with J Willgoose Esq from the band Public Service Broadcasting.

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Nursing NASA's Astronauts


Fri, Sep 09, 2016


The Space Boffins meet the Mercury 7 nurse, Dee O'Hara, recalling what it was like to work with America's first astronauts. SETI's Seth Shostak explains why we should target AI to discover ET, and - in this US themed podcast - Spaceflight's David Baker reveals what role space plays in the forthcoming presidential elections. Studio guest is astronomy writer, novelist and broadcaster Dr Stuart Clark.

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Connie won a meteorite


Wed, Aug 24, 2016


Fellow Naked Scientist Connie Orbach won a meteorite and so Graihagh Jackson made it her mission to find out as much as possible about this hunk of space rock, including how she might go about finding one of her own...

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From The Blue Dot Festival


Tue, Aug 09, 2016


The Space Boffins are at the Blue Dot music festival at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire where they hear live music from Cern's cosmic piano and chat to Rosetta project scientist (and space celebrity) Matt Taylor about the end of the mission. Richard also meets the band that bounced a guitar riff off the Moon and Sue reports from the Farnborough Airshow, where she asks Tim Peake about his body and learns about plans for a new lunar mission. In another first, they even have a producer: Izzie Clarke.

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Jupiter: King of the Planets


Sun, Jul 24, 2016


NASA's Juno probe has reached Jupiter after a five year battle through our solar system and is orbiting the gas giant. But now it's completed this death-defying stunt, what now? This month on Naked Astronomy, Graihagh Jackson is colluding with the king of the planets to find out what it's really all about...

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Jupiter's Juno Mission


Sat, Jul 09, 2016


Jupiter's Juno mission, the magical world of Pluto and spacewalking feature in this special fifth anniversary edition of the podcast. ESA's head of the neutral buoyancy facility, Herve Stenening, explains how a giant pool helped astronaut Tim Peake obtain his space station spacewalk, and New Horizons scientists Lesley Young and Joel Parker from America's Southwest Research Institute share their extraordinary findings from Pluto. Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined in the studio by Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, and space journalist Sarah Cruddas.

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Will we ever return to the moon?


Fri, Jun 24, 2016


It's nearly been 5 decades since Neil Armstrong took one small step for mankind... But will we return again? As things heat up, Graihagh Jackson brings together the cosmically curious to unpick our the drivers behind the marathon to the moon

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Hot from Spacefest


Thu, Jun 09, 2016


Last man on the Moon, Captain Gene Cernan, and Apollo 9 lunar module pilot Rusty Schweickart join Space Boffin Richard at Spacefest in Tucson, Arizona. Apollo 17 commander Cernan expresses his frustration about the state of the space programme and Rusty Schweickart warns of the asteroid threat to Earth. We also hear from astronomer Nick Howes, spaceblogger Emily Carney, Thomas Zurbuchen on how small satellites could be the future for big science missions and the going rates for astronaut autographs.

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Reaching for the Stars


Tue, May 24, 2016


This month, Graihagh Jackson is getting all starry eyed over our Sun. Where did it come from? Where is it going? And what it's taught us about the universe? Plus, the mission that's taking us the closer to the Sun than we've ever been before...

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Have you been mis-sold time?


Mon, May 09, 2016


This month the Space Boffins get to grips with relativity, watch as British astronaut Tim Peake manoeuvres a Mars rover in a cave, and go inside a section of NASA's new giant rocket. With their guest, writer and poet Simon Barraclough, they also discuss space station alarms (with appropriate sound effects) and celebrate the flight of America's first manned mission, Mercury 3.

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Eyes on the Sky for Mercury


Sun, Apr 24, 2016


On 9 May, Mercury will be seen as a black dot silhouetted against the Sun and this rare event enabled astronomers of the 17th century to work out how vast the universe was. But this transit isn't just phenominally importantly historically: it has huge implications in our search for extraterrestrial life, as Graihagh Jackson finds out...

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Riding on a Space Sofa


Sat, Apr 09, 2016


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham bring news of space sofas, super flat floors and Martian sunsets. They are joined at The Open University by ExoMars mission principal investigator Dr Manish Patel to discuss his work on the NOMAD instrument, which is currently on its way to Mars on board the recently launched spacecraft, and how you prepare for success and failure. Richard also reports from Alabama, gliding across NASA's Flat Floor Facility on a bed of air beneath a giant solar sail. While having fun at NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Centre in Huntsville, he hears about NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Scout mission and goes inside the control room responsible for overseeing all the science on the International Space Station and communicating with two astronauts called Tim

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Adventures in Satspotting


Fri, Mar 25, 2016


What happens when we turn our astronomical instruments back to planet Earth? With the launch of over 12 satellites, Europe's version of GPS, Galileo, will be operational very soon but why are space scientists getting all excited about it? This month on Naked Astronomy, Graihagh Jackson is all about the satellites

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Buzz Aldrin and his master plan for Mars


Thu, Mar 10, 2016


Buzz Aldrin is the legendary Apollo 11 and Gemini 12 astronaut who made history in 1969 when he became one of the first men to walk on the lunar surface. Today, he has his sights firmly on the future - specifically Mars. The legendary astronaut and visionary tells Space Boffin Sue Nelson about his cycling orbits to the red planet, why he wouldn't go to Mars himself, what he thinks of the ESA director general's plans for a Moon village and which item of jewellery he's wearing was a gift from Mohammed Ali.

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The Next Revolution in Astronomy: Gravitational Waves


Thu, Feb 25, 2016


February 2016 marks one of the biggest discoveries in cosmology and astronomy: the LIGO team annouced that they'd detected gravitational waves, 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted them. Scientists believe this could revolutionise how we study the universe. But what are these gravitational waves? How were they detected? And how is the discovery changing our understanding of cosmos? Graihagh Jackson finds out...

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Russian Lunar Rovers and Floating Number Twos


Wed, Feb 10, 2016


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham talk Mars rovers, Russian lunar rovers and floating number twos during this month's podcast. Europe's ExoMars mission scientist Nicholas Thomas reveals the role an alcoholic drink played in the naming of one of the Trace Gas Orbiter's key science instruments (as well as what it does of course) while NASA scientist John Grant reveals how some Mars rovers just keep on going and that maybe ideas of canals on the Martian surface weren't so far fetched after all. London science museum space curator Doug Millard also features discussing Luna 9 and, joining the Space Boffins in the studio, is best selling author Rowland White, whose latest book Into the Black covers the first space shuttle mission STS-1. All in all, another thrilling ride into the world of space.

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Cosmic Quandries: The Origins of Time


Mon, Jan 25, 2016


One of the big questions in cosmology is what happened at the beginning of the universe? Astrophycisists are edging closer to answering this question - we can now look back to a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. But what happened before that still remains elusive and there are still many loose ends to tie up. In this episode of Naked Astronomy, Graihagh Jackson takes a look at the origins of time...

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Surgery in Space


Sun, Jan 10, 2016


The Space Boffins talk surgery in space with a real life Dr McCoy, NASA astronaut and physician Michael Barratt, and report from a school in St Albans during Tim Peake's first ham radio contact with UK students. A member of the European Space Agency's 60 day bedrest study explains how he's helping astronauts by lying down and the studio guest is Mark Craig, British director of the documentary about Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan - Last Man on the Moon - which is about to have its first cinema release in the United States.

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Christmas in Space


Thu, Dec 10, 2015


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham prepare for Tim Peake's launch to the International Space Station by speaking to Britain's first astronaut - Helen Sharman. ESA's Dr Volker Damann, Head of the Space Medicine Office, explains why space is bad for you and studio guests - rocket expert David Wade and space journalist Sarah Cruddas - share insights on the size of entrepreneurs' rockets and the future of Space 2.0.

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Gravity and Guitars with Tim Peake


Tue, Nov 10, 2015


Richard sits down with British European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake, to discuss gravity, guitars, 1980s computers and future missions to the Moon and Mars. Recorded on location at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, Richard also chats to curator Valerie Neal about humanity's 15 years of living off the Earth on the International Space Station (ISS) and whether the ISS could be converted to a starship. And, after a year on a comet, could the Philae lander wake up again? The mission manager is optimistic.

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The First Woman in Space


Fri, Oct 09, 2015


Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson's star (and space) studded podcast includes the first woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, and astronaut Tim Peake. Britain's first European Space Agency astronaut discusses the final training before his December launch and why it's important to learn how to fix a toilet. Former space shuttle engineer and Spaceflight editor David Baker is in the studio to discuss the Soyuz rocket that will take Tim to the Space Station, as is Yen Yau from Into Space - a new UK Space Agency backed film project for young space fans. Naturally, they all discuss the Martian.

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Done and Dusted: What's Next for Rosetta?


Wed, Sep 09, 2015


Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined by the Rosetta's project scientist, Dr Matt Taylor, to hear the latest on ESA's comet chasing mission now that perihelion is done and dusted. There's also NASA astronaut Cady Coleman on the importance of playing the flute on the space station and how being in space affected her life. Former astronaut Thomas Reiter - now ESA's Head of Human Spaceflight and Operations - discusses the future for Europe's astronaut corps plus Sue and Richard are joined in the studio for expert conversation by astronomer Dr Robert Massey from the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Hello, this is the International Space Station


Tue, Aug 11, 2015


In a first for the Space Boffins podcast - an interview with astronauts in space! NASA's Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are on a year long mission on board the International Space Station. They took time out from their duties to discuss how they're getting on so far. Studio guests space scientists Lucie Green and Graziella Branduardi-Raymont add some sun (shine) and a SMILE (mission) to the proceedings. Plus we talk to the first man to walk in space, Alexei Leonov, ahead of a new cosmonaut exhibition at London's Science Museum.

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Rocketing into Space


Sun, Jul 12, 2015


The Space Boffins celebrate their 4th year producing monthly podcasts in - aptly - a British rocket lab. Richard Hollingham joins engineer Adam Baker at the University of Kingston to discuss recent rocket failures and talks to the new head of the European Space Agency, Jan Woerner, about his plans for a village on the Moon. In Hatfield, Sue Nelson meets philosopher and author of Nobody Owns the Moon, Tony Milligan, to debate the ethics of space exploration and there's yet another reason to celebrate: the 40th anniversary of Apollo-Soyuz.

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How to Fly a Space Shuttle


Tue, Jun 09, 2015


In a Space Boffins special - Sue Nelson meets the first female Space Shuttle Commander, Eileen Collins. The retired astronaut - one of NASA's most experienced - reveals the challenges of flying the Shuttle, the flaws in its design and what happened in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster. They also talk about the way female astronauts are treated by the media and the next generation of spacecraft.

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Rosetta: Six Months Later


Sat, May 09, 2015


Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined by astronomer, Guardian writer and guitarist Stuart Clark for a Rosetta mission special - six months after it made history by landing on a comet. Pick up your backstage pass for behind the scenes interviews with key players in the European Space Agency mission: Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor, former mission manager Fred Jansen, spacecraft operations manager Andrea Accomazzo and Koen Geurts from the German Space Agency's Philae Lander team.

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Out of this World: Britain's history in space


Wed, Apr 15, 2015


Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are inside London's Science Museum with the museum's curator of space, Doug Millard, and the original Apollo 10 capsule. Apart from a tribute to Apollo 11's crucial predecessor, they discuss Britain's history in space and hear from Skylon pioneer Alan Bond on the progress of his revolutionary spaceplane. There's also an update on Europe's ExoMars mission rover from the new Mars Yard at Airbus Defence and Space to celebrate its one year anniversary.

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All Systems Go: NASA's new giant rocket


Tue, Mar 10, 2015


This month Richard sees NASA's new giant rocket, the Space Launch System, taking shape in New Orleans. In the studio the Space Boffins are joined by poet Simon Barraclough to discuss the poetic power of the Sun. Sue reports on Europe's new mission to Mercury, they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the missions that made the Moon landings possible and unveil the original recording that inspires the Space Boffins jingle.

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Recovering Beagle 2 from Mars


Tue, Feb 10, 2015


Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson discover why we should recover Beagle 2 from the surface of Mars; why we need the Uranus Pathfinder mission; and how exoplanets are putting a twinkle in the eyes of British space scientists. There's also music from Public Sector Broadcasting, with band member J Willgoose explaining how they use space archive footage as an integral part of their unique sound. They're also are joined by Dr Leigh Fletcher from Oxford University and Dr Sheila Kanani from the Royal Astronomical Society with interviews from Professor Ian Wright and Professor Mark Sims.

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Space Exploration in 2015


Sat, Jan 10, 2015


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by the BBC's Jon Amos and ExoMars' Andrew Coates. They look ahead at the most exciting missions of 2015 so expect New Horizons, Ceres and Tim Peake's forthcoming trip to the space station. There's also interviews with UrtheCast's Scott Larson and Gaia's Timo Prusti.

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Orion: the first step to Mars?


Wed, Dec 10, 2014


Sue Nelson joins space fans in Florida to witness the Orion launch and meets Mars candidate Elmo. Meanwhile, Richard Hollingham talks to the DG of the UK Space Agency, David Parker, about the International Space Station and we hear from the people bringing espresso coffee to astronauts. Richard is joined by science writer Stuart Clark and broadcaster Sarah Cruddas, who also discuss the future of NASA's space programme, European space success and luxury items in space.

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Space: triumph and tragedy


Fri, Nov 14, 2014


Emotions are running high in this month's Space Boffins as Sue reports from Germany on Europe's cometary landing. And, following the SpaceShipTwo tragedy and Antares explosion, Sue and Richard discuss the dangers of trying to make spaceflight routine. With space insurer David Wade (who insured Antares) and space scientist Sheila Kanani, they also meet a man commanding a Mars base.

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ESTEC: The heart of the European Space Agency


Thu, Oct 09, 2014


Space Boffin Sue Nelson is at the European Space Agency's technical heart - ESTEC in the Netherlands - where spacecraft undergo a crucial 'shake and bake' before launch. She's joined by astronauts Paolo Nespali and Andre Kuipers, ESTEC head Franco Ongaro, Rosetta's mission manager Fred Jansen, and Andreas Jung, from Europe's experimental new spaceplane, IXV. Tales of retro re-entry in a Soyuz, the future of space travel and how chocolate can make a comet, in yet another tasty space treat.

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The Spacewalk from Hell


Tue, Sep 09, 2014


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham hear from the Rosetta mission's Flight Director, Andrea Accomazzo, about choosing a landing site on comet 67P - plus Apollo astronaut and last man on the Moon, Gene Cernan, on the spacewalk from hell. Dr Lucie Green from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the lab's poet in residence, Simon Barraclough, are the lively studio guests. Expect space poetry, scientific insight and a song about photons.

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The Last Man on the Moon


Sat, Aug 09, 2014


In this special edition, the Last Man on the Moon, Gene Cernan, talks exclusively to Richard Hollingham about the final step, mortality and his disappointment about the way the space programme has developed.

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Rescuing astronauts from space


Wed, Jul 09, 2014


How do you orbit a comet? Set up a government in space or rescue a space shuttle crew? These questions and more in the latest edition of Space Boffins. Sue and Richard are at University College London where they're joined by Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor and UCL space scientist Geraint Jones to look ahead to the European mission's rendezvous with a comet. They also talk to retired Nasa engineer, David Baker, who outlines a Shuttle rescue plan and Richard reports from the Extraterrestrial Liberty Conference on government beyond the Earth.

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Drowning in Space


Mon, Jun 09, 2014


How do you design the inside of a starship? Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham talk to space architect Rachel Armstrong about journeys to the stars. They also meet Luca Parmitano, the astronaut who almost drowned in space, and take a look at a new hi-tech satellite that will provide Google with close up views of your house.

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Virtual Rides into Space


Fri, May 09, 2014


Aaron Knoll and Chris Bridges join Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham at the Surrey Space Centre for a virtual ride into space. Plus science minister David Willetts argues for a spaceport in Scotland, and shuttle astronaut and B612 Foundation founder Ed Lu explains why we should act now to save the Earth from an asteroid with our name on it...

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The Mars Yard


Wed, Apr 09, 2014


The Space Boffins are in America to hear about Neil Armstrong and the hypersonic X-15 at the Edwards Air Force base, and they're also reporting from the surface of Mars. More precisely, from the UK's new Mars Yard, in Stevenage. But the head of the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency's head of robotic exploration and Business Secretary Vince Cable are also walking on the red planet with them. There's also an interview with former space shuttle astronaut Jon McBride and the studio guest is Helen Keen - presenter of Radio 4 comedy 'It Is Rocket Science'.

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Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence


Mon, Mar 10, 2014


The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and the challenge of looking for space aliens and why they never attack Belgium is under scrutiny this month. Plus, Richard Hollingham also reports from the Mojave desert on the progress being made by Virgin Galactic and XCOR to fly tourists into space. And he talks to a U2 spy plane pilot about boiling blood and life above the Earthlings...

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Exo Mars and Crowd-funded SpaceCraft


Mon, Feb 10, 2014


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham dodge a prototype Mars rover on location at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage - where the future Exo Mars mission rover is going to be built. They're joined by space engineer Abbie Hutty and the Mr Future of advanced space concepts, Matthew Stuttard. There are also reports on Urthecast - the two new British-made cameras on the International Space Station - and the imminent launch of the crowd-funded spacecraft, KickSat.

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Chris Hadfield: How to fix a space toilet


Fri, Jan 10, 2014


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham meet astronaut Chris Hadfield. In this special edition of the podcast, Commander Hadfield talks about fixing a space toilet, how rifle practice helped him dock a spacecraft and the advantages of flying musicians in space. We also hear from a group of children he's been singing with and he gives his views on space tourism.

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Astronomy in South Africa


Wed, Dec 25, 2013


Meera Senthilingam takes a tour of the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and neighbouring facilities.

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The future of lunar space missions


Tue, Dec 10, 2013


Join Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham for a lunar love-in featuring Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell and studio guests David Baker, author of the latest Apollo 13 Haines Manual, and the spacetastic Gareth Jones. Together they discuss the future of lunar space missions and Richard reports from the United States on Apollo's successor, Orion, with a space architect. Plus there's a seasonal tribute to Apollo 8. What's not to like?

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The Space Boffins look forward to ExoMars


Mon, Nov 25, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by new Mars Society president Jerry Stone and aspiring astronaut Kate Arkless-Gray. Sue reports from the UK control room of the Mars SAFER field trial as scientists operate an ExoMars rover prototype; there's a revealing interview by Kate with Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, and shield your ears if you want to hear how Richard got on in QinetiQ's centrifuge. Warning: it's not pretty...

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Looking forward to ExoMars


Fri, Nov 08, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by new Mars Society president Jerry Stone and aspiring astronaut Kate Arkless Gray. Sue reports from the UK control room of the Mars SAFER field trial as scientists operate an ExoMars rover prototype, there's a revealing interview by Kate with Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, and shield your ears if you want to hear how Richard got on in QinetiQ's centrifuge. Warning: it's not pretty.

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Comet ISON is coming!


Fri, Oct 25, 2013


As Comet ISON draws near to its close approach with the Sun in November, much uncertainty remains over how brilliant it will be. Dominic Ford speaks to Matthew Bishop at the Lowell Observatory to find out more. He also talks to Apostolos Christou from the Armagh Observatory about a group of asteroids which closely follow the orbit and Mars, and appear to fragments of a much larger pair of asteroids which collided. Tamela Maciel from the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge reports on the lonely exoplanet which doesn't seem to have a parent star, and Kirsten Gottschalk from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research reports that the non-detection of gravitational waves by radio astronomers is starting to rule out some theories of how black holes grow.

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Sue in a Centrifuge


Wed, Oct 09, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham discover what it's like to undergo G forces with a special podcast from QinetiQ's centrifuge facility - the only one of its kind in the UK. As Sue spins around, guests Dr Jon Scott and Dr Simon Brown discuss the physical stresses on the body and the demands on astronauts and pilots. There's also a close up look at the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors and we hear from veteran US pilot Wally Funk, who had the right stuff to become an astronaut in 1960 but is still waiting for her chance to go into space.

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Exploring the Solar System


Tue, Sep 24, 2013


Dominic Ford reports from the European Planetary Science Congress, where he heard about the latest misisons to Mars and the Moon. Lewis Dartnell explains how the ExoMars mission, due to land on Mars in 2018, will go about looking for signs of lifeforms that may have died out billions of years ago. Dina Pasini discusses her more speculative ideas about how the life we see on Earth could have started on Mars. And Bernard Foing and Jessica Barnes discuss what we're still learning about the Moon. Plus, we have more answers to your space science questions.

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Missions to Mars


Mon, Sep 09, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham present a Mars podcast special. Interviews include Curiosity Rover's Principal Investigator for its Radiation Assessment Detector, and the British physics student who's applied for a one way trip to Mars. Studio guests are Dr Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, and its space scientist president, Professor David Southwood from Imperial College London - also the former director of science and robotic exploration at the European Space Agency. Not forgetting Richard's report from Lockheed Martin in Denver beside the new MAVEN Mars mission spacecraft before its delivery to NASA. Even little green men are under discussion - what more could you ask for?

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Mapping out the Milky Way


Sat, Aug 24, 2013


This autumn, the Gaia spacecraft will be launched on a mission to find out where the Milky Way's stars came from. I catch up with two of the astronomers at the Lund Observatory who've worked on designing the spacecraft, and with one of the astronomers who's hoping to use data from the spacecraft to calculate where and when the stars of our galaxy formed. Plus, I hear about a new technique which is being used to work out what the atmospheres of planets around other stars are made of, and about observations of a recent gamma ray burst which are helping us to unravel what triggers these strange cosmic phenomena.

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NOAA's Space Weather Centre


Fri, Aug 09, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by a cosmic hedgehog with a report from NOAA's space weather centre in Colorado and details on how to own the latest affordable pocket spacecraft to the moon. Studio guests include space artist Vix Southgate and rocket insurer David Wade - plus the final stage of Sue's brave attempt to become an astronaut. It will end in tears...

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The National Astronomy Meeting 2013


Wed, Jul 24, 2013


This month I've taken to the seaside to bring you a special episode of Naked Astronomy from the National Astronomy Meeting, which was held in St Andrews in the first week of July. I find out about the sparkles that can help us to understand solar flares, plans to let school children loose on a new research-grade telescope, and a technique that could produce the first high-resolution images of quasars.

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Landing on a Comet


Tue, Jul 09, 2013


Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson go to a comet, Mars and into space. This month's podcast is from the Open University's Rosetta mission room and includes NASA's Curiosity rover mission specialist Daniel Limonadi, British space scientist Maggie Aderin Pocock and Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian woman in space. Meanwhile studio guests Dr Dan Andrews and Professor Ian Wright explain why their Ptolemy instrument on board Rosetta's comet chasing mission is not a burglar alarm (even if it looks like one) but an advanced technology, state-of-the-art electronic nose.

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Giant planets


Mon, Jun 24, 2013


How much detail can amateur astronomers see on Jupiter, and how can space scientists use this to probe the Solar System's largest storms?

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Britain\'s First Official Astronaut


Sun, Jun 09, 2013


A full, frank and funny interview with Tim Peake, Richard goes inside NASA's 'crazy ideas', and Sue meets with 'astrogirls'.

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The Milky Way's local black hole


Fri, May 24, 2013


We talk to astronomers who study the environments around black holes, ask what we can learn from a meteor which hit the Moon in March, and find out how spacecraft can navigate their way through the solar system.

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Dodging Space Harpoons


Thu, May 09, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham dodge space harpoons, discuss whether Mars One will encourage Big Brother in space and report from the Mojave desert on why risk is encouraged at its spaceport. Recorded on location at Astrium, Europe's largest space company, engineer Katherine Bennell and space scientist Ralph Cordey join the Space Boffins to demonstrate how to remove space junk with a flying harpoon. Interview guests include Mars One's Bas Lansdorp, as well as the CEO of the Mojave Air and Space port Stuart Witt, plus David Masten, founder of Masten Space Systems. Finally, Kate Arkless-Gray questions NASA's Chris Gerty on the international Space Apps Challenge.

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Measuring the Universe


Wed, Apr 24, 2013


We talk to Planck Scientists at the Kavli Institute in Cambridge, and Nick James, an amateur astronomer who has set up a security camera on the side of his house to observe shooting stars. Plus we answer more of your space science questions.

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Solar Science and Space Planes


Tue, Apr 09, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are reduced to tears of laughter by Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, enlightened by studio guest and space scientist Dr Lucie Green, and XCOR's Jeff Greason meets Richard in the Mojave Desert to discuss the risks of flying in their new space plane. Kate Arkless-Gray also discusses her progress on securing a seat on XCOR's space plane in the Lynx Space Challenge and the attempts to get more women applying, resulting in Sue deciding to enter and become one of the lucky astronaut winners herself.

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Radio Astronomy in the Australian Outback


Mon, Mar 25, 2013


The SKA will soon be the world's most sensitive radio telescope, able to view some of the most distant objects ever seen. In a special edition of Naked Astronomy this month, we follow Perth-based astronomer Kirsten Gottschalk on a visit to one of the two sites where it will be built, hundreds of kilometres from civilisation in the Western Australian outback. Kirsten also catches up with progress on the two precursor instruments - the Murchison Widefield Array and the Australian SKA Pathfinder - which are already being constructed on the site.

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The First Phone in Space


Sun, Mar 10, 2013


Comets, Mars and the first phone in space are featured in the latest Space Boffins podcast. Recorded at the Royal Astronomical Society in London, Richard and Sue are joined by Rosetta mission scientist Andy Morse and astronomer Robert Massey. They also talk to one of the engineers behind the first smartphone in orbit and to senior scientists from NASA about future missions to the Red Planet.

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Captivated by Comets


Mon, Feb 25, 2013


2013 looks like a good year for comets! We find out where these balls of dust and ice come from and what to expect from Pan-STARRS and ISON. Plus, the close fly-by of Asteroid 2012 DA14, the fireball that exploded over Russia and your space science questions.

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Methane on Mars and Meeting Astronauts


Sun, Feb 10, 2013


Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham meet British astronaut Tim Peake at the British Interplanetary Society. They are joined by space scientist Jane MacArthur, whose methane experiment is currently being tested on a Mars simulation in Morocco, and Ralph Timberlake on the future of the British Interplanetary Society as it celebrates its 80th year. Add on a report on Kicksat and sprites from NASA Ames in California, and Professor Michele Dougherty - whose team discovered Enceladus' icy plumes - and you have another spacetacular podcast.

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Don't Panic! Keeping Your Cool in Space


Thu, Jan 10, 2013


This month in Space Boffins: why space can seriously damage your health, the cameras being installed on the Space Station to give live views of Earth and crisis management tips from an Apollo 13 Flight Director. Richard and Sue are joined by long duration spaceflight expert Kevin Fong and blogger Kate Arkless Gray (SpaceKate), who looks ahead to an exciting year in space exploration.

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Dealing With Debris


Thu, Dec 13, 2012


How can we solve the space debris problem? What will we learn from LOFAR? This edition of Naked Astronomy comes from the RAL Space Conference at the STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratories. We'll explore the crossover between space science and medicine, catch up with Curiosity and find out how a new satellite helps to test the latest tech.

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Space Boffins on the ISS


Mon, Dec 10, 2012


This month in the Space Boffins podcast: a tour of the International Space Station, an Apollo astronaut and the mission to the edge of the Solar System. Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined by comedian Helen Keen and writer David Baker to discuss living in space, one way trips to Mars and a return to the Moon. Also featuring a mystery sound, the noises of Earth and the politics of space toilets.

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Houston, we have a Podcast


Sat, Nov 10, 2012


This time the award winning Space Boffins podcast comes from Houston to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the last man on the Moon. Richard visits the Apollo 17 capsule and talks to an Apollo veteran, while Sue hears why we should go back to the Moon. Also, flying a phone in space - the competition hots up - and how Gemini astronauts became good at housekeeping.

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New Science with NuSTAR


Wed, Oct 24, 2012


How can we measure some of the most energetic events in the universe? This month, we're exploring the new science being carried out by NuSTAR, a space-based high-energy x-ray telescope. Plus, we'll find out why being outside the goldilocks zone might not mean there's no chance of life, as it seems other sources of heat may make even more planets and moons good places to look for biochemistry...

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Space Boffins Search for ET


Tue, Oct 09, 2012


The Space Boffins Podcast comes to you this month from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in Silicon Valley California and features the search for life and Earth 2.0. Richard talks to SETI's Senior Astronomer, Sue reports from the recent ESA Tweetup in Berlin and hears about a new mission to the Moon. Also this time, Richard lands the Space Shuttle and listen out for the remixed Space Boffins jingle...

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Excitement about ALMA


Mon, Sep 24, 2012


How can we see stars as they first come into being? This month, we're looking at ALMA - the Atacama Large Millimetre Array - possibly the most complicated telescope to date, that promises to peer into star forming regions.Plus, we chat to some of the winners of the 2012 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, and find out what it takes to start taking pictures of the heavens.

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Mars InSights, rings around Saturn and satellite docking games...


Sun, Sep 09, 2012


Curiosity had barely scratched the surface of Mars when NASA announced another new mission to the red planet. It's called InSight and Dr Tom Pike, from Imperial College London, will be part of the team. He joins Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Kate Arkless-Gray, along with Mapping Mars author Oliver Morton, to discuss the future of planetary exploration on one of our nearest neighbours. Also this month, how to use a Kinect games console to help dock satellites with news of Strand-2. Plus, as all things Mars threatens to overshadow other planets in our Solar System, Luke Dones from the South West Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, discusses receiving data from Saturn's rings and why the best is yet to come...

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Martian Matters


Thu, Aug 23, 2012


Why are we still curious about Mars? This month on Naked Astronomy, we're looking into Martian matters to find out how we got to where we are today, ushering in a new era of Martian discoveries from the Mars Science Laboratory. Also, we'll examine the evidence for liquid lakes below the surface of Saturn's moon Titan, find out how supermassive stars can form and why the Google Lunar X-Prize is encouraging commercial missions to the Moon. Plus, our guests take on your space science questions...

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The First American Spacewalk


Thu, Aug 09, 2012


This month on the Space Boffins Podcast, we will be exploring strange new worlds, discovering a Swedish spaceport, and celebrating the first American space walk. Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson meet the team sending a mobile phone-based satellite into orbit, explore Kepler the man and Kepler the mission, and delve into the archives of Gemini 4 mission control...

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Finding Impossible Stars


Tue, Jul 24, 2012


When does the impossible become possible? Researchers have found Red Dwarf stars that simply shouldn't exist, so in this month's Naked Astronomy we find out how theory needs to catch up with observations. Also, how do citizen scientists advance astronomical research, and why isn't the Earth a watery world? Plus, we take on your space science questions, and find out what to look out for in the night skies this month...

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Work, rest and play: Mars and space tourism


Mon, Jul 09, 2012


NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission lands on Mars next month after a nine-month journey across our Solar System. On arrival the most advanced suite of instruments ever sent to the red planet will get to work. In this edition of the podcast, geologist and MSL scientist Professor Sanjeev Gupta, from Imperial College London, discusses the excitement and science behind the mission with Spaceflight UK's Jerry Stone and Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham. Plus, a report from the recent European space tourism conference where the major players pitched their space trips and a fascinating look back at the first manned Gemini spacecraft, Gemini 3, with original mission recordings from the launch. Do you know why it was called Molly Brown? Answers on a small asteroid please.

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Plant Pathogens Observed From Orbit


Sun, Jun 24, 2012


What can farmers learn from physicists? This month in Naked Astronomy we'll find out how satellite imaging can help to understand and control crop diseases, as well as how precisely timed pulsars point to gravitational waves. Plus, a roundup of space science news and the answers to your astronomy and cosmology questions.

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Introducing Space Boffins!


Sat, Jun 09, 2012


This week at Naked Astronomy, we're launching something very special. We've teamed up with the Space Boffins podcast to bring you even more space science. Each month, Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson will be exploring the science and technology that gets us into space, bringing us the inside track on missions past, present and future. In the latest Space Boffins Podcast, Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by space scientist Andrew Coates and science writer Michael Hanlon, to talk SpaceX, Juice and Solar Orbiter. Richard also gets annoyed about space attire and Sue gets to grips with tortuous space acronyms. Plus we relive the entire SpaceX mission in less than 2 minutes...

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The Dominant Force in the Universe


Thu, May 24, 2012


When did Dark Energy become the dominant force in the universe? In this month's Naked Astronomy, we look back at the history of our expanding universe to find out when gravity lost its grip. We also examine the global trade in meteorites to explore the tension between scientists and collectors. Plus, we answer a bumper crop of your questions.

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The National Astronomy Meeting 2012


Sun, Apr 01, 2012


How do tornadoes form on the Sun? Why does Jupiter enhance our Meteor showers? And how can pulsars be used as a deep space positioning system? This month's Naked Astronomy comes from the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting, held this year at the University of Manchester. We'll hear how Juno hopes to probe beneath the surface of Jupiter, find out how a cloud of carbon gives us clues about star formation in the early universe, and explore how astronomers have helped archaeologists to understand a standing stone over 4000 years old...

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Naked Astronomy AstroFest Special


Sat, Feb 25, 2012


Is an asteroid impact more likely than winning the lottery? What can Moon rock tell us about the Earth? And how did a biology teacher discover a new astronomical object? In this Naked Astronomy AstroFest special, we'll ask if the Kepler observatory is ushering in a new scientific revolution, meet Hanny van Arkel, who discovered Hanny's Voorwerp on citizen science project Galaxy Zoo and find out why one former MP thinks we should be concerned about being hit by an asteroid...

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Meeting MIRI and Detecting Dark Matter


Wed, Jan 25, 2012


Can a mid-infra red view reveal the universe's secrets? In this month's Naked Astronomy, we meet MIRI, the Mid Infra Red Instrument set to launch on the James Webb Space Telescope. It should give us a glimpse of the very first galaxies and examine the clouds of hydrogen gas spread throughout the universe. We'll also find out how distorted galaxies can shed light on the distribution of dark matter, discover El Gordo - a newly discovered galaxy cluster.

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Seeing Your House from the Space Station


Tue, Dec 20, 2011


If you could look down from the International Space Station, what would you look at? This month on Naked Astronomy, we discover UrtheCast - a system that could let you point a camera down from the International Space Station, and integrate your social media world with images from space. And we'll get a glimpse of a star as it explodes, and get the first evidence of its chemical composition. Plus, we have a round up of space science headlines, and we your questions on neutrinos, cosmic expansion and the age of the universe...

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Stars and Supernovae


Fri, Nov 25, 2011


Can supernovae account for all of the oxygen in the universe? What happens to massive stars at the end of their lives? This month, we delve into stellar science to look at the ultimate fate of stars, and why the first stars might be smaller than we thought. Plus, a round up of astronomical news, and your space science questions...

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Blue Stragglers and the Polarised Universe


Tue, Oct 25, 2011


What are the mysterious blue straggler stars? In this month's Naked Astronomy we'll find out why some stars stand out from the crowd, as well as investigate the polarity of the universe. Plus, we hear the latest news from the Royal Astronomical Society, and take on your questions on rocket stability, detecting dark matter and our place in the universe.

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Dark Planets and Dark Matter


Sat, Sep 24, 2011


Are the foundations of Dark Matter crumbling? How can a planet be blacker than black paint? What are the sunsets like on a planet with 2 suns? In this month's Naked Astronomy, we'll discover Kepler-16b; a planet with two suns, we look to recent experimental results to see if the Cold Dark Matter theory still stands, and we explore the least reflective planet ever found...

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The Year In Space Science


Sun, Jul 24, 2011


We look back over the last few months of Astronomy interviews. We'll hear how scientists search for planets in the glare of their parent star, why a simulated mission to Mars will help us to understand how astronauts will cope with isolation, and the challenges of communicating astronomy on television. Plus, what our solar system looks like to a distant observer, and how antique globes tell the story of our understanding.

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Star Death, STEREO & South Africa's SKA bid


Fri, Jun 24, 2011


What happens when a black hole rips a star to shreds? What can a solar science mission tell us about other stars? And is South Africa prepared for the largest radio telescope ever planned? This month on Naked Astronomy, we explore a unique gamma ray burst, discover the useful extra info in data from STEREO, and discuss the South African bid for the Square Kilometre Array. Plus, news of CoGeNT's search for Dark Matter, Enceladus' salty sub-surface sea, and clues on the creation of the solar system gathered from the remains of the Genesis mission.

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The Birth of Sunspots and Black Hole Collisions


Tue, May 24, 2011


How are sunspots born? What does a black hole collision look like? How long does it take to make a full-size galaxy? This month on Naked Astronomy, we find out why people searching for pulsars might spot colliding black holes in their data, how galaxies may form quicker than predicted, and where in the sun sunspots first arise. Plus, news from gravity probe B, why there's no more space on the moon for craters, and how as many as half of all hot Jupiters may be spinning the wrong way.

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The National Astronomy Meeting 2011


Thu, Apr 21, 2011


In this special podcast from the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, we hear how twisted sunspots cause solar flares, how 17th century poetry can put a date on a supernova, and why some pulsars are part-timers. We'll find out how CANDELS and LOFAR can probe the early universe, while DEBRIS looks for dusty disks around stars. Plus, we shed light on your solar science questions!

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Astronomy at the Cambridge Science Festival


Fri, Mar 25, 2011


In this special edition of the Naked Astronomy podcast we look at the astronomical events held at the Cambridge Science Festival. We'll hear from Dr Dan Stark about exploring the early Universe, find out what tooth x-rays and telescopes have to do with the man who coined the term "Big Bang" and ask if our Universe is but one of many... Plus, we catch up with Carolin Crawford, Andrew Pontzen and Dominic Ford to find out what they've been doing this month to bring space science to the wider public.

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Kepler 11 - A Unique Extrasolar System


Fri, Feb 25, 2011


In this month's Naked Astronomy, we explore the unique system of six planets orbiting the star Kepler 11, and find out what to expect from the James Webb Space Telescope. Plus news of the runaway star spotted by WISE - the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a STEREO view of the whole Sun and how a galaxy spotted at a redshift of 10 can teach us about star formation in the early universe.

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Antimatter Storms and the Universe's Dark Ages


Tue, Jan 25, 2011


This month on Naked Astronomy, we discover the streams of antimatter coming from lightning on Earth, and find out how to study the stars that ended the dark ages and brought light to the universe. We hear about Jupiter's role in Earth asteroid impacts, Cassini's flypast of Saturn's moon Rhea and the first science results from the Planck mission. Plus, your questions on light speed route planning, outrunning sunset and why the solstice doesn't coincide with the earliest dawn!

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Lessons from the Past


Sat, Dec 25, 2010


This month, we read the history of Martian science in a collection of globes, and find out why it's important to understand ancient and aboriginal astronomy. We find out why some Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are shrouded in darkness, discuss the recent controversy around arsenic-using bacteria and get the high-speed low-down on the Hubble Space Telescope. Plus, we tackle your questions on gravity, relativity and the edge of the universe.

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A Decade of Living in Space


Thu, Nov 25, 2010


The International Space Station celebrated 10 years of habitation this month, pushing the boundaries of our knowledge of life in orbit. We find out more about living in space, as well as discover new gravitational lenses in this month's Naked Astronomy. Also, news of lead ion collisions in the LHC and giant gamma-ray bubbles emitting from our local black hole. Plus, your questions on gravity, neutron stars and dark matter.

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An Alien's Eye View and Cosmic Climate Change


Sun, Oct 24, 2010


What would an extrasolar observer see of our solar system? We find out in this month's Naked Astronomy as well as explore the events that led to climate change on a cosmic scale. Plus, news of an asteroid flyby, surfing Venus' atmosphere and the end of the WMAP. We take on your space science questions, including the best place to site a space elevator!

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Making Steam Inside Stars


Fri, Sep 24, 2010


How do you make steam inside a star? We explore the science of solar chemistry to find out how water molecules are created inside the envelope of red giants and We get an delegates-eye-view of the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome. In the news we discover a new way to find asteroids, explain the dust clouds surrounding binary stars and find out how the fine structure constant seems to vary over both space and time. Plus, we take on your space science questions on diluted light, Horava Gravity and building black holes!

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Is Our Solar System Strange?


Tue, Aug 24, 2010


Is our solar system normal? We compare ourselves to the ever increasing list of exoplanets to find out if we're the weird ones in the universe in this month's Naked Astronomy. Also, we explore the Nili Fossae region of Mars, where the rocks may contain evidence of early life - if only we could get there to find out. Plus, news about the shrinking moon and buckyballs in space and we tackle your space science questions.

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The Biggest Questions in the Universe


Sat, Jul 24, 2010


How do you answer the biggest questions in the Universe? In this month's Naked Astronomy, we'll find out how Stuart Clark tackles these issues, why satellites the size of a Rubic's cube can help launch new and innovative technology, and how to measure Earth's magnetic field. Plus, news about the birth of massive stars, the asymmetric death of old stars and extreme weather on exoplanets.

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Watching Worlds Wander


Thu, Jun 24, 2010


Can we watch whole worlds wandering? We'll explore the mechanisms of - and evidence for - planetary migration in this month's Naked Astronomy, and find out if migration in our own solar system can account for Earth's violent history. Also, we explore the processes that get stars started. Plus, news about strange flashes spotted on Jupiter, the origins of the Oort cloud and the Hayabusa mission bringing asteroid dust home to Earth.

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The Brightest Events in the Universe


Mon, May 24, 2010


Gamma Ray Bursts are the brightest events in the Universe. They shine like beacons, revealing the existence of galaxies we couldn't previously see, but what are they now showing astronomers? Also, we focus on the engineering challenges of extremely large telescope technology and how devices developed for stargazing could also hold the key to clean electricity here on Earth. Plus, a look back at Herschel's first year in action, how black holes get thrown out of galaxies, planet eating stars, as well as your questions on black holes, dark matter and the shape of the Milky Way.

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Riding in a Comet's Wake


Sun, Apr 25, 2010


We find out how to measure a comet by riding in it's wake in this Naked Astronomy, as well as explore the latest exhibit in the Galaxy Zoo - brand new Hubble Space Telescope images. Plus, spotting a lightning strike on Saturn, Venusian volcanoes and cooling neutron stars, as well as your questions on black holes, shrinking comets and how to set your watch on the moon!

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Is there anybody out there?


Thu, Mar 25, 2010


Is our galaxy home to aliens? Well, yes, but only if you're talking about clusters of stars. We find out how the Milky Way has stolen globular clusters from other galaxies on this month's Naked Astronomy, as well as explore why our search for ET has been met with an eerie silence. Plus, news of lava channels on Mars, the youngest exoplanet ever found and your questions about gravity, the earlest elements and the evidence for the big bang.

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What's Hiding in the Starlight?


Fri, Feb 26, 2010


Blocking the light from a star is the only way to see some extra solar planets, as we find out in this month's Naked Astronomy. We discover how small, precise optics can do this job for us, as well as explore some of the current missions studying the Sun, and find out what the recently launched Solar Dynamics observatory will add. Plus, the seasons on Pluto, a comet-like collision confusion and your space science questions!

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How to Spot a Supernova


Tue, Jan 26, 2010


We find out how to identify an exploding star in this edition of Naked Astronomy, with record holder and super supernovae spotter Tom Boles. Plus, how the Faulkes Telescope Project puts schoolchildren in charge of a 5 million pound telescope, the latest science news and we answer your questions on black holes, star shapes and what it's like to live on Venus!

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Is there a planet beyond Pluto?


Wed, Dec 30, 2009


In this edition of Naked Astronomy, why scientists are making mud in the laboratory to try free a trapped Mars rover, the discs that give birth to new planets, the space equivalent of an ordnance survey map for the stars and how scientists are seeking the origins of life in outer space. Plus, your queries about the cosmos: could Earth capture a new moon, why is the asteroid belt not just a planet and is there a planet beyond Pluto...

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The Oldest Light in the Universe


Wed, Dec 30, 2009


In this launch edition of Naked Astronomy, we report on how the Planck probe is seeing the oldest light in the Universe, the Rosetta mission flyby en-route to a distant comet, how LCROSS executed a deft lunar impact and what it revealed, how the LRO has imaged the Apollo landing sites and how Herschel promises to shed some light on the deep dark depths of space. Plus, your cosmological questions answered including, what's a quasar, why are the rings of Uranus vertical, do astronauts age more rapidly and could we brighten up the full moon with a giant lunar reflector...?

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