Ever misplace a brown dwarf? If re-tracing your astrophysical steps doesn’t help, it’s probably where you least expect to find it. In this episode, Alex and Malena bring us some brown dwarfs discovered in truly unusual locations. Alex sees the glass half full when he tells us how brown dwarfs could explain long secondary periods in red giants, solving a longstanding mystery. Malena guides us to a brown dwarf oasis in the phase space desert and manages to still talk about planets.
It’s time to talk radio on the radio! In this episode, we explore some of the research beaming out of the world's largest fully steerable radio dish -- the Green Bank Telescope (GBT)! We hear from Brenne Gregory, a Scientific Data Analyst at GBT, about her trek from the rolling hills of Scotland to the heart of the Allegheny Mountains. Will keeps his finger on the pulse of a pair of neutron stars, and Alex listens for a lawn mower at the heart of the Crab Nebula.
All speeds are relative -- especially in astrophysics. In today’s episode, we learn about the timescales of different transients and explore what the fastest and slowest events can teach us. Alex describes the fastest koala in the universe, Will shares the slowest rotating lighthouse known to date, and Malena tosses in a magnetic curveball to bring us home.
Do you enjoy reading and listening to science communication? Are you ready to get involved with it yourself? From chatting with friends to podcasting, blogging to writing magazine stories, the world of SciComm is more accessible and more diverse than you may have thought.
We share some personal stories about how we got started in scicomm and hear from 2 SciCommers who made the leap from being PhD students to full-time communicators. Kerry shares her experience pitching magazine articles and discusses her new job as a Communications Specialist for the American Astronomical Society. Stephanie tells us how she discovered her passion for public outreach and how it led to her dream job as the head of the social media campaign for the Vera Rubin Observatory.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
In this episode, we discuss the varied methods used to determine stellar ages. Alex shares how planetary companions can slow the spin of twirling stars, Will compares the spectroscopic fingerprints of binary systems (thanks, Barium!), and Malena provides some peaceful pulsations to enjoy on your next afternoon walk.