Sonification Competition 2021!

Our first sonification competition is now complete! Congratulations to winner Misty Bentz for her sonification “Fantasy on Active Galaxies.” Hear our interview with Misty and her sonification in Episode 40. Congratulations to runner-up Tharindu Jayasinghe for his sonification “The Loudest Heartbeat Star,” which you can hear in Episode 41. Huge thanks to everyone who submitted!

Black Lives Matter #BlackInAstro

We support efforts made by Astrobites and the astronomy community toward inclusion, anti-racism, and awareness of social justice issues. The Astrobites collaboration is producing a series of posts to capture the latest research on diversity and inclusion, share stories of Black astronomers, and discuss ways to be better allies. Check out the whole #BlackInAstro series. Here in astro[sound]bites we are sharing research of Black astronomers as part of our regular podcast format, as well as working on episodes featuring the voices of marginalized scientists.

What is astro[sound]bites?

Three graduate students bring you cutting-edge research findings in astronomy and connect the dots between diverse sub-fields. Occasionally, we take you beyond new research to highlight stories in the field. Episodes are released every other weekend. Check out a few of our most recent episodes below!

Episode 42: Where Sci-Fi Meets Reality

This is Episode #42, so it might just contain the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Today we set our phasers to stun and dig into some astrophysics research that brings science fiction one step closer to becoming science fact! Will teaches us what it takes to become a class II civilization on the Kardashev scale, and Malena gently reminds us that we can’t stop the change, any more than we can stop the suns from setting. Plus, Alex has a space sound that’ll leave you all starry-eared.

Episode 41: Weighing the Universe

How do we figure out the masses of astronomical objects far too large to fit on any human-made scale? In this episode, Alex tracks the paths of planets to figure out which ones are winning a gravitational game of tug-of-war, while Will describes a mysterious little galaxy that seems to be missing a key component. And, you won’t want to miss our spectacular sonification contest runner-up from Tharindu Jayasinghe, who brought to sound the most extreme heartbeat star known to date!

Episode 40: Space Summer Surprise

We’re back from vacation! We play 2 truths and a lie about what we did this summer and learn that the truth might be subjective. Alex brings a BBQ-themed Astrobite about the brightest galaxies, teaching us that “astronomical Hot DOG” is a state of being. Malena discusses how planets vacation to the outer solar system (spoiler: they never return home). 

Episode 39: Polarizing Protostars

Billions of years before Van Gogh put paint to canvas and immortalized them forever, the stars in the sky were nothing more than an intricate tangle of magnetic fields and swirling gas. Turn the clock back with us as we learn about the physics of these protostellar systems! Northwestern/CIERA postdoctoral associate Erin G. Cox teaches us about the polarization patterns of Class 0 and Class I systems, and Will gets all turbulated as he discovers how HII regions might drive star formation.

Episode 38: Keep Your Head in the Clouds

Tired of vacations being ruined by cloudy weather? Alex the travel agent can book your next trip to brown dwarf binary 1416B, where it’s always a balmy 2000 degrees and never cloudy. Or maybe a sojourn to a hot Jupiter is more your style? Malena the meteorologist has you covered with your 10-million year forecast: cloudy and lopsided.

In recognition of Juneteenth and the start of #BlackInAstro week, both papers featured in this episode were led by Black astronomers.