The April 23rd edition of this show is now online and available here. This show kicked out a "Tour of the Universe" series of sort. During the recently completed series on research at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, there were lots of Astronomical news and results which I didn't have time to talk about, so last week, this week, and upcoming weeks will be devoted to filling you in on the lasting discoveries. I've decided to no do this chronologically but by "distance", start with the Sun, than the inner planets, outer planets, galactic astronomy, extragalactic, cosmology, etc. This week for the first episode in this series, and I talked about:
- News: NASA announces plans to develop a massive multi-player educational online game, go here for more info; NASA announces that, despite announcements to the contrary, the asteroid Apophis still only has a 1-in-45000 chance of hitting the Earth when it passes by in 2036; the 4.1 m diameter primary mirror the ESO's VISTA telescope has been delivered to Cerro Paranal in Chile, VISTA is planned to do a large survey of the Southern sky at near-infrared wavelengths; congratulations to Commander Peggy Whitson and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko for their success return to Earth after 192 days in space on the International Space Station, Commander Whitson broke the US record for most cumulative time in space with 377 days (link); Russian space shuttle Busan II arrives Speyer Technik Museum in Speyer, Germany for eventual permanent display; new exhibit highlighting pictures taken by the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn begins April 26 at the American Museum of Natural History, runs through 2009 March 29 - for more info, go here, and for more info on Cassini check out this audio podcast and this video podcast; instruments being integrated on NASA's next moon mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO; link); NASA announces plans to send in 2011 a spacecraft to the Moon to study moondust (link)
- Calendar of upcoming Astronomy and science events in greater Poughkeepsie / New York City area
- The Sun: The Sun is a mass of incandescent gas, meaning it doesn't have a hard surface like the rocky planets such as Earth. The light we see from the Sun comes from a layer called the "photosphere", which is surrounded by an "atmosphere" of sorts called the "corona" - a very hot (several hundred times hotter than the Sun's core) but low density (too low for fusion to take place) region responsible for the solar wind, coronal mass ejections, solar flares, etc. Our understanding of this region, and how it interacts with the rest of the Sun is very poor, and understanding the Sun's corona is area of very active research. Some recent results are - previous identification of waves in the corona might be wrong (link), a new technique based on CAT scans has been developed to image the Sun's corona (link), slow (only 1 million mph) component of solar wind might be produced from the magnetic field of two regions of hot gas in the corona which have collided connecting together (link; small solar flares which only produce very hot gas as opposed to hot gas and fast moving particles detected (link); huge fountains of gas observed in the Solar corona, believed to be produced by rearrangements of the Sun's magnetic field (link); tsunami observed in Sun's lower atmosphere resulting from a coronal mass ejection (link); solar flares observed to cause "starquakes" on Sun resulting in ripples which pass through the entire Sun, similar to earthquakes on Earth (link); data from sun-monitoring SOHO satellite being used to predict when high-energy particles ejected during solar flares may interact with the Earth, causing damage to satellites and other objects in orbit.